By this point, I think that everyone is aware of Bruins’ coach Bruce Cassidy’s feelings on the officiating in game five, and probably game four, of this series. He’s still steamed about the missed trip (or assumed by-product of Tyler Bozak playing the puck, depending on who you’re talking to) on Noel Acciari that lead to what would be David Perron’s game winning goal. There hasn’t been much discussion of how the Bruins’ top goal producers aren’t producing, or how the team stopped skating while expecting a whistle instead of playing until they heard one, leaving Tuukka Rask out to dry. Instead, Cassidy’s focused on deflecting the blame off of his players and on to the officials.
Today, Blues coach Craig Berube and players Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, and Alexander Steen discussed the Ivan Barbashev hit (that would turn into the Barbashev suspension) and other aspects about officiating and preparing for game six.
The tides have turned from the game three post-game press conferences, when Bruce Cassidy seemed assured of his team’s ability to win, and Craig Berube was wondering what happened.
Obviously, the Barbashev hit and the Bozak trip were the focus when talking to Berube, and his answers were basically, in his words, “that’s the way it goes.”
He was asked point blank about the odds of Barbashev getting suspended for his hit. His response:
“Well, they’re going to look at things that happen in games, and that’s just part of it. It’s physical hockey, it’s heavy hockey out there both ways, and they’re going to look at some stuff once in a while, so that’s the way it goes.”
He didn’t flounder about when asked wha the Blues’ plans were to make up for Barabshev’s (at the time, potential)
“Yeah, well, somebody is going to have to step in and go do the job, for sure, a lot like Sundqvist with the suspension there. Somebody will come in and do the job for sure.”
The best way I can summarize that is “shit happens.” It stands to reason that he’s going to approach officiating a bit differently after a game that his team won, even if it’s the same crew that called game three and even if the Blues did get more whistles than the Bruins. When a coach says “we’re going to focus on playing the game... There’s calls either way that could be made, and some are made and some aren’t made,” that’s not a sign of a coach who necessarily was happy with how the game was called, but it is the sign of a coach who is confident in his players. There was no deflection of blame for the dominance that the Bruins demonstrated for much of the game, or calling out Brad Marchand for repeated shenanigans that could’ve injured Vladimir Tarasenko or Jordan Binnington.
Blaming the refs gets the team ginned up into an us versus them mentality. The Blues, especially Alex Pietrangelo, don’t seem to have that at all:
“We’ve gone through [bad officiating], too. We just worry about what we can worry about. We’ve done a good job of knowing we can take care of and what we can’t, so we’re just moving on. ... There’s going to be some adversity, you’ve just got to kind a way to get through that, and our group has been able to do that all year.”
It looks like Binnington isn’t the only one who isn’t nervous.