A night after expressing his frustrations over the officiating in his team’s 7-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy wasn’t biting when given a chance to pile it on as Lightning head coach Jon Cooper did earlier in the series. Cassidy was asked if he feels the officiating in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and NHL bubble has been different than previous postseasons.
“Not really,” Cassidy replied. “As I said, I thought the [Nick] Ritchie call happens a lot during the game so I was a little surprised we got called for it. I said that last night, I stick by it. You have to kill them anyway, that’s the way it goes. I’m sure every coach and every team, when you get called, is not happy with a lot of them. We typically don’t take a lot of penalties, fairly disciplined. We lost it yesterday, so hopefully that’s a one off.
As for how they’ve been called, I thought early on when we first got here, the round robin, there was all kinds of penalties. Some of that was probably players not being able to check with their feet. They hadn’t played in a while, so you’re using your stick a lot more. Sometimes, the official’s obviously have been off for four months, don’t forget that, they have to find their game. I think they were up in general early on. Whether that was by design to get to a standard quickly, I can’t answer that, but I think this round, Carolina, I don’t think there’s been a lot of stuff out of the ordinary. They call what they see. Coaches tend to disagree. That’s just the way it goes. So, I don’t see anything out of the ordinary, no.”
The Ritchie call that Cassidy was referring to was a slashing call against the Boston Bruins forward at 12:17 of the first period. The Lightning would convert on the powerplay when forward Ondrej Palat scored at 12:46 of the opening frame and gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead. Cassidy was also puzzled as to how Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo had been called for tripping 37 seconds into regulation.
“A little bit of the first period, a call on [Nick] Ritchie happens 100 times a game, we happen to get flagged for it, right? Complete disagreement with that particular infraction, not even sure what Brandon’s was. So, you’ve got an official injecting themselves into a game with two of the best teams in the National Hockey League playing that I thought that wasn’t necessary personally,” Cassidy said after watching his team allow three powerplay goals. But, that’s his decision, he’s here for a reason.”
What ticked Cassidy off the most though was the fact that linesman Devin Berg accidentally laid a pick on Boston Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon that allowed Lightning forward Yanni Gourde a clear path to the net for his goal at 13:01 of the first period that put the Lightning up 2-0.
“Second goal, I mean come on, the linesman runs our D out of room,” Cassidy exclaimed. “Good for Yanni Gourde for taking advantage of a break given to him. But I mean, when do you see that play happen in the National Hockey League? All of a sudden, you’re two down and we need to kill a penalty obviously better.”