This topic has been rehashed far too many times. But the fact of the matter is Alex Burrows should not have played in game two of the Stanly Cup Finals. However, he did and he had a very small impact on the game.
I am a Canucks fan, have been for a while now (didn’t jump on the bandwagon this year). I wanted Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Kesler shipped to Buffalo at least three years ago. This is a team I have a vested interest in, I still think it is a sham that Burrows was able to play. We can all admit he bit Patrice Bergeron’s finger, there is no doubting that one. Most people can probably admit he should have been suspended for the infraction. I also think it is safe to assume that a vast majority of hockey fans think it is brutal that the NHL didn’t give him a single game for chomping down on Bergeron’s channel changing digit.
I will admit when I saw the incident live I conceded that he could get away with the bit because it looked like he was attempting to pull Bergeron’s hand out of his mouth rather that ingesting it. Still, there is little evidence to show he didn’t bit the guy and he should have gotten at least one game. Here lies the problem.
Even with Colin Campbell, the previously assumed culprit of the NHL’s wishy-washy discipline, out of the decision making process, the NHL still got it wrong. The same goes for Nathan Horton not getting suspended for throwing a water bottle at a Tampa fan (even if he/she deserved it). Add to that his borderline headshot on Steve Downie. Horton probably shouldn’t have played in game seven of the ECF and he scored the clinching goal. Hell, Andrew Ference went out of his way to knock Jeff Halpern in the face during the Bruins’ series with the Habs. Ference ended up having a say in the outcome of that game too.
It seems as if the NHL isn’t capable of drawing that line. They are afraid of banning their stars and they’re equally afraid to drastically affect the outcome of a game or asides with a ruling. Unfortunately they are doing exactly that be being consistently inconsistent. Perhaps Brendan Shanahan will be able to bring some stability to this process, because now it is nothing short of a train wreck.