After the Blues got drubbed 7-2 in game three - a game where they let the Bruins score four power play goals on four shots in four chances - Blues coach Craig Berube took an interesting route to figuring out how his team was routed. He didn’t agree with the penalties called one bit, and insinuated that something was up with how games were being called, not with how his team was playing.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy responded after game four’s 4-2 loss by saying: “I found it interesting, I fully expect, you have the best refs and you go through the process. I would expect they wouldn’t get baited into somebody’s comments,” Cassidy told reports. “They should be better that. If they did, I certainly didn’t expect them to. They should have a degree of professionalism. Call the calls that they see.”
We have some back and forth between coaches who were fishing for reasons that their team lost instead of examining the larger flaws in each teams’ game. After game five Cassidy let it rip about how dissatisfied that he was with the officiating, who put the whistles away more than anyone expected after how they called games one and three.
Said Coach Cassidy:
“I sat here two days ago or whatever it was, and I said I believe these officials are at this level because they earned the right to be here and you should be getting the best.
“The narrative changed after Game 3. There was a complaint or whatever put forth by the opposition and it just seemed to change everything. I mean, this has happened and I’m a fan of the game, this is the National Hockey League and they’re getting a black eye with their officiating in the playoffs and here’s another thing that’s going to be talked about. It was egregious.”
I get the natural tendency of both coaches to complain about the officiating, but could someone tell Cassidy that his team outhit the Blues, had three power plays, and outshot them 39-21, all with their top two lines getting not just zero five-on-five points but zero points period.
Instead of deflecting blame for the last two games, Cassidy needs to figure out what’s preventing his top performers from performing, or he can continue to escalate his displeasure with the officials. Right now, the latter tactic is telegraphing that maybe he doesn’t have as much control over his players’ performance as he’d like, and he’s deflecting toward something that neither coach nor players can control to compensate for lacking something that they can.