- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
The NHL is investigating an incident in which one of its referees was caught saying he “wanted to get” a penalty against the Predators in their win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night in Nashville, Tennessee.
With 15:04 left in the second period, Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson was called for tripping Red Wings defenseman Jon Merrill in the offensive zone, even though replays showed that Merrill embellished the fall to draw the call.
The referees officiating the game were veterans Tim Peel and Kelly Sutherland. Peel appeared to call the penalty on Arvidsson from center ice.
With 12:42 remaining in the second period, the Nashville broadcast captured audio from an on-ice official saying, “It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a f—ing penalty against Nashville early.”
The NHL told ESPN that it is “taking a look at” the incident.
Nashville won the game 2-0.
Both teams were whistled for three penalties, while the Predators took a fourth for putting the puck over the glass in the third period.
Asked after the contest about what the official was heard saying, Nashville coach John Hynes said, “I think the situation is what it is. I think from our perspective, it probably doesn’t matter how I feel about it, in general; but the referees are employees of the league, and rather than me comment, I think it’s an issue that the league will have to take care of.”
Hynes said “you always want to have things that are fair for your players and for your team” but that there are no excuses.
“We have to find a way to kill the penalty and control what we can control,” he said.
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