You know how the saying goes, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” Well apparently, someone could use a reminder. But who’s at fault? Colby Kephart investigates in this edition of Colby’s Corner.
Stupid penalties by Montreal were a major problem in Game 2 of the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens series. Tampa finally got their powerplay firing on all levels with 4 powerplay goals, while the Canadiens penalty kill was nonexistent. However, a story emerged in the post-game comments from Brandon Prust, who had received a game misconduct and totaled 31 penalty minutes for just himself in the game. Prust expressed his displeasure with the conduct of referee, Brad Watson, and told Sportsnet reporters:
“I thought the original call was kind of soft, and I let [Watson] know on the way to the penalty box. He kept provoking me. He came to the box and called me every name in the book. He called me a piece of you know what, a mother f***ing coward, said he’d drive me right out of this building. I just kept going, ‘Yeah, OK, yeah, OK, yeah, OK.’ He just kept on me, kept on me. I kept saying ‘Yeah, OK.’ I wasn’t looking at him. He teed me up. That’s the ref he is. He tries to play God. He tries to control the game and he did that tonight.”
Brandon Prust was fined $5,000 by the league. The NHL said Prust’s comments were demeaning to Brad Watson and baseless. Brad Watson is a 20-year veteran in the NHL and has high respect from other players and refs around the league.
Now can we say that Prust is completely a liar? I don’t think so. Prust might have some truth to his statement. However, where I believed he lied is when he states he only said “yeah OK”. If you’re going to claim that a ref is calling you every name in the book, obviously you are saying stuff back to him, or you said something beforehand to set him off.
Now, anyone who can read lips can see the abuse that refs put up with whenever they call a penalty. They get an f-off or derogatory names thrown at them. They get this treatment from the players, coaches and fans. How does anyone expect a ref to take this and never give it back? Personally, I love when a ref will give it back. Of the chirp videos listening in on the players during the game, my favorite video is when the ref decides to give both players a penalty and he says “F*** both of you, both going in the box”. (That video can be seen here. Fair warning, it’s full of expletives).
Even if the NHL finds out that Watson did call Prust a few names, I don’t think you can punish him for it. If we aren’t calling the players for cussing out the refs, we can’t punish the refs for giving a little back. Brad Watson only called the penalties he saw, he wasn’t calling fake calls. Prust took all the penalties that were called against him. If Montreal wants to stay in this series, they need to clean up their acts and let Game 2 go, otherwise they’ll be swept by the Lightning.