Commentary

Julien: No complaints on officiating

Non-calls, penalties clashes are part of intense playoff hockey, he says

Updated: April 16, 2010, 10:52 AM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The last thing any coach is going to do, especially during the Stanley Cup playoffs, is complain about the officiating.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres was intense, so no one was surprised by the physicality even when an all-out scrum took place at 15:14 of the first period that resulted in a slew of penalties for both teams.

It started when Bruins captain Zdeno Chara stiff-armed the Sabres' Patrick Kaleta head-first into the boards behind the Boston net. He was called for a crosscheck, not by the ref standing right next to the play, but the referee standing just inside the blue line.

Then the scrum began.

Along with his crosschecking penalty, Chara was issued another two minutes for roughing. Teammate Milan Lucic received four for roughing, while the Sabres' Toni Lydman, Steve Montador and Raffi Torres all received two minutes for roughing. Kaleta was hit with a 10-minute misconduct.

"This is playoff hockey," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "It's intensity and everything else, and it's one team responding and the other one doing the same thing. I don't think it's a big deal. It's part of the game and the intensity is there."

Before Chara's shove, the Bruins' Blake Wheeler was drilled into the boards at the other end of the ice, which resulted in nothing being called.

When Julien was asked after the 2-1 loss if he thought Kaleta did his job by getting into Chara's head, the coach completely disagreed with the question.

"It's going to take more than him," Julien said. "This is Zdeno's third playoffs with me, and every year they go after him. I don't think he's going to be wasting his time on somebody who sees just a little bit of ice."

Because Chara was called for a pair of penalties on the play, teammate Shawn Thornton had to go to the box to serve one of them. But when the first two minutes were up, Chara was the one who left the box and played a shift before officials signaled him back to the box because it should have been Thornton who left when the time expired on the penalty.

"It was a mistake from the box," Julien explained. "So both coaches understood and just moved on. We put him back in the box because he shouldn't have been the guy out. It's a human mistake."

Thornton said after the game that he was getting yelled at by the officials, but said it was the penalty-box attendant who told Chara to go.

In the second period, the physical play intensified when the Bruins' Johnny Boychuk was on the receiving end of an elbow to the head by the Sabres' Tyler Myers. There was no penalty.

"I didn't see him coming and I didn't have the puck and I felt a shot to the head, I guess," Boychuk said. "He got me in the side of the jaw. I guess they're letting that go now."

Again, when Julien was asked about the non-call, he said he wasn't about to make any excuses.

"This is intense playoffs, and I'm not here to whine and cry about things," Julien said. "If it is something that's deemed to be looked at, the league will take care of it. It's certainly not us that's going to whine about that stuff. This is playoff hockey, and it's intense with both teams. That's the way it should be. Let's just play the game, and if there's something that needs to be taken care of, I believe the league has to take care of it. That's their job."

Joe McDonald covers the Bruins and Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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