NHL insider slams the league over Tortorella suspension.
Ludvig Thunman/Bildbyran/Zuma  

NHL insider slams the league over Tortorella suspension.

A National Hockey League insider is calling out the league over how they handled this weekend's big controversy.

Jonathan Larivee

The National Hockey League was hit with a big controversy over the weekend after an incident involving Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella and veteran NHL referee Wes McCauley went viral.

In the end, Tortorella would be hit with a massive suspension and a huge fine, but not everyone believes that the punishment was warranted.

Following the announcement of Tortorella's suspension, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman has come out and expressed his concerns with how this entire situation has been handled by the NHL. Friedman began by wondering if such a severe suspension was warranted for what was, to most of us, a rather amusing incident overall.

"I'm gonna say right away I think that's a stiff punishment," said Friedman on the 32 Thoughts Podcast. "A really stiff punishment. I would of understood a one game suspension but two at a time where the Flyers are trying to make the playoffs... that's no joke."

Friedman not only took issue with the severity of the punishment, but also argued that the NHL's methods of shielding their referees from criticism does more harm than good.

"The thing that stands out to me the most here is that, this is where I really think the NHL's refusal to allow referees to speak really hurts the referees" said Friedman.

Although much of the blame for this entire situation has been placed at the feet of referee Wes McCauley, Friedman believes that McCauley's actions were motivated by good reasons. As many others have speculated, Friedman believes that McCauley was protecting his younger officiating partner, Brandon Schrader, after Schrader had made a bad call.

"I think there was a young referee who got a bit overwhelmed in the moment, which can happen, and Wes McCauley, who became the focal point of all this, stepped in and said 'I'm gonna protect my teammate'" said Friedman.

While Friedman admires McCauley for taking the hit for Schrader, he argues that the way the NHL has handled the situation makes him look anything but admirable.

"In a lot of ways I have respect for McCauley for this because he's trying to stand in for his teammate which is what hockey and sports is supposed to be all about," admitted Friedman. "However because nobody will say this, it just makes it look like the referees are thin-skinned and made the situation worse."

Friedman believes that, for the sake of all parties involved, the NHL needs to have it's officials explain themselves to the general public.

"Maybe not everybody would agree but I think everybody would say 'Ok at least we've got an answer here and at least the officials are accountable,'" said Friedman.