Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

Horrendous officiating isn't lost on the Bruins

Sara Civian
May 03, 2018 - 3:43 pm

As much as we hate to keep talking about it when there’s plenty of actual hockey to discuss, there’s no getting around how inconsistent the officiating has been through the NHL playoffs.

I already said my piece about it. But the faceoff police haven’t let up since, and slashing inconsistencies are so bad that players are baffled with what they can and can’t do.

Brad Marchand is among them.

The NHL claims to have a “no tolerance policy” for slashing, so it would’ve been weak but acceptable that Torey Krug was called in Game 2. But then Anton Stralman didn’t get called for this...:

You hate to play “what if,” but Marchand has one of the most effective breakaways in the league and the Bruins were down 3-2. When Marchand was called for a slash on Stralman in Game 3, the “little ball of hate” was fired up -- fired up enough to get a 10 minute misconduct for letting the referees have it.

If someone starts a sentence like “I just think it’s funny how,” you know you’ve got a big storm comin’.

“It’s just funny how inconsistent they are,” Marchand said postgame. “A slashing penalty is the same thing that I had on a breakaway last game, (it) was 3-2. A little consistency would be nice.”

Patrice Bergeron, who has essentially built a career as a faceoff poster child, is apparently doing it wrong now. He didn’t run into even one issue in the regular season, but he’s been kicked off at least 20 faceoffs in 10 playoff games. This is obviously concerning for the man with a playoff-leading 123 faceoff wins.

“It’s a bit of a head scratcher to be honest with you,” Bergeron said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “I’ve been asking a lot of questions, I don’t seem to be getting any answers, so it’s up to me to adjust and be this point, I’m kind of over all that stuff...I’m trying to focus in on Game 3 and be good and hopefully not get kicked off as much.”

“Trying”to be good? At faceoffs? Patrice Bergeron?

Maybe he’s kind of over it, but head coach Bruce Cassidy wasn't after practice Thursday.

“Part of it is our play and part is the guys have to have the mental toughness this time of year to just play on and play through whatever happens,” he said. “It’s very frustrating for Patrice, or I would be frustrated if I were him. It seems like he’s been targeted.”

It’s hard to look at his 20+ apparently unacceptable faceoffs and see anything but a target on his back. For those who take issue with the Bruins speaking up, consider that they aren’t the ones asking the questions -- they’re just answering honestly.

That’s what needs to happen for anything at all to change.

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was completely out of character when he immediately announced forward Zach Aston-Reese had a broken jaw and a concussion after Game 3 with the Capitals. It’s probably what he felt he had to do to make sure NHL Player Safety took its hearing with Tom Wilson seriously.

Wilson was suspended three games. Maybe more consistent officiating and/or an explanation for the faceoff debacle will follow suit for the Bruins. Either way, they've said their piece. Now they’re just going to suck it up.


Comments ()