The first game of most Stanley Cup finals series usually requires a period of time for the two teams to “get to know each other” since the two conference representatives rarely meet. (That might change next season though, as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman vaguely referred to a “more balanced schedule” for the 2011-12 campaign during his press conference tonight.)
It doesn’t seem like the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks needed much flirtation before things got dirty, as the first period was wide open, physical and testy. Interim head of discipline* Mike Murphy won’t need to wait more than a game to face his first important decision of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, either.
Canucks power forward Alex Burrows bickered with Bruins two-way center Patrice Bergeron as time expired in the first period, receiving two roughing penalties to Bergeron’s single minor. Leaving his team shorthanded wasn’t Burrows’ worst mistake, though, as he clearly landed a bite on Bergeron’s hand during the skirmish. (Go ahead, get your Mike Tyson jokes out of the way right now.)
There have been times when a player seemingly got away with such an action when there wasn’t clear video evidence of some chomping. As you can see from the video below, it’s pretty obvious Burrows learned what Bergeron’s glove tastes like, though. Jarkko Ruutu received a two-game suspension for biting Andrew Peters during a 2009 regular season altercation, so my guess is that Burrows could be in line for a one-game punishment since this is the playoffs.
As you’ve surely learned from almost any Internet hockey humorist, it’s rarely safe to assume anything but chaos from the league’s decision making process. Feel free to debate what kind of punishment (if any?) Burrows deserves for the bite. Naturally, we’ll keep you up to date whenever the NHL addresses this memorable gaffe.
* – Brendan Shanahan will eventually take over Colin Campbell’s recently vacated job, but Murphy will ease the transition by making the choices in this round.