By Matt Noonan
Bruce Cassidy did not hold back his emotions last night, especially after the Boston Bruins saw their comeback fall short to the New York Islanders at the TD Garden.
New York defeated Boston, 5-4, to secure a 3-2 series lead heading into tomorrow’s match-up — the Bruins need a win to extend the series to Friday. A win by the Islanders would clinch the series and set up a Stanley Cup Playoffs semifinal matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning or Carolina Hurricanes (Tampa Bay current leads the series, 3-1).
Speaking with members of the media shortly after Monday’s contest concluded, Cassidy, who is in his fifth season as the head coach of the Boston Bruins, shared some interesting thoughts regarding the one-goal loss, specifically about the officiating while referring to his opponent as the “New York Saints.”
“I think they sell a narrative over there that it’s more like the New York Saints, not the New York Islanders,” Cassidy told reporters when referring to calls that supposedly went in favor of his opponent, not the Bruins. “The exact calls that are getting called on us are not getting called on them. I don’t know why. You got the exact same high sticks … you just hope they’d see them.”
Cassidy’s post-game comments resulted in a $25,000 fine this morning, but his remarks about the “New York Saints” made me wonder if he knew there was an actual team — well, franchise, to be exact — that once competed in the National Lacrosse League (NLL)?
The New York Saints were indeed a team — in fact, they began as the New Jersey Saints. They were one of four teams to compete in the Major Indoor Lacrosse League (MLL), which would be renamed the National Lacrosse League (NLL) in 1998, and won their only championship in 1988 when they beat the Washington Wave, according to the league’s website. They would fall short of a repeat one year later when they lost to the Philadelphia Wings by a score of 11-10.
Unfortunately, the Saints would not return to the title game following their one-goal setback to Philadelphia in 1989 but did appear in the semifinals in 1990 and 1997. Their time with the league would conclude in 2003 after winning three of 16 contests.
So, the New York Saints were indeed a franchise — they were not a made-up team — but sadly, they won’t be competing against Cassidy’s squad tomorrow evening in Uniondale, New York.