VANCOUVER – Vancouver Canucks forward Alex Burrows will not be suspended for allegedly biting the finger of Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final.
“After reviewing the incident, including speaking with the on-ice officials, I can find no conclusive evidence that Alex Burrows intentionally bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron,” NHL senior vice-president of hockey operations Mike Murphy said in a release Thursday.
The incident happened during a scrum Wednesday at the end of the first period of Vancouver’s 1-0 win. The scrappy Burrows was involved in a shoving match with Bergeron behind the Boston net.
Television replays appear to show Burrows biting on Bergeron’s finger as the Boston centre reaches over a linesman to rub his glove in the Canuck player’s face.
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault says he was never worried about losing Burrows.
“I didn’t play a lot of attention,” he said. “Nobody talked to me from management or the league today.”
Bergeron shrugged off the league’s decision.
“I’m over it,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the next game.
“It’s the league’s decision. I have nothing else to say about it. He did it, but I’m over it.”
Burrows was not available for comment Thursday, but denied biting Bergeron after Game 1.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series goes Saturday in Vancouver.
Burrows, a six-foot-one, 199-pound native of Pincourt, Que., used to have the reputation as an agitating player who liked to yap after the whistle. He’s toned his act down this year and played most of the season on Vancouver’s top line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
“He brings a lot to our line,” Henrik Sedin said. “He’s good on the forecheck check, he turns a lot of pucks over for us.
“He knows where to go. He finds those spots he can get shots away. We’re excited to play with him.”
In 19 playoff games, Burrows has eight goals and eight assists. His biggest goal came in overtime of Game 7 of Vancouver’s opening round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Vigneault, who was known as a hardnosed defenceman during his 42 games with the St. Louis Blues, was asked if he remembered any strange incidents during scrums while playing in the NHL.
“Back then you didn’t have a lot of scrums after the whistle,” Vigneault said with a grin. “If something was going to happen, there was going to be a fight.
“There wasn’t a lot of pushing or shoving. It was either ‘Let’s go’ or guys went back to their benches.”