Tuesday night was not a particularly good night for NHL referee Tim Peel. Just over five minutes in to the Florida Panthers’ game against the St. Louis Blues, Peel and fellow ref Furman South had to disallow a first-period goal from St. Louis that would have tied the score. But the reason they had to disallow it? Well, it came from a dump-in from Robert Bortuzzo that hit Peel in the corner, and bounced into the net off his, uh, sensitive regions:
Credit to play-by-play announcer John Kelly there for immediately recognizing that goals off an official don’t count; analyst Darren Pang wasn’t as sure. (Which is quite the discussion to have as Peel’s gingerly getting up, then falling to his knees again.) Pang does somewhat redeem himself with the “Oh my goodness, it hit him right in the midsection!”, quite the euphemism. But, yes, this didn’t count, and as ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski noted, that is in fact in the rule book:
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) December 12, 2018
It’s interesting to see Wyshynski commenting on that, as there’s some history there. Back in 2015, while Wyshynski was still running Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog, he met Peel (who he’d previously criticized) for a drink and an airing of grievances; Peel then was reportedly suspended by the league for posting about that. Well, he shouldn’t be in any NHL trouble this time around, but he certainly wound up in pain. And he even had to leave the ice for a while, only returning at the start of the next period.
For what it’s worth, though, St. Louis wound up winning 4-3, so whether or not this particular goal past Roberto Luongo counted didn’t wind up proving decisive. (And while this does seem to be an obvious call based on that rulebook, it’s interesting that the NHL has that rule; by contrast, MLB sometimes has umpire interference that awards players a base, but if the umpire’s hit after the ball has passed an infielder, it’s play on.) But this definitely had an impact on Peel, and a rather unfortunate one.