Anyone who has closely followed either the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Boston Bruins over the past few seasons had every expectation that the first round match up between these two teams in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs would be an all out war. Thus far the series has lived up to those expectations and we have been treated to some very good hockey games, however fans on both sides of the ice are likely unhappy about just how much influence the National Hockey League's officials have had on the series thus far.
Think what you will about Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri but there is little to no doubt in my mind that the crosscheck that eventually led to his massive 5 game suspension was a direct result of the officiating in the game in which the infraction occurred. Kadei had been outright mugged earlier in the game by the player he would eventually crosscheck, and saw one of his teammates busted open and bleeding as a result of an elbow from that very same player, Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk. Although neither of those scenarios justify his vicious retaliation, there's no doubt that those incidents played a factor in him eventually crosschecking DeBrusk. Not only did the officials impact Kadri, but you also have to wonder if that dangerous blow to DeBrusk's head could have been avoided for his sake as well.
On Friday night the officials once again had a major influence on a game in this series, and in fact some feel that the officials outright determined the outcome of Game 5 this time around. I am of course referring to the goal that was scored by Toronto Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews, a goal that would break what was a scoreless tie up until that point in the game. The Bruins clearly felt that Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask had been bumped by Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman, and to be honest there is really no question that contact was made, and that goaltender interference should have been called on the play. The NHL's war room in Toronto reviewed the play however and determined that the goal should stand, causing a great deal of controversy around the league on the topic of goaltender interference once again.
This time around there are multiple NHL goaltenders speaking out against the league, clearly taking the Bruins side on this particular topic. Citing NHL rule 69.1 long time NHL goaltender Martin Biron felt that the goal should have been overturned by video review.
Wow. I guess they must have felt Rask wasn’t gonna be able to come across but to me it doesn’t matter, contact was made and in my opinion should’ve been overturned.
National Hockey League goaltender Cam Talbot went one step further suggesting that someone who has actually been between the pipes should be in the NHL's war room for these specific types of reviews.
Once again the NHL goalie interference review is flawed. Someone that’s played the game in the blue paint should be in the situation room. Games are being lost in the playoffs and it’s not right.
Fans in Boston will undoubtedly agree, but unfortunately that will not change the outcome of Game 5.