Is Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy trying to pull a Craig Berube with the officiating in this tight and physical East Division Final with the New York Islanders?
If so, he better hope calling out the officiating following a 4-1 Game 4 loss and a game in which the physicality from the previous three games boiled over, goes the way it went for Berube in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final and not the way it did for his St. Louis Blues in the first round sweep they suffered to the Colorado Avalanche.
“It’s terrible. It’s so one-sided, it’s not even funny,” Berube said after his team went down 3-0 in the series.
The chippiness was at an all-time high in Game 4 and Cassidy has grown tired of his team’s chippiness seemingly leading to the sin-bin more than the Islanders and of a rather large dose of embellishment coming from the Islanders through the first four games. After the game, the Boston Bruins bench boss sounded a lot like Berube.
“I think the whole playoffs we haven’t gotten very many calls to put us on the power play,” Cassidy said after Game 4 Saturday night. “I certainly think the infractions, we haven’t gotten a lot of calls to go our way with the borderline ones. You look at even some non-borderline. I mean, Chris Wagner almost got his head taken off the other night in front of the net on a high stick. You look at it and you see the referee looking at it, and they don’t call it.
So they see what they see. And you can’t do anything about it. You hope that comes around, you keep playing hard [and] earn your calls. We’re not gonna bitch about it. It is what it is. And, you know, hopefully, we’ll start getting the ones that we deserve and take advantage of it.”
Just about 14 hours later, the NHL announced that Boston Bruins center David Krejci had been fined the maximum $5000 allowed for slashing Islanders forward Mathew Barzal who had just cross-checked Krejci three straight times before Krejci lost his cool and speared Barzal between the legs. While Krejci is lucky he got away with just a two-minute minor in the game and this fine, these are the types of encounters Cassidy believes the Isles are getting away with.
If you recall, Berube’s 2019 Stanley Cup Final rant worked and the Blues basically got away with almost anything for the rest of the series. They used that edge and their overpowering forecheck to punish the Bruins into submission and took the series in seven games.
The series arrives back at TD Garden on Monday (6:30 PM ET, NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVAS) and we should know early if Cassidy has caused the series officiating crew to reevaluate what they’re letting go on both sides or whether Cassidy’s rendition of a Berube rant fell on deaf ears.