The NHL has ruled on the first major controversy of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final with its typical mix of political whimsy and baffling explanation. From the league on Thursday afternoon:
Let's go to the video tape ...
Here's the video of the incident that you may have seen on NBC roughly 82 times during Game 1 between the Canucks and the Boston Bruins:
Is the fact that Burrows blocked the bite with his glove providing cover here for Murphy, who ruled on this one because Colin Campbell has a son who plays for the Boston Bruins?
The NHL felt the Game 1 video was inconclusive. The on-ice officials didn't see a bite and, we imagine, were unmoved by Bergeron's alleged injury. None of this accounts for Bergeron's reaction following the incident, which seemed rather honest at the time. Which can only mean one thing:
Patrice Bergeron, of the 337 career penalty minutes, is a criminal genius, having stuck his glove in Burrows' mouth and later pretended to have been bitten in a dog-and-pony show for the officials; with the anticipation that Burrows, unpopular with league brass, would be framed for biting and suspended by the league.
On second thought, maybe this is just another case in which the NHL has two different sets of rules labeled "REGULAR SEASON" and "PLAYOFFS." Yeah, that one seems more plausible.
Whether or not you personally feel this glove-biting thing is innocuous (we do), it's warranted suspensions in the past, and warranted at least a game here. Former NHL referee Dan Marouelli had this take for CBC Sports:
"I really believe that it's worth a couple of games, I really do. I think they need to draw the line and hold players accountable for these types of actions that are really detrimental to our sport. Will he get two? I'll be surprised if he does, but I wouldn't have any trouble giving him two games. That's a dangerous act. You don't go around biting people."
Silver lining: Guess Mike Murphy can no longer be called anti-Canuck.