prust apologyUPDATE Brandon Prust has been fined $5,000 for derogatory public comments directed toward Referee Brad Watson during his post-game media availability on Sunday, May 3, the National Hockey League announced today.

” 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,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.”   

Although never refuting the substance of his verbal exchange with referee Brad Watson during Game Two of the series with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Brandon Prust admitted he had broken the so-called NHL “code” by speaking out publically about it and in the process apologized to referee Brad Watson.

In a postgame interview Prust stated that Watson had verbally attacked him folloiwng a roughing penalty late in the first period of Sunday’s game after Prust had told him that he thought the call was “kind of soft”.  Watson tacked on an unsportsmanlike penalty.

Text of Prust statement (video below)

“I would like to apologize to Brad Watson and the rest of the officials in the NHL. If it caused any embarrassment or headache there was any headache for embarrassment it was definitely uncalled-for. We got in a heated exchange that should have stayed between us. You know, I’ve always played by the “code” both on and off the ice.  I’m a pretty honest player but Sunday I crossed the line. What happened out there should have stayed out there.

It was tough. It was emotional. I just got in a fight. I just threw my elbow pad at their bench. We just lost 6-2. Five minutes later I had to do interviews. I wasn’t myself. My emotions were….I mean my heart was beating. I was agitated.  I shouldn’t have been doing interviews in the first place. If anyone has played in the game or gotten into a hockey fight, lost in their own building in the playoffs – it’s a tough thing. I’m an emotional player. I always have been and I’m in the NHL basically because of my emotion and usually I use it to the best of my advantage. On Sunday I didn’t.”

Prust admitted he had a meeting with Canadiens management about the incident but would not address it’s substance.  The League continues to investigate the matter and, as yet have not been in contact with Prust.  It is expected that ultimately he will subject to a fine.

Here is video of the Prust statement –