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The Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers are competing in a winner-take-all Game 7 on Sunday at TD Garden in Boston. The Bruins set records this season with their historical winning season. However, they’ve been pushed to the brink in the first round of the NHL Playoffs.
Game 7s are notoriously tight, as teams and players don’t want to make the mistake that could cost them their season. Referees typically swallow their whistles a bit more, too, not wanting to make a season-altering bad call.
Things got chippy early in the game, with Bruins and Panthers players getting into a skirmish after the whistle about midway through the first period. One thing hockey refs know is that they have to get control of the game early.
Apparently, referee Steve Kozari takes that part very seriously. After calling coincidental roughing minors on Panthers forward Sam Bennett and Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo, Kozari skated over to the scorer’s table to announce his call.
Unfortunately, he didn’t realize that he had already turned his microphone on. And before he delivered the official call, he had some words for Carlo.
“Don’t test me, don’t you f***ing test me!” Kozari barks at Carlo. “Don’t do sh*t after the whistle!”
Ref caught on hot mic during Bruins-Panthers game
This kind of stuff is pretty typical in hockey. Referees talk with players more than in other sports because the players and referees are on the ice — coaches aren’t.
Kozari is letting Carlo know that he’s not going to take any extraneous activities. That’s what good refs do, especially early in emotional games.
Still, it’s pretty funny to hear it caught on a hot mic. It reminds me of one of my favorite current TV characters, Shoresy. From Shoresy.
“Hey, who wants to hurt their team more boys? I’m only taking one of ya. I’m only taking one of ya.”
Maybe Kozari is just a huge Shoresy fan like myself.
Next time, I hope he tells Carlo to go for a soda.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak