'Best referees in the world' -- Trotz

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

The Nashville Predators would rather distance themselves from the controversy between Alex Burrows and referee Stephane Auger.

Being in the thick of the playoff race, they have more important matters to deal with.

However, the fact it all started in Nashville on a hit by forward Jerred Smithson, ties the Predators to the situation.

"We have the best referees in the world," said Predators head coach Barry Trotz following last night's 5-3 win over the Oilers.

"He (Auger) was talking to him about the Smithson call, which we felt was wrong, as well as the league did, which is why they rescinded it.

"But, nobody wants to get embarrassed."

Smithson was assessed a five-minute charging major and game misconduct for a hit on Burrows on Dec. 8.

The Vancouver forward stayed down after the hit, with an apparent injury.

The league later went on to rescind the game misconduct, essentially indicating Auger had made a mistake in whistling the infraction.

On Monday, Auger had a talk with Burrows just prior to the Predators' encounter against the Canucks. He then went on to call a pair of borderline minors in the third period against Burrows, including a late one that led to Nashville's winning goal.

"Our referees in this league are good and they're the best in the world and they do keep the games, in terms of integrity of the game, high," said Trotz.

"I'm surprised by the whole thing. Hopefully it gets resolved and they go forward."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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