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Barry Trotz Says He Isn’t ‘Working the Refs’ after Trading Barbs with Bruce Cassidy

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New York Islanders Barry Trotz

It’s not too often a defunct New York lacrosse team becomes a major part of an NHL playoff series, but that has become the case as the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins head to Game 6 on Long Island.

Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy called the Islanders the “New York Saints” and told reporters New York was selling a narrative of how they play after Game 5, which he felt wasn’t called as fairly as it should have been. At the time Islanders head coach Barry Trotz pointed to the Islanders’ low number of penalties called against them during the regular season.

[Click here for complete Stanley Cup Playoff coverage of the New York Islanders]

So naturally on Tuesday, the back and forth between the two coaches was a topic of conversation. The New York Saints…  Er, Islanders head coach remained somewhat tempered in his comments on the team’s off day.

“I can’t tell you what’s going on there, you have to ask Bruce,” Barry Trotz responded when a reporter asked what the postgame jab signified for Boston’s current state. “I don’t really have any comments on that at all.”

The war of words started on Sunday when Trotz said that Patrice Bergeron “knows how to cheat on the faceoffs.” The remark was part of a broader answer about Bergeron’s faceoff skills in which Trotz praised the veteran Boston forward.

Boston didn’t take too kindly to the remarks, especially after they felt that the officials had reacted to Trotz’s comments by booting Bergeron out of the faceoff circle several times early in the game. Boston, down 3-2 in the series, viewed the remarks as gamesmanship on the part of the Islanders bench boss.

Barry Trotz didn’t quite see it that way on Tuesday.

“That’s a comment I would make to any veteran centerman in this league, you always look for an edge and he’s very good at it,” Trotz said. “I don’t work (the officials). I just respect them. … It’s a hard job and I have a lot of respect for those guys.”

Monday’s comments cost Cassidy $25,000 after the league fined the Boston bench boss for “public comments critical of the officiating following Game 5.” Cassidy said his remarks were directed more towards the Islanders than the officials and that he felt his comments were civil.

“It’s been a good series, so there’s a little bit of that back and forth,” Cassidy said. “So that’s where a lot of that was directed and obviously I felt there was some calls that didn’t go our way that have gone against us when it comes to high sticks. I know there was specifically one on Wagner and there was definitely one on Bergy last night behind the net by Nelson and they didn’t get called. I voiced that and I was held accountable for it.”

Game 6 is Wednesday on Long Island at 7:30 p.m.

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