Controversial former ref rips on Sportsnet reporter over McDavid interview

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An outspoken retired NHL referee penalized an Edmonton Oilers beat reporter with some harsh criticism on social media following the struggling team’s latest loss on Monday night.

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Oilers captain Connor McDavid was asked by Sportsnet’s Mark Spector during a post-game media availability following Edmonton’s 5-3 loss to the Florida Panthers if the team might be better off trying to win games 7-5 instead of 4-1.

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“You love this question,” McDavid said. “I’ve answered it so many times. We’re trying to keep the puck out of our net.”

While McDavid’s body language also suggested he wasn’t loving the line of questioning, former referee Tim Peel took things a step further.

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“What an idiotic question by the media. I feel sorry for Connor. Played his a– off tonight,” Peel said on the social-media site X.

Peel wasn’t finished, either, opting to upload an unverified and alleged conversation he had with the veteran NHL scribe in his direct messages, including a heated exchange.

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“Thanks for piling on, Tim,” Spector purportedly said. “I’ll remember that the next time you f— up.”

The screenshot shows what’s said to be Peel’s response: “You’ve always been a f—ing fraud, buddy.”

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Respected NHL reporter Frank Seravalli was quick to jump to his fellow scribe’s defence.

“Hey Tim, nice work tweeting private convos. Ah, that’s right, you couldn’t spell class if I spotted you the a-s-s.”

Seravalli also referenced a story about allegations that Peel allegedly “berated” two 17-year-old officials who has just finished working his son’s youth hockey game featuring mostly 10-year-olds.

TSN’s Ryan Rishaug called the sharing of private messages “pathetic and embarrassing” and said it showed a “stunning lack of character.”


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Peel, who worked his first NHL game in 1999, has been a lightning rod for controversy, most notably being caught on a hot mike in a game in 2021 admitting to the preferential calling of penalties. Following that incident, the league said Peel “no longer will be working NHL games now or in the future.”

Peel was suspended one game in 2015 after a photo emerged showing the ref and an NHL media member holding tequila shots at a New York City bar.

The Oilers, mired in a disastrous start to the season and having fired their head coach earlier this month, are 5-11-1 and sit second last in the Western Conference’s Pacific Division.

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