11 seconds into overtime. The Canucks have an odd-man rush—it’s Alex Burrows on a breakaway. He takes the puck wide, drawing Bruins’ goalkeeper Tim Thomas out of his net. Thomas never recovered, and Burrows managed to maneuver the puck into the net to win the game and put the Canucks up 2-0 in the series. The same Burrows who bit Patrice Bergeron in game one and should have been suspended for game two.
If you’re a Bruins fan, you’ll understand this. But even if you’re not, keep reading and see if you agree with this or not. I am a Bruins fan, but I tend to see things objectively. And if these events had happened to a different team, I probably would consider that an injustice as well.
It seems wrong. Burrows shouldn’t be playing. He should be suspended. It’s really that simple. There’s only one reason why Burrows should have been allowed to play in game two—if the NHL allows biting. Normally I would say they don’t, especially because Jarkko Ruutu was suspended for biting Andrew Peters in 2009. So the NHL should have suspended him, and it’s ridiculous that they missed such a huge call in the Stanley Cup Finals. Well, the league did what they wanted, Burrows played, and scored the first goal to put the Canucks up early.
Burrows scored the first goal of the game and assisted on Vancouver’s second goal.
This wasn’t the first piece of injustice done in the playoffs recently. Remember 2009? The one year that’s been sewn into my heart, the one year I’ll never forget, and the one failed suspension I will never forgive.
Game six, Bruins-Hurricanes. The Bruins, who looked like a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, were leading Carolina 3-2. The ‘Canes won game six, shifting the series back to Boston for game seven. Before the clock struck zero in game six, however, the Bruins were dealt a staggering blow, literally. ‘Canes forward Scott Walker and Bruins’ defenseman Aaron Ward were pushing and shoving, and Walker sucker punched Ward in the face.
He broke Ward’s jaw, ensuring that Ward wouldn’t play in game seven.
The league didn’t suspend Scott Walker. He scored the game-winning goal in game seven’s overtime, winning the series for the ‘Canes.
It was one of the most painful things I’ve ever witnessed. To watch that player, who should have been suspended, score a goal to send the Bruins packing was more than heartbreaking. It evoked sadness, anger, hatred, and other burning emotions.
It’s horrible when you watch players who should have been suspended score. It hurts that much when it’s your team that suffers the loss.
During game two, Max Herman, who works as a Devils reporter for WFAN in New York, tweeted about Burrows’ goal. I tweeted him back and told him it was exactly like Walker’s goal in 2009 against the Bruins. He congratulated me for knowing that, but there’s a reason why I knew.
As a Bruins fan, that’s not something you forget.
It creates one of those never-ending hypothetical questions. Scott Walker should have been suspended for game seven. Would the Bruins have won? Would someone else have been the hero for the Hurricanes? If Burrows hadn’t been playing, would the Canucks have won?
But those questions are really irrelevant. The Bruins got the short end of the stick (no pun intended) and they suffered from the league’s missed calls. You can whine and complain, but ultimately the league screwed up and you were a victim but there’s nothing else to do but move on.
This just bothers me as a fan because they were such blatant violations. There was no question Walker sucker-punched Ward. There was no question Burrows bit Bergeron. Those things are illegal in the NHL, so both players should have been suspended. So neither player should have scored.
I can sit here and complain how the Bruins are facing the brunt of injustice, but Tampa Bay’s faced their fair share in these playoffs as well. Boston Bruin Nathan Horton scored the game winner, but he could have been suspended. He probably should have been, considering he spit at a Lightning fan in game six.
This is what it looks like: the NHL makes rules, but they never seem to follow them. And it’s just getting annoying and frustrating. The NHL is already having trouble fighting for attention in the U.S., and they definitely are not helping their cause by failing to implement punishments.