Here's how it translates: Alex Burrows visibly chomped on Patrice Bergeron's finger and wasn't fined or suspended, based on the supposed merit that the NHL couldn't see evidence of the bite or the wound on Bergeron's digit. Since then, Canucks forward Maxim Lapierre and Bruins forwards Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic have all tried to dish out free servings of finger food as a way to get under the skin of their opponents.
The NHL announced if anyone mimics that motion again, the NHL will levy a two-minute unsportsmanlike minor and a 10-minute misconduct to the guilty party, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun — all of this for imitating an action that the NHL doesn't deem to be against the rules. At this point, Lapierre, Recchi and Lucic would have been better off just biting someone.
The problem here is multilayered, but it obviously stems from the NHL's inability to control the initial situation. Aside from the finger taunts, the series has gotten increasingly chippy, and the teams have also taken their trash talking to the media.
But the malice reached its peak Monday night when Aaron Rome concussed Nathan Horton and the two teams combined for 145 penalty minutes, including 10 misconducts and three majors. All of this came after the Bruins altered their series strategy by activating Shawn Thornton — the toughest player on the team — who sent an immediate message by throttling Burrows into the boards during his first shift and then chirping at Rome on his way back to the bench.
Would it have gotten to this point if the NHL levied a suspension on Burrows, or at the very least issued a legitimate explanation? There's no way of knowing. But, without a doubt, the players wouldn't have had to worry about dealing out their own justice, and the issues have since snowballed out of control.
Now, the NHL has stepped in a week late, and it's working too hard to clean up the mess it could have prevented in the first place. Expect more whistles and tighter calls, as the officials try to reign in the rougher play.
The NHL's disciplinarians disappeared last week. Because of that, they're trying to take over the spotlight midway through the Stanley Cup Final, and that's no way to determine a champion.
Is the NHL at fault for the series getting out of hand? Leave your thoughts below.
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