Blown call in Game 5 of Stanley Cup not first time Boston teams have been victim to bad officiating on big stage

Andy Hart
June 07, 2019 - 10:27 am

Depending on what happens over the next two games of Stanley Cup Final action, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy might just need to reach out to New Orleans Saints sideline boss Sean Payton to get some advice on dealing with an historically piss-poor non-call that derails a potential title run.

It’s pretty simple to sum up Thursday night’s Game 5 Stanley Cup action at TD Garden – the Blues took immediate advantage of a blown call for the Boston ages to beat the Bruins 2-1 and take a 3-2 lead in the series.

The milk is indeed spilt and, yes, I’m crying over it.

Forget Ben Dreith’s phantom roughing-the-passer call that upended the 1976 Patriots playoff run, a team that many believe was the best in franchise history prior to the Belichick/Brady era.

Move on from Larry Barnett’s nothing-to-see-here assessment of Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk and Reds outfielder Ed Armbrister getting tangled up on a bunt in extra innings of Game 3 of the 1975 World Series.

Terry Cooney’s Rocket-quick trigger with Roger Clemens’ ejection in the 1990 ALCS, move over. Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly’s bear hug of Rob Gronkowski is nothing.

Forget ‘em all, because if the Blues take care of business again in St. Louis in Game 6 or find a way to steal – and I do mean steal – another one in Game 7 in Boston, we may have just witnessed the biggest blown call, the worst non-call in New England sports history.

The call in question – which really was no question to pretty much anyone watching other than the on-ice officiating crew -- came with St. Louis leading 1-0 midway through the third period. Blues forward Tyler Bozak blatantly tripped Noel Acciari from behind, upending the forward in obvious – again, to anyone not wearing a striped shirt – slew-foot fashion. But with Acciari laying on the ice and no call made, the Blues beat Tuukka Rask seconds later for what would ultimately be David Perron’s game-winning goal.

There are only two vantage points on the play, one from those who wear a Blues sweater and one from those who saw a blown call. A missed call. A non-call. Use whichever term you prefer.

And, similar to the non-call for pass interference against the Rams in last winter’s NFC Championship Game in New Orleans, it’s a blown call that could easily decide a championship and alter the course of two franchises.

That call that ended the Saints Super Bowl run – one that had the NFL scrambling to change its replay, coach’s challenge and pass interference rules this spring –  unfortunately proves that such horrific officiating is a somewhat regular occurrence in all sports, even in the biggest games.

But that doesn’t make it any easier to digest.

Sure, the Little League coach and father in me says that if you play well enough, score more goals, you don’t allow the officials to decide a game. That only one opinion on the field/court/ice matters and it belongs to the guys being paid to make such calls. It’s only tripping if there is a whistle and a power play. Otherwise, play on.

Screw that harder than the Bruins got screwed.

It was a blown call. It was obvious. As with the Saints debacle there should be ramifications – either for the officials or the way the game is called. Replay? Something!

Does it feel good to complain about officiating after a loss? Nope. Because it doesn’t feel good to be cheated.

Life ain’t fair, right? That’s certainly been proven true in the Stanley Cup Finals after Blues coach Craig Berube’s complaints seemingly swayed the officiating in the series.

Unless Cassidy, captain Zdeno Chara and the rest of the upset Bruins can do something to sway the ill-gotten momentum back in Boston’s favor on Sunday night in St. Louis the latest, greatest case of officiating ineptitude in Boston sports history will have an entire disappointing offseason to percolate.

The Blues are on the verge of their first Stanley Cup.

The Bruins are on the verge of one of joining the 2018 Saints, the 1976 Patriots, the 1975 Red Sox and others in having would-be titles taken from them.

If that happens, maybe Cassidy like Payton will take defeat in relative classy fashion. Maybe.

Not me. I’m going to bitch about this blown call until the cows come home and replace the spilt milk.

Or until the Bruins overcome the Blues and the officials in the next two games to bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston.

Related: Blues' Ivan Barbashev will have hearing with NHL for hit to head on Marcus Johannson