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NHL fines Bruins’ Bruce Cassidy $25,000 for criticizing officials

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has been fined $25,000 by the NHL for his comments about the officiating during their Game 5 loss to the Islanders.

Cassidy was not pleased with the penalty calls in the game, which saw the Islanders handed the first three power plays. They would cash in on three of their four chances, while Boston went 1-for-2 with the extra man.

The Bruins head coach used his postgame press conference to call out the refs and the Islanders, too, while pulling out a National Lacrosse League reference:
“I think what happens, and this is my take on it, is we’re playing a team that has very respected management, coaching staff,” Cassidy said. “They won a Stanley Cup. But I think they sell a narrative over there that it’s more like the New York Saints, not the New York Islanders. They play hard, they play the right way, but I feel we play the same way. The exact calls that are getting called on us do not get called on them, and I don’t know why. These are very good officials. They’re at this point in the season for a reason. ... Maybe we need to sell them more, flop, but that’s not us. You just hope they see them. The same calls go against us. It’s not like I’m sitting there going, ‘Every call against us sucks.’ That’s not true.

“It’s just at the end of the day, the similar plays, they need to be penalized on those plays. But like I said, I think they’ve done a great job selling that narrative that they’re clean. They play hard, a hard brand of hockey. Love the way they play, but they commit as many infractions as we do, trust me. It’s just a matter of calling them. That’s the part that I guess gets frustrating, but you play through it.”

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 Second Round schedule, TV info]

When told of the comments, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said he wasn’t sure what the Cassidy meant as his team were one the NHL’s least-penalized teams during the regular season (29th out of 31).

Cassidy also took issue with Trotz’s comments about Patrice Bergeron “cheating” in the face-off dot.

“It’s like with Bergeron today. He’s thrown out of, what, the first two, three, four faceoffs he takes because someone mentioned… You know, have a little respect for Patrice Bergeron,” said Cassidy. “He’s up for the Selke, he’s been a warrior in this league, face of the franchise, does everything right for hockey, sells the game. And that’s the way you treat him? I mean, come on. Because someone speaks out and says something all of a sudden.

“They just need to be better than that. Just call the game that you see. Quit listening to these outside influences and get it done right. I don’t think they were great tonight. I’m not gonna lie to you. But they have been. They’re good officials. I know those two guys. They’re good guys, good officials. I don’t know. Tonight I just thought they were off. He can say the same about us, but that’s what I thought. Let’s just play hockey and call the infractions that happen and we’ll see where it goes.”

This is the fourth fine the Bruins have been handed in the series following Nick Ritchie ($5K, elbowing), David Krejci ($5K, slashing), and Jake DeBrusk ($5K, cross-checking) getting hit in the wallet.

Who doesn’t love a little Stanley Cup playoff gamesmanship and working the refs?

BRUINS VS. ISLANDERS (NYI leads 3-2) - series livestream link

Game 1: Bruins 5, Islanders 2
Game 2: Islanders 4, Bruins 3 (OT)
Game 3: Bruins 2, Islanders 1 (OT)
Game 4: Islanders 4, Bruins 1
Game 5: Islanders 5, Bruins 4
Game 6: Wed. June 9: Bruins at Islanders, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
*Game 7: Fri. June 11: Islanders at Bruins TBD


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.