Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill says he's not worried about the integrity of NHL officiating following the league's firing of referee Tim Peel on Wednesday.
"Zero doubt in my mind that we've got a great group of officials who ref this game with integrity, it means tons to them," Blashill told reporters Thursday. "I've had heated conversations with different refs at different times, and one thing I know for certain is that they care about doing a great job. They care about the job they do a ton. It's their livelihood, and there's zero doubt in my mind that it's done with great integrity."
The NHL announced Wednesday that Peel’s career as a league referee was over after he was picked up by a TV microphone saying he wanted to give the Nashville Predators a penalty, an incident that put the notion of “make-up” calls squarely in the spotlight.
"I heard what you guys heard, which was a partial conversation caught on a hot mic," said Blashill. "Without knowing the context of the rest of the conversation - which we don't know, none of us - I certainly wouldn't judge personally. At the end of the day, we don't know the whole situation."
Blashill added he still respects Peel on a personal level.
"I think he's been somebody I've respected from day one in this league, and so that part's unfortunate because I think he's a real good ref and a good man."