As a Blackhawks fan my grudge against the Vancouver Canucks started to become overshadowed by the reality that Vancouver is most likely going to be the team hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup at the end of the 2011 playoffs. But before my grudge was completely overshadowed Alex Burrows, the Vancouver forward who ended the ‘Hawks’ 2011 season, went Mike Tyson on Patrice Bergeron’s hand during a scrum in Game 1 of this year’s Stanley Cup Finals.
Burrows’ bite was inexcusable, however, NHL’s newly appointed chief disciplinarian, Brendan Shanahan did not feel as if there was conclusive evidence in order to suspended Burrows. We may never know what the outcome may have been if this action occurred in a regular season game, but Shanahan’s decision not to suspend Burrows may effect the Stanley Cup’s outcome as much as it may have effected it if Burrows was suspended.
Don’t forget that Alex Burrows is the Canuck that was pulling Blackhawks’ defender Duncan Keith’s hair in the line brawl during the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals. First, hair-pulling and now biting. What’s next for Burrows? Kicking? Let’s hope not. Those skates are sharp. This is hockey not a cat fight.
Vancouver went on to win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and Burrows was active for Game 2. He proceeded to score two goals for the Canucks including the game winner in OT. Burrows is tied with Daniel Sedin for a team high nine postseason goals during this year’s campaign for the Stanley Cup.
Burrows is not the only Canuck who has scored a game winner in the 2011 Stanley Cup, as well as face controversy for, what some believe to be, dirty play during the playoffs. Raffi Torres scored the game winning goal in Game 1 for the Canucks with just 18 seconds remaining in the third period. He also faced heat for a hit-to-the-head on Blackhawks’ blueliner Brent Seabrook in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Torres is no stranger to controversy. He committed the hit on Seabrook, which was deemed legal, in his first game back from suspension after blind-siding Edmonton Oiler’s Jordan Eberle with an elbow on April 5. Torres missed the remaining two regular season games and first two postseason games against the Blackhawks for the Canucks.
The Canucks went on to bounce Chicago from the playoffs in seven hard-fought games before, ironically, Alex Burrows intercepted a pass from Chicago’s blueliner Chris Campoli. Burrows proceeded to slap a knuckling puck over the shoulder of Hawks’ rookie netminder Corey Crawford.
If you thought the Canucks were classless after they celebrated a Western Conference Quartfinals victory like they had won the Stanley Cup then you wouldn’t be surprised when you found out that Vancouver fans were burning Chicago Blackhawks jerseys after the series clinching victory.
Yes, the Blackhawks may have had the Canucks’ number the previous two years when the ‘Hawks knocked out Vancouver in the 2009 and ’10 Western Conference Semifinals, but that’s the nature of the game. That is why we, as fans, love sports, and that is why the players continue to compete.
Before the Stanley Cup began I tweeted that the Canucks would win in six games. I still stand by this prediction, but I would not be surprised if the series was over in five. Being that it is the Stanley Cup I don’t expect a sweep to occur.
If Vancouver ends up hoisting the Cup after all is said and done that will be Canada’s first Stanley Cup since Montreal won it in 1993, and it would be the first Stanley Cup for the Vancouver organization.
Keep it classy, Vancouver.