The playoff tab for the Bruins is up to $40,000, with Bruce Cassidy plunking down the bulk of it.
After Cassidy criticized what he saw as subpar officiating in Game 5 on Monday, the NHL fined him $25,000 on Tuesday for “public comments critical of officiating.” That money goes to the NHL Foundation.
Cassidy wasn’t the only Bruin called onto the carpet. Third-line winger Nick Ritchie was docked $5,000 for his elbow on defenseman Scott Mayfield in the first period, a check that will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Ritchie is the third Bruins skater to be fined for stick work on Islanders players this series, following Jake DeBrusk (on Mayfield in Game 2) and David Krejci (on Mathew Barzal in Game 4). Each was fined $5,000. Neither Ritchie nor DeBrusk were penalized by officials during play. Krejci, who speared Barzal between the legs, was instead given a minor for slashing.
Reacting to his fine, Cassidy explained that he was upset about missed high sticks on Patrice Bergeron and Chris Wagner, but the thrust of his criticism was to “push back a little bit” against the idea posited by Islanders coach Barry Trotz before Game 5 — that Bergeron was “cheating” on faceoffs — rather than ripping officials.
In his Tuesday news conference, Trotz explained that he would have said the same about any crafty veteran center. He also said he wasn’t “working” officials.
“I don’t work them, I respect them,” Trotz said. “I’ve been in the league a long time [and being a ref] is a hard job and I have a lot of respect for those guys.”
Cassidy had a right to wonder why his comments earned him that kind of fine. In last summer’s first-round series against the Bruins, Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour coughed up the same $25K for calling NHL officiating a “joke,” and a “crime scene.”
“Usually when you get fined you say something to the effect of ‘embarrassing’ or ‘a joke,’ and I didn’t say any of that,” Cassidy said, adding that referees Francis Charron and François St-Laurent were “excellent.”
“We were told before that we have to keep our comments civil,” he said. “I thought it was. They didn’t see it that way. Got a lot of respect for Colie [Colin Campbell, the NHL’s director of hockey operations] and the NHL front office. That’s the way he saw it, and we’ll move on from that.
“Will it have an effect going forward? I’ve said any comments shouldn’t. The refs should call what they see. I think I said that as well. It’s a little bit about being asked a question after the game — I answered it as honestly as I could.”
Sticking to the point
Cassidy noted that coaches, in their public comments, are playing their role in “an entertainment business.” The Bruins coach gave some free fodder to New York tabloids with his “New York Saints” comment Monday.
When Cassidy, sarcastically remarking that the Islanders should be called the “Saints” for their supposed squeaky-clean image, it was unclear if he knew that that was the name of the National Lacrosse League team that played at Nassau Coliseum from 1989 to 2003.
Having fun with it, Long Island-based Newsday called up Sal LoCascio, the goalie for the Saints, who opined that Cassidy might be “having nightmares about Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin.”
LoCascio, who was an All-American at UMass, went on to say that the coach’s comments were a sign of trouble for the Bruins.
“You know what that told me as an athlete?” said LoCascio, 54, a five-time NLL All-Star. “That there’s doubt in that locker room.”
Trotz wasn’t feeding into that.
“I can’t tell you what’s going on there,” he said. “You’ll have to ask Bruce.”