James Neal (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
A hot mic picked up the visceral reaction that referee Tim Peel had to the power forward's latest brush with theatrics. You don't often hear this kind of vulgar language picked up on a broadcast, so viewer beware.
If you had to name a controversial referee and a player with a reputation for diving and embellishment, Tim Peel and James Neal would likely be your first answers. And so, the viral gods conspired last night to bring us a one-of-a-kind interaction during Nashville's 3-2 win over Boston last night. Viewer discretion advised:
Dang, Tim Peel, that's a sick burn.
Neal, the Predators' leading goal-scorer, does have a reputation for diving and embellishment, and has been fined by the NHL in the past. As the NESN crew points out in the aftermath, it does look like Boston goalie Jonas Gustavsson got a piece of Neal, but not enough to warrant the "random bad guy in The Wild Bunch" collapse that followed. Neal also had an embellishment penalty against Florida a few days ago.
Now the question is whether we hear from the NHL on this – certainly for Neal, but does anything happen to Peel for the vulgarity? (not that the NHL is naive to think refs don't talk that way, but only because he was caught on a mic) Maybe not, but Peel has already been suspended once for his candor.