It seems that no-one really wants to comment on Burrows and the Pond Hockey League incident, on advice from lawyers and all that. Here at Bleacher Report, as fans, we have no such restrictions.
So, let me take a shot at it.
Knowing how Burrows plays from watching him in Vancouver, I have no doubt that he was just trying to win. Even in a 4-4 Pond Hockey League where he is probably the biggest star now, where he is just playing to stay in shape somewhere close to his Montreal home.
Burrows played for a ball hockey team until he grew too big for that league, he was being targeted by guys trying to make a name on his back. People running him in a "no hitting" league. Dirty plays in the corners and in front of the net. Hockey is indeed an intense game, "no hitting" or not.
This has the definite scent of the same sort of thing: "The 19 year old goalie Koray Celik would not comment about the incident on the advice of lawyers" (according to TSN and RDS)
Tells you where this is headed.
What do I think happened? Well, from reading all over the Net on this one, there seems to be some assertion that the goalie had been spearing Burrows repeatedly throughout the game. Knowing how he plays in the NHL, I am sure he would not have let that stand, and lost his temper.
Alex Burrows is the type of player that drives the net, and scores in close. This would rile most goalies. That it riled a 19-year-old college goalie from the University of Southern Maine is understandable. This is not to absolve Burrows completely either—he should not have struck the young man.
But really, let's use some common sense with the info we have. The police were called, but no charge was filed.
That would seem to lend some credence to the assertion that there may have been some mitigating factors. Perhaps the local police are familiar with "hockey incidents" like this. They may have quickly figured out it was more a "tit for tat" incident rather than an unprovoked attack.
I would tend to believe the assertion that this wasn't just Burrows going off on a young guy like that. He is an intense player, but not a dirty one (though I am sure he is to Hawks fans for the rest of his career!).
I have a feeling that when there are no charges filed, we may hear of a civil suit from this goalie. Sadly, in today's sport culture, where everyone knows to the penny the salary an athlete earns every year, there will be occasions where an incident gets blown out of proportion for what it truly is. An on-ice confrontation between Mr. Celik and Joe Six Pack would have a very different conclusion...
And far less press.