Bruce Cassidy's meritocracy landed one of the Boston Bruins' top goal-scorers on the bench Tuesday night.
Forward Taylor Hall logged a season-low 11:26 of ice time against the Senators and played less than 60 seconds over the final eight minutes after taking a hooking penalty on Ottawa's Erik Brannstrom in the offensive zone.
That penalty and some careless puck management were enough for Cassidy to keep Hall on the bench in a close game down the stretch.
"Turnovers at the blue line when you have the lead in the third," Cassidy told reporters after the game in regards to Hall's benching. "We’re all trying to buy into, 'Play behind their D unless you have a free pass to get through there.'
"It’s just winning hockey. You want to play late in games, you’ve got to play winning hockey. It doesn’t matter who you are on the team. He got away from that."
Hall actually tallied an assist on the Bruins' second goal and has seven points (three goals, four assists) in 10 games. But the 29-year-old also committed a brutal turnover in the first period to led to Ottawa's first goal.
Jake DeBrusk replaced Hall on Boston's second line alongside Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith, and the B's held on for a 3-2 win over the lowly Senators.
Hall has given the Bruins solid offensive production since coming over from the Buffalo Sabres in April 2021, and Boston needs that production to be a contender this season. The 12-year veteran needs to clean up his defense and puck possession, though, and Cassidy sent that message loud and clear Tuesday night.
"We took some offensive-zone penalties in the third period that were bad," Cassidy said. "You’re in that type of game, now the temperature’s up, you’ve got some emotion, now you’re killing penalties again on kind of lazy plays. We’ve got to get those out of our game, take hard penalties."