Playing with fire
In light of this Burrows/Auger incident, upon reviewing it all, I think you’d be hard pressed to find Burrows wrong. The video evidence of what Auger did before the game and the blatantly weak calls as well as a history of very poor officiating makes this yet another controversy the Canucks find themselves in the thick of. Now homer bias aside, I think the overwhelming response from any and everyone with an understanding of the game (at least as seen on Twitter since last night) including Nashville fans who’s team won the game last night, is a good enough sign the league should do something about this issue. We saw them give Toronto a slap on the wrist without so much as looking into the issue, hopefully things are different this time around. Burrows isn’t the type of player to make a big deal just for the attention. He’s not Sean Avery, he’s not Chris Pronger, he’s not that type of player.
With that in mind what’s worrying me about the issue is the fact Burrows in all likelihood is going to get a suspension from all this. The winger who’s entire career has been a surprise is on pace for a career high 34 goals and over 60 points this season. He is playing the best hockey of his life and all it takes is someone or something to throw a wrench in the cogs and this high powered Canucks offense comes grinding to a very quick halt. Trust something like this to defuse the Canucks and the chemistry they’ve got going.
We still have to wait for all of this to pan out, but with the Canucks top line clicking right now it would be unfortunate for the incompetency of a league appointed official to affect a team in the long run. With Auger’s poor officiating, the turning of the game from a 5 on 4 in the Canucks favour to a 4 on 3 in the Predators’ favour in a matter of seconds last night it couldn’t have been more clear that the officiating was suspect. You’d be hard pressed to convince me that the top two goal getters on the Canucks last night were also the two most heavily penalized players in the game last night by coincidence. Henrik and Burrows only had point each last night and the fact that Henrik was in the box on three separate occasions on suspect calls is cause for concern. Not cause for concern because our top scorer is in the box. I’m all for penalize a player if it is due. However for a player who going into last night had 28 PIMs in 44 games to take 6 PIMs in one game without a fighting major or a double minor raises eyebrows to me.
To put it into further perspective, Henrik had 6 penalty minutes last night. Prior to last night he had 6 PIMs in his last 15 games. You do the math. It’s a tight Western Conference and the referees cost the Canucks 3rd place in the West last night dropping them to 7th overall. The conference is tighter than I have ever seen it and at the end of the season, should the Canucks be out of the playoffs by one or two points, or lose a tie break, this could very well be the game that could have changed everything. Again, at the end of the night this is not something I’m bitter about because of being a Canucks fan. The fact that so many people league wide support Burrows is testament to the fact that this is bigger than being bitter over a couple of lost points. I’m worried about the integrity of a league in which we play in if referees are allowed to get away with this.