The NHL’s best faceoff artists all share one thing in common: They’re all very, very good at cheating.
It’s part of the game, of course. Every centerman cheats in the faceoff dots, probably to the point that it’s not necessarily “cheating.” After all, if everyone cheats, is it actually cheating?
Operating under the premise that everyone is cheating, then no one is better at it in the league than the Bruins. More specifically, Patrice Bergeron is one of the league’s best cheaters. He’s among the league leaders every season, and he’s at it again in the postseason as he makes life miserable for the Leafs in the dots. Bergeron has already won 35 of 60 draws in the series with Toronto. Bergeron went 12-for-20 in the Bruins’ Game 3 win, as the B’s won 45 of 75 draws as a team in the 5-2 victory.
That had Toronto center Tyler Bozak (12-for-29 in Game 3) answering questions about his faceoff struggles following the game. Part of the reason that happened, he said, is that the Bruins “cheated better.” In Bozak’s defense, he admitted that he, like everyone else, also cheats.
However, it was clear that the Leafs were getting frustrated by the situation, as they were bounced from the dot on multiple occasions.
“From our guys’ perspective, there were some things going on out there in the faceoff circle they deemed, I hate to say fair, because if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying, that’s my theory on face-offs,” Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle told the media in his postgame news conference. “But we were not taking up the position we would normally get being the home team. Usually, it’s visitor down, home team down, puck down. Our guys felt there were things going on in the faceoff circle with our guys getting bounced unfairly.
“I asked the linesman what was going on, his explanation was he felt our guys were impeding on the circle.”
See what Bozak had to say in the video below.