Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Updated: June 2, 12:46 PM ET
Alex Burrows seemed to bite Bergeron
By James Murphy
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- At the end of the first period of the Boston Bruins' 1-0 loss in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, the usually calm and collected Patrice Bergeron was going after Vancouver Canucks forward Alex Burrows, screaming at him and having to be restrained by the referees. Following the second period, Bergeron told Hockey Night In Canada analyst Elliotte Friedman the reason he lost his cool was that Burrows had bitten his finger in a scrum.
"He bit me," Bergeron said.
Burrows denied it, but could still face discipline from the NHL after replays appeared to show him bite Bergeron's finger during a melee at the end of the first period.
"I don't mind rough play and scrums at the end, as long as it's just pushing and shoving and all that," Bergeron said following the game. "But biting? I mean come on."
Wearing a bandage on his left index finger, Bergeron was adamant that Burrows bit his finger.
In a game with an unexpected amount of edge between teams that meet once a season, Burrows and Bergeron were in the middle of a big scrum behind the Boston net at the end of the first period. That's when Bergeron says Burrows bit down as he reached over a linesman to put his glove in Burrows' face.
"Oh yeah, he did," Bergeron said. "He cut me a little bit on my finger, but I'm not going to complain about it. I'll let the league do their job, but he sure did."
Bergeron, who played mostly against the Canucks' top line, went straight to the referees after holding up his injured finger. Apparently the referees didn't see the act, but Bergeron said that both the referees and Burrows himself said Burrows bit Bergeron because Bergeron put his hand in Burrows' mouth.
"He said that I put my finger in his mouth and 'What else do you want me to do?' That's what he said," Bergeron said. "(The referees) didn't see it, but we were speaking French and I (asked Burrows) why did he do that. That linesman speaks French, and he said that (Burrows') explanation was that (I) put my finger in his mouth and he had to do it."
In the Canucks' dressing room, Burrows -- who grew agitated with the questions surrounding the incident, eventually saying "next question" and ending his media scrum after that -- was singing a different tune.
I don't mind rough play and scrums at the end, as long as it's just pushing and shoving and all that. But biting? I mean come on.
-- Bruins' Patrice Bergeron
Burrows, who received a double minor for roughing -- Bergeron only got one minor penalty for roughing -- denied biting Bergeron.
"We were battling, we had a little exchange there and I'm not going to say too much about it," Burrows said. "Obviously I got four minutes on the play and we killed it off. Our guys did a good job killing it off."
Burrows was then told that Bergeron claimed he bit him, and Burrows denied it again.
"I don't think so," Burrows said. "He had his finger in my mouth but I don't think I bit him. You saw it, he put his hand up and he put his hand in my face and his finger got in my mouth, so that's what happened."
The Canucks also lost defenseman Dan Hamhuis with an apparent leg injury early in the second period. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said after the game Hamhuis is day-to-day, but didn't give specifics of the injury.
The NHL's history on biting incidents includes suspending former Canucks agitator Jarkko Ruutu, then with Ottawa, for two games for clamping down on Buffalo's Andrew Peters in January 2009.
Bruins forward Marc Savard, who isn't playing in this series because of a concussion, also got one game after biting Toronto forward Darcy Tucker in 2003, but Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell escaped a suspension early last season because of lack of evidence on an alleged bite of Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang after both players fell to the ice in a scrum.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said during his postgame news conference that he hadn't see the replay yet, but while he tried to mince his words, he made it known what he thought of such an act if it was in fact true.
"I haven't seen it, to be honest with you," Julien said. "I haven't had time to look at that stuff right now. I'm going by what Patrice told me. Obviously there was something that happened. I guess I'll save my comments for after I see it. But if that's the case, it's a classless move, not something players should be doing at this level anyway."
Burrows, once known as a yappy agitator, has refined his role on the top line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, increasing his scoring and cutting down on his penalty minutes. He had seven goals and 14 points in the playoffs -- fourth on the Canucks in scoring -- and only six penalty minutes going into Game 1.
Mike Murphy, the NHL's senior vice president of hockey operations, will handle any supplemental discipline. Colin Campbell, who before the game resigned his position as chief disciplinarian for next season, does not handle any league discipline issues involving the Bruins because his son, Gregory Campbell, plays for Boston.
Hamhuis left four minutes into the second period after throwing a low hit that sent Boston forward Milan Lucic head over heels in the air. Hamhuis dropped immediately to the ice after appearing to take Lucic's knee in the midsection, and took a couple of shots from Bruins forward David Krejci, who was penalized for cross-checking, as a scrum broke out around him.
Hamhuis, who anchors Vancouver's shutdown pairing with Kevin Bieksa, was hunched over as he skated to the bench, and hobbled to the locker room after crawling over the bench. Hamhuis has a goal and five assists and is plus-5 while averaging almost 26 minutes of ice time -- most against the opposition's top forwards -- during Vancouver's first run to the Cup finals in 17 years.
"Going down to five D midway through the second, with the intensity that was out there, was obviously taxing on our group," Vigneault said. "I thought the five guys that handled the workload did a real good job of sharing the time. I thought our best period was our third period. We were down to five D at that time."
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
|Alex Burrows and Patrice Bergeron got into a scrap in Game 1 where Burrows, left, appeared to bite the finger of Bergeron, right.|