One penalty call from Friday night’s Game Four between the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders has gone through quite the roller coaster review process and yet questions still remain. The NHL Department of Players Safety has announced that Bruins forward David Krejci has received a maximum $5,000 fine for “slashing” on Islanders forward Mathew Barzal in the second period last night.
Slashing though was not even the original call. The penalty in question was called when Krejci used his stick to jab Barzal between the legs in last night’s contest. The initial call on the ice was a major penalty for spearing. However, when the officials reviewed the call, they reduced the penalty to a minor for slashing. Player Safety seemingly felt that the play deserved further scrutiny and decided on supplemental discipline for Krejci, but they too considered it slashing.
Upon further review, it is hard to watch the play and call it anything less than spearing. With that said, the reduction in the penalty may have also been partially a make-up call by the on-ice officials. The crew missed repeated cross-checks by Barzal against Krejci before the veteran decided to deliver his own brand of justice against the youngster. Upon reviewing the play, the officials may have decided that their own inaction led to the penalty and felt that Krejci did not deserve five minutes in the box. It also seems likely that Barzal helped the penalty along with some acting.
The officials missing calls against the Bruins has been a storyline in this series (and last) as well. Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy spoke out after the Game Four loss, stating that he didn’t think his team was getting a fair amount of calls in their favor during the postseason. Krejci was also critical of the officiating and of Barzal. The question now is whether the comments of the respected coach and veteran will make any impact when the Bruins and Islanders start fresh with a tied series in Game Five on Monday.