Bruins’ Cassidy questions Leafs’ skating tactics

NHL News

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy has told officials to watch the Maple Leafs‘ skate-bump tactics.

“I’d just call it feet contacting feet,” Cassidy told reporters in Boston on Monday, one day after the Bruins staved off elimination to force a Game 7. “Whether it’s by accident or by design I don’t know. I don’t want to speculate.”

Game 7 is in Boston on Tuesday — the second-straight year a first-round series between these teams needed to go the distance. The Bruins won in last year’s seventh game, 7-4.

On Monday, Cassidy was asked by a reporter whether he felt slew footing was an issue in the series.

Cassidy said he didn’t think so, because the act of slew footing requires an arm — but the coach did say he felt Toronto players were bumping into the back of Bruins skates a lot. “Whether it’s just dumb luck, or how they battle for pucks,” Cassidy said, “we’ve brought it up with the supervisor.”

The NHL assigns a supervisor of officials to each NHL series, and coaches are encouraged to open a dialogue with the supervisor about any trends they see on the ice.

“There’s a couple of things we find that Toronto does that we brought up,” Cassidy said. “That’s what [the supervisors] are here for, that’s what they asked for. Is there anything you see? I’m sure Toronto brings some stuff up with us. We’ll see where it goes.”

Cassidy provided a few examples of the skate bump tactics. He said “there’s been a few of them every game” and “that’s what I believe caused the [Jake] DeBrusk/[Nazem] Kadri battle.”

DeBrusk and Kadri had a few scuffles in Game 2; Kadri cross-checked DeBrusk late in the third period and was suspended for the remainder of the round.

Cassidy also pointed to a time when Sean Kuraly “went down from behind” after a faceoff.

When asked by a reporter about a play in the first period of Game 6 — when Bruins forward Joakim Nordstrom was called for high sticking after he appeared to have his skates taken out because of contact from Toronto defenseman Travis Dermott — Cassidy was emphatic.

“There you go,” Cassidy said. “They go into the corner and he all of a sudden is flying backwards and his stick gets up. So it will be pointed out. It’s still a high stick if it catches a guy in the face, unfortunately. But I think the original contact caused the high stick. Because Nordy’s stick was on the ice battling for it. Usually, a high stick comes up in the act of … this one came up in the act of falling backwards because his foot got kicked out, so I would hope they would notice the contact there.”

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