The biggest shock surrounding Vancouver’s victory over Boston in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals wasn’t the fact that Raffi Torres—of all people—scored the lone goal of the game with 18.5 seconds remaining in regulation. No, while ordinarily that would would take the headline cake, the story that has most people talking around the water cooler today is how Alex Burrows took a bite out of Patrice Bergeron.
And while that story alone would create enough controversy the day after, what has added a little extra fuel to the fire is the fact that the NHL has decided not to suspend Burrows.
In a statement released today by National Hockey League Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy, the NHL deemed that there was no conclusive evidence that Burrows bit Bergeron’s hand.
“After reviewing the incident, including speaking with the on-ice officials, I can find no conclusive evidence that Alex Burrows intentionally bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron.”
That’s pretty odd when the video above clearly shows Burrows’ teeth clamping down on the glove of Bergeron. Even commentators Keith Jones and Mike Milbury saw it, and they all but predicted an inevitable suspension for Burrows.
“Oh yeah, he did,” Bergeron said when asked if Burrows bit him. “Obviously he cut me a little bit on my finger. I’m not going to be here and complain about it. I’ll let the League do its job, but he sure did.”
When asked if he bit Bergeron, Burrows responded, “I don’t think so. He had his finger in my mouth, but I don’t think I bit him.”
Right…it’s kind of hard to tell when your jaw clamps down in the heat of battle if you were actually biting another person or not.
A lot of the guys north of the border are complaining that it was a little bite and that Bergeron stuck his finger where he shouldn’t have and that Burrows didn’t do anything wrong. Except he did. It doesn’t matter how close a guy’s finger gets near your mouth (a common occurrence when players exchange face washes), biting another player is weak and bush-league.
But maybe the NHL is looking to capitalize on the nastiness of Game 1, because it is unlikely that a team like Boston will let a thing like that slide.
Look for Burrows to have a huge target on his back in Game 2.