There were plenty of penalties during Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks, a game that the latter won 1-0 to take a 1-0 series lead. Both teams combined for 28 penalty minutes over 12 power plays, but none were more controversial than the four minutes that Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows served at the end of the first period for biting Bruins center Patrice Bergeron.
As the horn sounded to end the first 20 minutes, tensions flared. Pushing and shoving then led to biting (on Burrows' end). There was plenty of conjecture after the game from all parties involved:
"Oh yeah, he did. Obviously he cut me a little bit on my finger. I'm not going to be here and complain about it. I'll let the League do its job, but he sure did...Obviously I don't mind the rough play and those scrums at the end as long as it is just pushing and shoving and all that. But biting? I mean, c'mon,"
"We were battling, we had a little exchange. I'm not going to say too much about it. Obviously I got four minutes on the play...I don't think so. He had his finger in my mouth, but I don't think I bit him."
Bruins head coach Claude Julien:
"I haven't seen it, to be honest with you. 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."
NBC/Versus analyst Keith Jones calls Burrows' actions a "suspendable offense" and he has a point, considering that biting has been the cause of plenty of suspensions in the past. In 2009, the NHL suspended then-Ottawa Senator Jarkko Ruutu for two games for biting then-Buffalo Sabre Andrew Peters during a regular season game. Yet, last season, the league did not suspend Philadelphia Flyers pest Scott Hartnell after he allegedly bit Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang after a lack of visual evidence.
Yet, it is clear that Burrows, who Jones points out is a repeat offender, bit Bergeron. Losing Burrows at all would be a huge loss for the Canucks, who count on him to provide the grit on the first line with Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Either way, Burrows will be the center of some biting criticism for the next few days.
(H/T to Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski for the video)