January 13, 2010
Wednesday morning, we asked for additional information on the League's decision not to discipline (at least publicly) referee Stephane Auger after Burrows claimed the official targeted him and followed through with 16 penalty minutes in the Vancouver Canucks' Jan. 10 game against the Nashville Predators. For what its worth, here's the company line from NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell:
"The National Hockey League will not tolerate the personal nature of the comments Mr. Burrows directed at Referee Auger or the fact that he brought into question the integrity of both the official and the game.
"We have determined that Mr. Burrows' account of Referee Auger's comments to him before the game, and specifically Burrows' suggestion that these comments indicated bias against the player or the Vancouver team, cannot be substantiated. While Referee Auger engaged the player in a brief conversation prior to the opening face-off, I firmly believe that nothing inappropriate was said and that Referee Auger's intentions were beyond reproach."
Here's what Burrows said after the game:
There's an undeniable sincerity here that contrasts the NHL's statement on the matter. The NHL's full release -- the first time the news has appeared on NHL.com since the story broke, by the way -- transcribed Burrows' comments word for word; the fact Auger's side of the story didn't receive the same airing makes this response sadly, and ultimately, inadequate. But an end-of-the-day press release is likely the last we'll hear of this, as the NHL lifts the rug and pushes the broom.