Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy called Yanni Gourde “clever” as part of some frustrated remarks about the officiating in his team’s 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay in Game 4.
Gourde was on the receiving end of a second period hit by Nick Ritchie, and laid on the ice. There was no initial call on the play, but at the stoppage in play, the referees looked at video and gave Ritchie a 5-minute boarding major. The Lightning stretched their edge to 3-0 on the ensuing power play.
“The discipline was nothing originally. It was no call. Then it turned into a 5-minute major. I’m not sure I guess we’ll get an explanation or we won’t. I don’t know,” Cassidy said. “I didn’t get one, why that changed. Gourde was down on the play. He’s a good player, a real good player for them. Clever obviously. Got them on the power play for 5 minutes. He finished the game and had no problems in the third period. I didn’t agree with the call. (Karson) Kuhlman got hit by (Cedric) Paquette late in the first period, very, very, very, very, very, very, similar hit, no call. We’ll ask that question and find out what the thinking was.”
“Well, he is a clever player. But I think that was a league-reviewed hit. They didn’t just make up the 5-minutes. There’s a lot of people involved,” said Cooper, who chose not to lash back at Cassidy. “You’re always battling for your guys. Take myself out of being the head coach of the Lightning, I thought the hit was late. It was hitting an unsuspecting opponent. If you’re going to hit somebody unsuspecting, hit somebody from behind, hit somebody in the head, those are no-nos around the league. Ritchie checked off a bunch of boxes there.”
At first, Cooper thought Ritchie would get suspended for a similar hit in the regular season, but then changed direction as he spoke.
“Regular season for sure it would be a suspension, so clever or not it would be a suspension,” Cooper said. “I shouldn’t say that. The fact that they give him a five (minute major) probably takes him off the hook for being suspended. That and the fact that Gourdo came back… So he is a clever player, but he’s also a gutsy player.”
“There was no call. He was finishing the check,” Cassidy said. “It happens all the time. He played through a player’s shoulder as I saw it – shoulder to shoulder hard. I don’t know if the explanation was that it was late or if a 225-pound man hits a 170-pound man and that’s why the penalty was called. Because Paquette did the same thing if not worse to Kuhlman in the first period.
“The standard was set. That’s what officials do. They set the standard. The players adjust to it and adapt to it, game in and game out,” Cassidy continued. “I thought he did a good job. That’s what he’s asked to do. Be hard on people. Stick up for your teammates. Go to the net. Score dirty goals. Make plays off the wall. That hit was part of the job description. He did it and they reversed the call. We want Ritch to be physical, not reckless. That’s what we thought he was, but it didn’t work out that way.”
“I had no intent when I got on the ice to injure anybody,” Ritchie said. “I was just finishing my hit. I thought I did a good job keeping my arms down. He wasn’t expecting it. He had just gotten rid of the puck. I was just playing my game and that’s part of it.”
Cassidy could face a fine from the league. Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour was assessed a $25,000 hit to his wallet after criticizing first round calls.
? Bruce Cassidy, Nick Ritchie, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie Coyle, and David Krejci speak with the media after today’s Game 4 loss. @GEICO pic.twitter.com/d26cmBJYME
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