The Vancouver Canucks are representing Canada in the Stanley Cup finals. They are the first team to make it to the finals since the Ottawa Senators lost to the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 and the last Canadian team to win it all was Montreal Canadians in 1993. Given how the Canucks have presented themselves is Canada proud? Are the Vancouver Canucks Canada's team, or Canada's shame?
One of the biggest story lines paralleling this series is Alex Burrows bite on Patrice Bergeron. Burrows took a bite on the finger of Bergeron in a post play scrum after Bergeron gave a little face wash to Burrows. The incident was surprisingly not suspended because it was ruled inconclusive. It was inconclusive because Burrows used his free hand to cover his mouth. This act may have allowed him to escape a disciplinary suspension but for some, it showed Burrows true colors. He may have bit in the heat of the moment. Perhaps it was a spontaneous reaction. But the act of concealing the bite shows he knew what he was doing, had time to think about it and recognize it was very wrong. Did it any way and successfully concealed the action.
Since the league failed to act the incident has carried on as in post play scrums players are taunting opponents to bit their fingers. Several times we have seen this taunt from players on both teams from the likes of Maxim Lapierre, Milan Lucic and Mark Recchi. Even Burrows had the gaul to tempt Bergeron to bite his fingers. A very classless move.
What makes the lack of suspension from the game one bite even worse is Burrows scored two goals in game two, including the game winner.
Diving is a problem in many sports including soccer and hockey. While every team has a guy who feels the need to embellish in an effort to draw a penalty it seems the entire Vancouver team has gone to acting lessons and perfected the "head snap" maneuver. Lead by the expert in goal Roberto Luongo, who spends as much time making saves as he does reacting to phantom hits and injuries.
Burrows embellished a hit in a game versus the Nashville Predators on December 8 and drew a penalty. Since then he claimed referee Stephane Auger had a personal grudge against him. Perhaps it is not a grudge, but rather a reputation as a diver.
Game three of the finals was a volatile match emphasized by Aaron Rome's hit on Nathan Horton. Was it a dirty hit? Was it a late hit? The NHL would say yes and subsequently suspended Rome for four games, the remainder of the finals. Horton suffered a severe concussion on the hit and the team announced he will miss the remainder of the playoffs and his career may be in jeopardy.
Raffi Torres had a similar hit in the first round versus the Chicago Blackhawks when he hit a vulnerable Brent Seabrook. That was Torres first game back after returning from a four game suspension for a hit to the head of Jordan Eberle.
Is Torres a head hunter? You be the judge.
During the Stanley Cup playoffs the Canucks have demonstrated a lot of speed, and skill, but very little class. Perhaps the team Canadians should be cheering for is the team that has the most Canadians on it.
Pete Harling is and always has been passionate about hockey. He loves to watch it, play it but what he loves the most is fantasy hockey. Email Coach Harling at [email protected].