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Bruins broadcaster Jack Edwards calls NHL ref a ‘coward’


“McAvoy is seeking explanation from Steve Kozari and Kozari is the first official to exit the ice!”

NESN Bruins broadcaster Jack Edwards is pictured in the booth high above the TD Garden ice. The Boston Bruins hosted the Edmonton Oilers in a regular season NHL game at the TD Garden.
Jack Edwards didn’t hold back against NHL ref Steve Kozari on Tuesday night. Globe Staff Photo/Jim Davis

Longtime Bruins broadcaster Jack Edwards has never been one to keep his emotions to himself while speaking into the mic — especially as it pertains to NHL officiating. 

And in one of his final games calling Bruins hockey for NESN, Edwards made sure to deliver a parting shot against referee Steve Kozari. 

Kozari drew the wrath of the Bruins on the ice during the second period of Boston’s eventual Game 5 loss to the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

After a netfront scrum broke out in the closing seconds of the period, Kozari sent both Brad Marchand and Charlie Coyle to the sin bin — but only sent one Toronto skater, Joel Edmundson, to the penalty box. 

As both teams skated back down the tunnel during the second intermission, Charlie McAvoy tried to speak with Kozari — likely over why the Bruins ended up with two skaters in the box during that fracas. 

Kozari, who angrily dismissed both McAvoy and David Pastrnak immediately after the penalties were called, declined to speak with McAvoy before making his way off the ice. 

Such a response from the longtime ref didn’t sit well with Edwards up in the broadcast booth. 

“McAvoy is seeking explanation from Steve Kozari and Kozari is the first official to exit the ice!” Edwards said on the NESN broadcast. “Coward!”

Edwards, who will retire as the Bruins’ play-by-play voice at the end of this season, has taken umbrage with officiating throughout his 19 years calling Bruins games. 

Kozari has some history with the Bruins during the postseason, as both he and fellow ref Kelly Sutherland were the officials on the ice for Game 5 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

For those Bruins fans who have opted to erase that game from their collective memory, that was the night the St. Louis Blues scored an eventual game-winning goal just seconds after Tyler Bozak was not whistled for an obvious trip against Noel Acciari. 

It was a brutal non-call against the Bruins in a 2-2 series deadlock — prompting team president Cam Neely to hurl his water bottle against the wall shortly after David Perron lit the lamp. 

“What was being said [on the bench] was he missed an effing call . . . for obvious reasons,” then-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said after Boston’s eventual Game 5 loss to St. Louis. “But after that, we had to settle down and play. Listen, we thought we got screwed, but you got to keep playing.” 

Clearly, Edwards didn’t forget about Kozari’s checkered past with the Bruins when he took the official to task on Tuesday night. 

Edwards will be back on the call for Game 6 between the Bruins and Maple Leafs up in Toronto on Thursday night. This series will be Edwards’ final games in the booth, as NESN’s broadcasts end after the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

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