If you ask the Bruins, the Kraken’s Yanni Gourde took advantage of Bruins defenseman Urho Vaakanainen in a vulnerable spot and didn’t let up in the slightest.
That alone left the Bruins more than bothered as a bloodied Vaakanainen needed help to get off the ice and left the B’s down a defender for the remainder of the night.
“Well, he got hit from behind in the numbers, his head went into the glass and the concussion spotter took him off and he never returned,” Cassidy remarked after Tuesday’s victory. “So I didn’t like to hit at all. “It’s [a hit] that nobody likes in tight areas when a guy is in a bad spot that didn’t turn into a hit. He was kind of sideways the whole time. So I didn’t like it at all.”
Scary hit by Yanni Gourde on Urho Vaakanainen. pic.twitter.com/1WAcTHi8qf— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) February 2, 2022
The B’s bench boss was already flummoxed with every on-ice official missing the initially, reviewing it as a five-minute major, and then deciding that the hit was a two-minute minor and nothing more.
“I thought for them to not make a call on it was unbelievable to me, considering the standard they set if you watched the penalty on like Marchy’s hit on a guy when he’s touching [the puck],” Cassidy said. “Like, I don’t understand the standard tonight for that not to be a call immediately and even maybe a five, never mind having to look at it just to get two.
“Didn’t like the call, but you move on and you play.”
In a play that brought nothing but frustration to the Bruins, one thing Cassidy did like about the aftermath of the hit was his team’s response, with multiple players going at Gourde as soon as he was out of the box.
Curtis Lazar is not a fan of that hit from Yanni Gourde: pic.twitter.com/uwiC1HLpyz— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) February 2, 2022
The return shot at Gourde kicked off with Steven Fogarty trying to get a piece of Gourde before Curtis Lazar got at him and dropped the ex-Lightning forward down to the ice with a few hard shots. The sequence also saw Derek Forbort and Jeremy Lauzon in a separate scrap within 10 feet of the Gourde brouhaha.
“The response was good,” Cassidy said. “I mean, you never know what’s going to escalate, but you want to be physical against their good players and if you have an opportunity to send a message back to the guy in the right manner, you do. You’re trying to do the right thing, stay in the moment, and not let the game get away from you. Take care of business without completely losing your composure and discipline. That’s one way to do it. And I thought we handled it well and got to work after that.”
As for Vaakanainen, the Bruins will have to hope that the upcoming All-Star break gives him enough time to get right. The 2017 first-round pick has looked at his NHL best during his most recent run with the Bruins, with four assists and a plus-1 rating in 13 appearances.