There was a lot of talk about officiating in the National Hockey League last week following the controversial dismissal of veteran referee Tim Peel, who was caught on a microphone admitting to managing the game. Even though anyone who has ever watched an NHL season could tell you that referee's routinely manage the game, and I suspect are instructed to do so by the league itself, following a public backlash the league decided to act like Peel had committed some heinous offense and have shut him down in spite of this being his final season as a referee in the league.
Plenty have offered their opinion on the topic but perhaps none was more insightful than former NHL player turned NHL analyst Kevin Bieksa. Bieksa was a guest on the recently rebranded "Tim and Friends" this week to discuss the officiating controversy and it was pretty obvious from the outset that Bieksa believed that what Peel had done was perfectly normal behavior from NHL referees. Where Bieksa's take differed however was in his ability to share his thoughts on which referees were the worst, or in this case which specific referee he hated the most.
Bieksa was talking over a clip of referee Eric Furlatt speaking with Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds when referee Brad Meier popped into the picture, resulting in Bieksa absolutely roasting the veteran official, presumably for treating him in a manner that he did not approve of during his career.
"You see Brad Meier the other referee besides him, he took off after because he saw what was happening" said Bieksa. "He is probably my least favorite referee I've ever had in 15 years so I'm glad he left the picture."
The comments prompted laughter from the two hosts but it was clear to me that there was no humor in Bieksa's facial expression or in his tone when speaking of Meier. In fact the former player would go on to use even stronger language when talking about Meier later during the interview.
"Is that Brad Meier? I hate that guy," said Bieksa when Meier was shown in another clip.
It was a great interview, one with plenty of insight and laughs and you can check out the full segment below.