BOSTON (CBS) — Officials have had no problem blowing their whistles during the Stanley Cup Final. That has St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube pretty perturbed.
Berube and his Blues are down 2-1 to the Boston Bruins heading into Monday night’s Game 4 in St. Louis, after Boston’s offense exploded in a 7-2 victory in Game 3 Saturday night. While the Bruins tallied seven goals, the Blues were whistled for six penalties during the game. Boston’s power play went a perfect 4-for-4 on the evening, scoring those four goals on four straight shots at one point.
The Blues were a well-disciplined bunch heading into the Cup Final, but they’ve been whistled for at least five penalties in the first three games of the series. That has Berube scratching his head.
“We were the least penalized team in the first three rounds, and now all of sudden we’ve taken 14 penalties in one series,” the Blues head coach said Sunday. “I don’t agree with all the calls.”
This is just Berube working the officials, trying to get into their heads before an important game. But the Blues have had quite the uptick in penalties this series from their previous three series this postseason. They had 55 penalties total over their first 19 playoff games, an average of 2.89 per game. Their 17 Stanley Cup penalties (leading to 14 power plays for Boston) is more than their total from their six-game opening round series against the Winnipeg Jets, and matches their penalty total from their seven-game series against the Dallas Stars in the second round. St. Louis was whistled for 16 penalties in their six-game Conference Final victory over the San Jose Sharks.
In all, 13 different Blues players have been sent to the box this series on a cornucopia of different offenses. Heightened emotions usually lead to officials having itchy whistle fingers, but Berube doesn’t think that’s a very good explanation.
“I don’t buy into all that, to be honest with you,” he said Sunday.
Blues players have lost their cool on a handful of occasions, and Berube did say his club needs to keep their composure after the whistle. Though it would probably be in their best interest to remain disciplined throughout Game 4 Monday night, with the Bruins power play converting 41.2 percent of their chances on the man advantage this series. Six of their 13 Stanley Cup goals have come on the man advantage.
St. Louis’ physical style against Boston’s faster players isn’t doing them any favors with the officials, and Berube knows this. But in voicing his displeasure with the zebras, he’s hoping that they might start to swallow their whistles and let some of the little things go.