A predominant theme has emerged in the early part of the Stanley Cup playoffs:
More specifically, cheating on faceoffs.
The topic has already arisen in the Vancouver-San Jose and Chicago-Minnesota series and is now making waves in Toronto-Boston — the Bruins have dominated throughout the series, but Game 3 was their most dominant effort yet.
Boston won 60 percent of its draws and 71 percent in the defensive zone, results that Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle questioned.
“Specifically when you’re at home, you think that you would be afforded some of the staples of the opposition having to be down first and stop,” Carlyle told TSN, regarding the number of times his centers were waved out.
“In our review, there was some things that were going on out there that we don’t agree with.”
Boston head coach Claude Julien’s response?
“It’s going to be interesting to see whether the referees and the linesmen just do their job and not worry about who’s crying wolf.”
Faceoffs have been a major source of controversy not just this playoff, but during the regular season as well.
At the start of 2013, the NHL implemented a new rule preventing faceoff participants from batting the puck with their hand in an attempt to win the draw.
Any player caught doing so would be given a two-minute delay of game minor.
In the postseason, a new issue has arisen — players getting tossed out.
Toronto’s Tyler Bozak was booted from a number of draws during Game 3 (when he asked why, Bozak was told he wasn’t coming to a complete stop before the puck was dropped) and Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu got a “stern talking-to from linesmen a handful of times,” during Sunday’s win over Chicago.
“It seemed like just from watching, when Bozie was coming down [with his stick], they were starting to come up and he was trying to counteract that and he was getting tossed,” Toronto’s Jay McClement explained. “It’s tough when you’re getting tossed all the time.
“It’s tough to cheat the way you normally do and time it because then you just get tossed more and more.”