By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has pinpointed the exact moment the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, which his team now trails three games to two following Thursday's 2-1 loss on TD Garden ice, changed.
"The narrative changed after Game 3," a frustrated Cassidy admitted after Game 5. "There was a complaint or whatever put forth by the opposition and it just seems to have changed everything."
Cassidy was of course referencing Blues coach Craig Berube's criticisms of the officials following his team's Game 3 loss to the Bruins, which saw the first-year Blues coach bring up the fact that he didn't agree with the penalties called against the Blues through the first three games of the series because the Blues were the "least penalized team all postseason."
And Cassidy has no shortage of calls or non-calls to look back in the two games that have followed. You had what felt like blatant dives from Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko called in the series-tying Game 4, while Thursday's Game 5 featured two different headshots, a hold on Torey Krug, and a non-call between Tyler Bozak and Noel Acciari that helped create the numbers game that favored David Perron and the Blues en route to the game-winning goal.
"It’s the National Hockey League getting a black eye with their officiating this playoffs. And here’s another one that’s gonna be talked about," Cassidy, shaking his head all the while, offered. "I thought it was a great hockey game. That call probably — I mean there’s time — but it really made it difficult for us to get the win tonight."
Berube, meanwhile, has decided that now is not the time to go back to his thoughts on the officiating.
In fact, he's now telling you that he's not here to judge the officiating.
"I don’t agree with it, but that doesn’t matter," Berube began. "I’m not here to judge the officials and calls that could have been or couldn’t have been. They go both ways. There’s calls the other way that could have been called and they weren’t, so I don’t know what to say about that. I really don’t want to say anything about it.
"We play a hard game. We’re a physical team. We forecheck hard. I’ll say it again: We’re the least penalized team in the playoffs. End of story. I don’t need to talk anymore about it."
First of all, his take that the Blues are or were the least penalized team in the postseason is incorrect. It's been incorrect for four rounds now, but he keeps saying it. Also: That's sorta the point, too, Craig. It's easy to be the least penalized team when you're, well, not getting called for penalties. And to say that you're not here to comment on officiating not even a week after you successfully tweaked the officials is so asinine I almost have to respect it. Just zero self-awareness.
As for the Bruins, Cassidy is dealing with this the only way he can as his team preps for a must-win on Sunday night.
"We’re moving on," said Cassidy. "We’re getting ready for Game 6."