If you haven't already seen the play from last night's Edmonton-Dallas game, here it is:
"It was a blown call on my part," he said after the game. "It was poor judgment on my part. I thought he had his hand on the puck on the face-off but it was his stick. My judgment was poor on the play."
"It was a retarded call," Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish snapped. "There is no other explanation for it. I know he is a veteran official and at times I have found his antics humorous. But if this is the product of that there is a problem.
"It was a ridiculous call. I had no idea what he had called. Nobody saw the hand pass on the play because quite clearly there wasn't one. It's beyond reason.
"He should be suspended."
I've taken the liberty of writing a draft of the NHL's press release for them, since I can't find anything on their site aside from the game story.
"The position of NHL referee is a very difficult one but we are confident that we have the best people in place to make the correct calls as often as humanly possible. Michael (Mick) McGeough has been an NHL referee for 18 years and has been involved in over 1000 NHL games (regular season and playoffs). He is a man of integrity and one of the best in the world at what he does. His track record speaks for itself.
What happened in Edmonton last night is very unfortunate and the league acknowledges that a critical error was made at a costly juncture in the game. The league does not condone the error but it is important to recognize that there are 1230 regular season games each year and that situations like this will occur in all sports. We believe that there are sufficient measures in place to ensure that officials are in the correct position to make a call correctly and that the replay review system has been very effective for ensuring that players are credited for goals that should count.
Mr. McGeough made an error at an inopportune time and has expresseed remorse for his mistake. All of our officials are evaluated on a nightly basis and these evaluations affect future assignments. The league will not comment any further except to say that we are confident in our officials and will continue to evaluate our personnel and procedures to ensure the referees are on par with the elite talent that is showcased on a nightly basis."
I think McGeough should be sent home for a couple weeks paid vacation and that MacTavish should expect a fine as well. I completely understand his frustration and anger but the use of the word "retarded" was clearly a poor choice of words and should not be tolerated by the league.