Maybe it’s better this way. Maybe it’s the better way to accept your fate. Or maybe this is just setting up for what will become the ultimate Blues moment. There are your two roads. Resignation or the road to hope. I have no idea. At least the Final tossed up a decent game for once…except it got completely overshadowed by more NHL brilliance. Let’s run through it.
-Let’s get it out at the top. The non-call on Noel Acciari is a result of the NHL’s and hockey’s antiquated and downright stupid, “LET THE PLAYERS PLAY!!” attitude. That only gets exacerbated by the NHL bus-tossing their refs when they do make a call that is seen as harsh. NHL refs are already terrified or outright refusing to call penalties that are obvious late in games, and it’s been that way the entire time. And we know better. Then they see what happened to Vegas, and that only intensifies it. Even if those refs were wrong, the NHL can’t allow an avenue for teams and coaches to exploit, which they have. Protect your refs.
We can accept that in some ways. What can’t be accepted is the repeated hits to the head last night that the refs bent over backwards for to not call anything. You even had Eddie NoCheck (it’s what he was known as during his career) trying to justify one or two by talking about technique and changing levels of the other players’ heads, as if he would know the first thing about it. Whenever the NHL gets serious about getting rid of this, if it ever does though it may be forced one day, it’ll instruct its refs to err on the side of punishment and not leniency. Hockey doesn’t need hits to the head to be hockey. But in the playoffs, and these especially, the refs have been neutered. This is what you get. And I’m sure it’s what you’ll continue to get as the NHL remains more terrified of a Don Cherry rant about the softening of the game than anything else.
-Anyway, to the teams. The Bruins did more than enough last night to win, but were just the victim of the first Jordan Binnington game of the series, especially in the first period. That happens, it’s just a shit time for it for the Bs.
-The story of this series is going to be how Patrice Bergeron’s line has disappeared. Bergeron is probably hurt, which is good enough. What’s Marchand’s excuse? Oh right, that he’s pretty much always been a Bergeron passenger and when the driver of the bus isn’t there, he goes nowhere.
-The funny thing is that Zdeno Chara had his best game as far as possession goes in this one, which is something the Bruins probably have to win. The first Blues goal wasn’t even his fault, as much as I would have liked it to be to punch holes in this stupid Willis Reed narrative, but it was McAvoy who went chasing behind the net with Chara and it was his alley that ROR went running for. But then again, McAvoy sucks in his own end which we already knew.
-It’s still frustrating to watch the Bruins go through phases of play where they simply have to carry the puck through two or three Blues defenders at the line, instead of getting it deep where the Blues have proven they can’t consistently escape. There are times for both, but the Bruins haven’t been able to diagnose when those are outside of Game 1, really. I’m making Gunnarsson and Edmundson and Bortuzzo prove they can pass or skate their way out of trouble, because I know they can’t.
-I’m not being fair to the Blues, who have played at a pace for two straight games I didn’t think they could manage. It’s really hard to harass retreating d-men and then get back to make life hell at your own line, but they’ve done it.
-The Bruins could use a Tuukka game Sunday. They haven’t really gotten one yet.