Alex Burrows; Patrice Bergeron;

NHL won’t fine or suspend Alex Burrows for his bite on Patrice Bergeron

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In his first decision as the interim head disciplinarian in Colin Campbell’s place (though by no means his first decision overall*), Mike Murphy decided not to fine or suspend Alex Burrows for biting Patrice Bergeron. This comes on the heels of what seemed like strong video evidence that the Vancouver Canucks power forward bit the Boston Bruins center’s hand, although Burrows somewhat comically claimed that he didn’t actually chomp down on Bergeron’s digits.

* Murphy ruled in situations that involved Campbell’s son Gregory Campbell’s team and teams he played against in the past.

While my initial reaction was that Burrows might face a one-game suspension for the infraction, later reports indicated that a suspension or fine would be unlikely. Murphy confirmed that speculation, whether he did so because he thought the evidence was unclear or the crime was punished properly enough in the form of Burrows’ double-minor for roughing. Murphy went with the former argument in his on-the-record statement regarding the matter, at least.

“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.”

There might be some Bruins fans who will be indignant over this ruling, especially if Burrows echoes Nathan Horton’s post-water bottle throwing achievements by scoring a game-winner in Game 2. That being said, more than 42 percent of PHT voters concluded that a fine or suspension wouldn’t be necessary in this poll from earlier today.

(click to enlarge)

While I thought Burrows might receive a suspension, I’m fine with the lack of supplementary discipline. It wasn’t a particularly damaging moment; Bergeron’s play didn’t seem to suffer because of the bite. More than anything else, it made the Canucks forward look awfully silly, especially since he put the Bruins on a power play to start the second period.

It wouldn’t be surprising if word surfaces a bit later that the NHL decided to hand out a light fine to Burrows. After all, we didn’t find out that the league fined Horton for his water bottle-throwing incident until a day after Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals concluded.

In other words, the general rule about the league’s supplementary discipline applies here: you just never know what the NHL will do … only that it might not make much sense. Again, I’m fine with the decision, but it still makes you wonder if the league will ever be truly consistent with its punishments. Feel free to share your thoughts on the decision in the comments.

Here’s one last look at that Burrows bite:

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Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.