NHL Decides Not to Suspend Alexandre Burrows: Did the League Get It Right?

Franklin SteeleAnalyst IIJune 3, 2011

Alex Burrows gives a face wash to Jarret Stoll, who clearly was taught not to bite as a child.
Alex Burrows gives a face wash to Jarret Stoll, who clearly was taught not to bite as a child.Rich Lam/Getty Images

Mike Murphy is certainly upholding the NHL's standard of additional discipline that was set by Colin Cambell. 

In that it doesn't make any damn sense.

This is a bite.  Plain and simple.  And I really don't see how there is any question of that.  Alexandre Burrows holds Patrice Bergeron's hand in his mouth, and clearly chomps down.

The fact that this happened on NBC in the highest rated playoff game since 1994 only makes it worse.  That this is what a new viewer thinks is a hockey play.  It isn't a hockey play, and it's actually kind of gross.

There are people saying that Bergeron had it coming because he stuck his fingers in the mouth of Burrows.  That argument is ludicrous and I wonder if those folks are watching the clip through blue and green colored glasses.  A dozen faze washes happen in every hockey game, and most players are content to just turn their heads.

But not Burrows.  Nah, he just bites instead.

This isn't pro-wrestling.  This is hockey.  (in fact I don't think they are allowed to bite in the WWE either.)  What Burrows did transcends just another discussion of if this is a suspend-able offense.  This is nothing but an intent to injure another player. 

Another statement that seems to be a popular one used when defending Burrows is that Bergeron embellished the bite, or wasn't even bitten at all.

I'm sorry, but Bergeron isn't the kind of guy who would embellish something like this, or, as the NHL seems to think, just make it up outright.  This isn't Sean Avery or Matt Cooke diving or acting.  It's a classy player getting chomped on like a value meal chicken finger.

Biting has no other purpose on the ice than to hurt someone.  This isn't an attempt at agitation—that's what the face washes were for.  This was Burrows losing control, and now is getting away with it.

In his brief statement issued on Wednesday, Murphy offered the following: 

"After reviewing the incident, including speaking with the on-ice officials, I can find no conclusive evidence that Alex Burrows intentionally bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron."

He couldn't find any conclusive evidence?  He must not have watched the tape at all then, because it is plenty conclusive.  That would be like watching a particular Paris Hilton video and saying that there is no evidence that she is a...  well, you get the point.

Sure the bite happened on a gloved hand, but I really don't think that's important.  Burrows broke a rule that we all learn when we are five.  And then laughed afterwards.

It's ridiculous that he did this, and even more so that the League again failed to hold its players to any kind of standard or to protect them.  Maybe I should be used to this by now, but every time a player makes a boneheaded move like this I hope the League gets it right.

It's a good thing I'm not holding my breath.