Do you blame Alex Burrows for blowing up? Not really, but now what happens? Do you think he'll get the benefit of the doubt on any calls for now on?
It is always easier to make a judgement after the fact.
Oh, if only I had done this or if only I had done that. No matter who you are, no matter what you are doing, there is going to be times where you second-guess your actions.
I have been around the game of hockey all my life. As a player professionally for fifteen years you get to see an awful lot. As a broadcaster you are not part of the action but are as close as you possibly can be without being on the ice and again you see and hear an awful lot.
The Canuck game added a new experience to my ever-expanding repertoire. Stephan Auger had a tough game. I have seen referees get caught up in one bad call leading to another, but usually they are able to stem the tide. Auger called a bad roughing penalty on Predator’s goalie Dan Ellis. This led to a bad call on Henrik Sedin for goaltender interference. In a 2-2 game in the third period he called a diving penalty against Alex Burrows. This was followed later by a faceoff interference again against Burrows. Both these calls were marginal at best.
A bad night for the referee was made into a terrible night because according to Burrows, referee Auger told him he was a target because in the previous meeting between these two teams Burrows had taken a dive and made him look bad. I have seen referees hold a grudge and make calls against certain teams and individuals, it is only human nature, but to tell the guy you are going to get him. What is that?
Auger had nothing to gain by throwing it out there but maybe it was just one of those moments. He may have been thinking, as he looked at his schedule, that he could get back at Burrows, but why put it out there beforehand.
Alex Burrows on the other hand, goes through the game with this threat hanging over his head and then it does happen. What recourse does he have? The smart thing would have been to go to his coach and general manager and tell them the whole story. There would have been little public outcry but you bet the league would have looked into the situation as seriously as they will now.
Instead, in the heat of the moment, Burrows explodes for all to see and hear about the injustice of the night. Do you blame him? Not really, but now what happens? Do you think Alex Burrows will get the benefit of the doubt on any calls? Do you think the brotherhood of referees will appreciate one of their own being publicly ridiculed? Oh if only!
The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of the Vancouver Canucks.