Missed penalty calls weren’t the only officiating issue that had Bruce Cassidy hot after Monday night’s 5-4 loss to the Islanders in Game 5 at TD Garden.
Patrice Bergeron was tossed from the faceoff circle on the first draw he took in Game 5, in the offensive zone, and a few more after that. David Krejci was booted twice in the opening 40 minutes.
Cassdy saw that as the product of Islanders coach Barry Trotz’s gamesmanship.
“[Bergeron is] thrown out of the first two, three, four faceoffs he takes, because someone mentioned — have a little respect for Patrice Bergeron,” Cassidy said. “He’s up for the Selke [Trophy], he’s been a warrior in this league, a face of the franchise, does everything right for hockey, sells the game. 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. Call the game that you see.”
Trotz piped up Sunday, after a Game 4 in which he believed Bergeron was “cheating” on draws.
“I think Bergy’s been a really good faceoff guy, one of the best,” Trotz said. “I think [Jean-Sebastian Pageau and his fellow centers] they all study what he does. The biggest thing with Bergy, and really linesmen can control this, is he doesn’t like to get his stick down. He has to come to a stop, and then you have a fair fight.
“He’s a veteran guy who knows how to cheat on the faceoffs. I’m relying on our very capable officiating crew and linesmen to make sure that the cheating doesn’t go on, because he’s good at it. All the veteran guys are. He’s not the only one, trust me. But he’s very good, he’s very capable, and he’s been a top centerman and faceoff guy for a long time.”
Before puck drop, Bergeron said he wasn’t worried about Trotz’s comments.
“He said it was a veteran play,” Bergeron said. “I think it’s a veteran play by him as a coach to go into the media to talk and try to get the linesmen and the officiating to think about it.”
Bergeron has seen this before.
“I’m not sure,” he said, when asked if lobbying had an effect. “You’re trying to put the word out there and see what happens. For me, as a player I’m gonna play my game and worry about what I can control and what I can do to help my team win. That’s all I can really do.”
To begin Game 4, Bergeron slid into position at center ice. He placed the blade of his stick on the ice, as the visiting center is supposed to. His opponent in the faceoff circle, Pageau, looked down and saw the top of Bergeron’s helmet.
Pageau straightened from his half-crouch, extending his palm in protest about Bergeron encroaching over the red line. After referee Chris Lee admonished him, Bergeron retreated slightly. But when Lee dropped the puck, Bergeron leaned so far forward that the Spoked-B crest of his jersey was hovering over the center-ice dot.
Pageau won the draw anyway. By the end of Saturday night, Pageau had beaten Bergeron on 9 of 16 faceoffs (56 percent), and Bergeron was 10 of 24, or 42 percent.
Bergeron rebounded in Game 5, beating Pageau on 6 of 10 draws and finishing 13 of 22 (59 percent).
The Bruins captain Sunday was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, given to the best defensive forward, for the 10th year in a row. Many voters for the award (including this writer) consider faceoff prowess a plus. Though he has had his struggles against the Islanders, Bergeron’s league-best 62.2 percent success rate in the regular season will help his candidacy.
“I think it’s a compliment to my teammates, to be honest with you,” he said. “Obviously a great honor, not going to lie. That being said, I think it goes with how we’ve performed as a team and how my teammates have helped me throughout the year.”
Carlo, Miller skate
Defensemen Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller, both suspected to be recovering from concussions, skated on their own after the morning session. Cassidy left open the possibility that either could return for Game 6 . . . A day after noting that his third line “didn’t generate anything,” Cassidy subbed Karson Kuhlman for Jake DeBrusk. Kuhlman, who last played in Game 2, skated with pace and landed three shots and three hits in 10:36 . . . The Islanders are outdrawing the Bruins in penalties, 15-11, this series . . . Curtis Lazar, who collided with Adam Pelech along the boards early in the second, did not return (4:35 TOI). He was the only Bruins without a shot on goal . . . Jeremy Lauzon briefly left for repairs after a Cal Clutterbuck shot stung him in the leg. Lauzon didn’t miss a shift . . . At 5 on 5, the Bruins out-attempted the Isles, 64-30, outshot them, 35-15, and outscored them, 3-2 . . . Boston lines 1-3 outshot the Isles by a combined 28-8 at 5 on 5, and finished up 3-0 in goals . . . The visitors won 12 of 18 draws in the first, but the Bruins flipped that — winning 12 of 16 — in the second. The Bruins finished 27 of 53 (51 percent) . . . Islanders winger Oliver Wahlstrom (lower body), who missed two weeks, participated in the morning skate . . . Islanders captain Anders Lee, who had right ACL surgery in March, hit the ice at TD Garden for a light workout. Lee will not play this postseason, but looks to be on track for a training camp return . . . The NHL announced three finalists for the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, given to an individual who uses hockey to help their “community, culture or society.” Renee Hess (founder of the Black Girl Hockey Club), Kevin Hodgson (executive director of HEROS) or Howard Smith (co-founder of Pittsburgh I.C.E.) will be chosen by a fan vote and weighted votes from O’Ree, the NHL and sponsor MassMutual. Fans can vote at NHL.com/OReeAward.