“He called me a mother******. He called me every name in the book.”
Montreal Canadiens winger Brandon Prust claims referee Brad Watson unloaded on him during Sunday night’s game between the Habs and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Prust was headed to the box for roughing when he and Watson allegedly exchanged words.
“I thought the original call [for roughing] was kind of soft and I let him know on the way to the penalty box,” Prust said after the game. “He kept provoking me. He came to the [penalty] box and called me every name in the book. He called me a piece of ‘you know what’ and a ‘mother******,’ ‘coward.’ He said he’d drive me right out of this building. I just kept going ‘Yeah, okay. Yeah, okay.’ He kept on me. I wasn’t even looking at him … That’s the ref he is, he tries to play God and tries to control the game and he did that tonight.”
Prust’s comments are being reviewed by the league, according to Bob McKenzie.
Watson is a 19-year veteran NHL official. He’s worked over 1,000 career games and more than 150 playoff matches.
Former official: "This is completely out of character for Brad Watson. Find it hard to believe he would do this."
— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) May 4, 2015
If what Prust said is proven to be untrue, says Sportsnet’s Eric Engels, Prust would be subject to a heavy fine for publicly defaming an official. The league will certainly be taking a look — and a listen — at the video and audio captured at ice-level.
In any case, the league will likely respond to Prust’s outburst. While most discipline comes down from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, this issue is out of their hands. Darren Dreger reports that any disciplinary action will likely come down from the NHL’s Hockey Operations department, headed up by Colin Campbell.
Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reports that there’s ‘no chance’ for Watson to work another game in this series.
As for Prust, he piled on 27 additional penalty minutes in Sunday’s game. Those included a trip on goaltender Ben Bishop which sparked a fight with Braydon Coburn, and, ultimately, a game misconduct. On his way off the ice, Prust finished his night by tossing his elbow pad into the Tampa bench.
GIF: Brandon Prust fires a glove at the bench in disgust pic.twitter.com/H2XOk451P1
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 4, 2015