NHL fines Canadiens’ Brandon Prust $5,000 for referee rant

The NHL announced Tuesday it was fining Canadiens winger Brandon Prust $5,000 for “derogatory public comments” regarding referee Brad Watson after Montreal’s Game 2 loss to Tampa Bay Sunday. Prust apologized before the fine was announced, but that was clearly not enough for the league.

The NHL announced Tuesday it had fined Canadiens left winger Brandon Prust $5,000 for “derogatory comments” about referee Brad Watson on Sunday after Montreal’s 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series.

“Brandon Prust’s post-game comments were both baseless and demeaning of a referee whose 20-year career in the League has been marked by professionalism, integrity and a high degree of respect from players, coaches and management,” NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said in a news release.

Prust went off on Watson in front of reporters Sunday, accusing the veteran official of trying to “play God” and exerting undue influence on the game. However, the 31-year-old apologized for his comments Tuesday.

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“I’d like to apologize to Brad Watson and the rest of the officials in the NHL…It was uncalled for,” Prust said at Amalie Arena prior to the announcement of the fine. “We got in a heated exchange and that should have stayed between us. I’ve always played by the code on and off the ice, I’m a pretty honest player. On Sunday I crossed the line.”

Clearly, the NHL agreed.