The Vancouver Canucks don’t understand the big fuss about a little bite. Neither did the NHL.
Vancouver forward Alex Burrows avoided a suspension in the Stanley Cup finals Thursday when the NHL decided it couldn’t prove he bit the finger of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron during the Canucks’ series-opening 1-0 victory.
”That’s how French guys say hello to one another,” joked Alexandre Bolduc, who centered the Canucks’ fourth line in Game 1. ”You want to show respect, you put your fingers in someone’s mouth.”
Daniel and Henrik Sedin also laughed about such a silly incident involving their linemate early in what’s shaping up as a gritty, goalie-dominated series heading into Game 2 on Saturday night. Roberto Luongo shut out the Bruins with 36 saves, and Boston’s Tim Thomas matched him until Raffi Torres scored with 18.5 seconds to play.
Both teams realize they’ve got bigger issues than the after-the-whistle shenanigans that happen constantly in the NHL, but particularly under playoff intensity.
”I’m over it,” Bergeron said Thursday after the Bruins’ light practice. ”I’m looking forward to the next game. We’ve got to get back in the series. Like I said last night, it’s the league’s decision, and I’ve got to let them make it. … I don’t want to whine about that stuff. I don’t care.”
After the game, Bergeron declared Burrows had bitten him while they scuffled after the first-period buzzer, even showing his bandaged right index finger and saying he planned to take antibiotics.
In the television replay that seemingly played on an infinite loop in Vancouver’s bars and restaurants Wednesday night, Bergeron’s gloved right index finger sure appeared to go into Burrows’ mouth. Bergeron claimed Burrows then bit down on him, but Burrows denied it.
Bergeron scoffed at the notion he had deliberately put his finger in Burrows’ mouth. Both players had their gloves in the other’s face at different points of the scuffle.
”We were both facewashing each other, and I didn’t need to put my finger in his mouth,” Bergeron said. ”Why would I do that?”