By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Cam Neely's raw reaction, featuring the fiery exec slamming his hands on the table in his press box suite and screaming following Steven Stamkos' game-tying goal in Game 4 of Boston's second-round series loss to the Lightning, said it all.
But speaking with reporters at his end-of-year media availability Wednesday, the team president finally leaned in on what he considered a wildly inconsistent postseason in regards to what was called and what was not.
“I think [the officiating] does need to be addressed,” Neely offered. “The game’s gotten faster and there was a lot great, exciting matchups in the playoffs. And a lot of the talk -- not just our series, but in other series -- was the officiating.”
Like Charlie McAvoy, Neely found himself hung up on that table slam-inducing non-call against the Bolts' Nikita Kucherov, saying that it was a non-call that if properly called should have let the Bruins head back to Tampa in a tied series.
— Noah (@noahvanderhoff) May 5, 2018
“I felt like we should be going back for Game 5 tied 2-2,” Neely admitted. “And that’s a whole different mindset than going down there, 3-1. You can say all you want, ‘Let’s just focus on one game.’ But as a player you really look at the big picture, and you say, ‘Man, we’ve got to win three in a row against this team.’ It’s a lot different mindset.
“How they don’t make that call ... we are up, 3-2, with seven minutes to go. Now we should be going on the power play. Whether we score or not, it might chew up two minutes of the game and we have a different mindset going down to Tampa. It’s the non-calls that really frustrated me the most.”
Neely also referenced a hot-and-cold officiated Game 2 in Tampa, which saw everything called and let go at the same time.
"It's the non-calls that really frustrated me the most. I'm not complaining about what calls we had against us. For me, there were three in particular that really bothered me; the non-call on the [Brad] Marchand slash by [Anton Stralman] in Game 2, Kevan Miller got a boarding call and in the same game and same situation, [David Pastrnak] was hit from behind and there was no call late in the game and then, of course, the no-call on McAvoy. Those three were tough to take.”
At the very least, Neely would like to see more accountability on the part of the league to make sure their refs are up to speed.
“It is something the league has to look at,” Neely reinforced. “They have to go back and look at all the games, and I know they do that after every game... but I think they really need to take a hard look at what’s happening with the refereeing because the game’s gotten that much faster. Are the referees keeping up with the pace of the game? It’s fast out there.”
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.