By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Bruins did not lose Game 5 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final when Tyler Bozak’s blatant trip of Bruins forward Noel Acciari went uncalled.
But it certainly helped, as the Blues scored with Acciari down and out, and as that goal stood as the game-winner thanks to a Jake DeBrusk strike that brought the Bruins within one in a 2-1 loss in Boston.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy called the postseason’s officiating woes “a black eye” on the league. Acciari, who was taken out of the game by the league’s concussion spotter shortly after the trip but was made available after the game, called it “embarrassing.”
TD Garden ice, of course, was littered with garbage and towels in the immediate aftermath of the non-call.
The outcry was apparently enough for NHL senior vice president and director of officiating Stephen Walkom to release his own statement to a pool reporter provided by the PHWA.
“We don’t make comments on judgment calls within games,” said Walkom. “There are hundreds of judgment calls in every game. The official on the play, he viewed it and he didn’t view it as a penalty at the time.”
The “at the time” nestled in there at the end would seemingly indicate that yes, they absolutely missed this call upon further review. Owning up to that directly would probably be a better look, or show some form of accountability at the very least. But instead it’s buried behind a nonsensical and dismissive “this happens all the time” cop out.
And as for the “we don’t make comments on judgement calls within games” lie?
Well, unfortunately for Walkom, we have receipts.
In the third round, the NHL’s Colin Campbell joined Sportsnet and admitted that the blatant hand pass that gifted the Sharks an overtime win over the Blues was “unfair” due to their inability to review the call by way of a coach’s challenge or league-initiated review and that it was an obvious missed call. The NHL owned up to the mistake with the removed those officials from postseason assignments.
And it was in Game 7 of the first-round battle between the Golden Knights and Sharks that referees wrongly issued a five-minute major to the Knights’ Cody Eakin. The Sharks would score three times on the major and ultimately win the game (and series) in overtime. The NHL issued an apology to the Golden Knights after the debacle and removed the officials from the postseason.
A lesson to Walkom: Sometimes saying nothing at all is better than whatever you want to call this.