This isn’t a cry of injustice, a plea for a suspension or anything of the sort. Alex Burrows wasn’t suspended by the NHL, and he probably didn’t deserve to be. At this point of the year, in the Stanley Cup Final, biting a finger probably isn’t enough to keep you off the ice for 60 minutes, and definitely not for 120 minutes.
That’s what the folks at the NHL think, and you know what? That’s fine. The problem is that they’re not telling you that. They’re telling you that there was “no conclusive evidence” to prove there was any biting. They’re telling you that those videos you’ve seen, and the photos you’ve looked at — they don’t exist. They’re basically telling you that you’re an idiot.
They’re insulting your intelligence.
There was conclusive evidence. We saw it. We saw Burrows chomp down on Bergeron’s finger the same way I bite down on my morning apple (just kidding, I rarely eat fruit). If Mike Murphy, whose decision it was to hold off on supplemental discipline, really wanted more evidence, he’d go look at Bergeron’s finger. It’s got teeth marks in it.
The NHL can try to tell me a lot of things, but it cannot tell me that Alexandre Burrows did not bite Patrice Bergeron’s finger.
And that’s what this is about. It’s not about whether he should have been suspended; it’s about honesty. We all hate flopping and diving in hockey because it’s dishonest (cut to the Jack Edwards soliloquy in Montreal!). The league telling us lies in official statements is just as bad — probably worse, actually, because it’s a calculated decision that doesn’t come in the heat of the moment. It is a deliberate effort to misinform fans of the sport.
It’s a whole lot of garbage.
It’s similar to Murphy’s decision last week when he said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that Nathan Horton squirted water on a fan … despite the existing conclusive evidence of Nathan Horton squirting water on a fan.
Should Horton have been suspended for Game 7? Hell no. He made some dork from Tampa slightly wetter than moist, and very slightly altered that man’s evening. But instead of being honest, the league lied. Hogwash.
What’s most maddening is that if Murphy and the NHL wanted to avoid any outrage, they could just say “What [Player X] did is worthy of suspension in the regular season but with so much at stake in the playoffs, we don’t want to have such a major impact on the outcomes of games.”
You could be upset about the subjectivity of it all, but the explanation is infallible. You simply can’t argue with that explanation. Maybe it would stir up memories of an unwavering parent telling you “Because I said so” as the only reason for not allowing you to go out on a Friday night when you were 16, but the league might as well just say it. It’s what they’re doing anyway.
What are your thoughts on the process of supplementary discipline in the NHL? Share your thoughts below.
Screen shot from YouTube