TEAM 1040 radio in Vancouver is reporting that Stephane Auger, assigned to referee tonight’s Blues-Canucks game at Rogers Arena, will officiate in Vancouver for the first time since the infamous Alex Burrows incident.
As a refresher, here’s what transpired between Burrows and Auger on Jan. 11, 2010:
Burrows, who scored two goals in Vancouver’s 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Monday, received a 10-minute misconduct with four seconds left in the game after complaining to Auger, who penalized the Vancouver player twice in the third period.
“After my second penalty, I skated by him, and he said, ‘If you say a word, I am going to kick you out,’ so I didn’t say a word because I still thought we could come back and win the game,” Burrows said after the game. “But with three seconds left and the faceoff outside the zone, I thought I could tell him what I thought about him.”
Burrows said Auger — an NHL official since 2000 — told him during the warm-up that Burrows made him look bad when he drew a major penalty after Predator Jerred Smithson charged him in Nashville on Dec. 8.
“It was personal. It started in warm-up before the anthem,” Burrows said. “The ref came over to me and said I made him look bad in Nashville on the Smithson hit.”
Smithson got a major penalty and a game misconduct for a charging penalty on Burrows.
“He said he was going to get me back tonight, and he did his job in the third,” Burrows said.
After an NHL investigation, Burrows was fined $2500 for his comments, Auger received no punishment and Vancouver dreamed up a billion paranoid conspiracy theories about how the man was trying to keep it down. Or, as we refer to it locally, “the usual.”
You wouldn’t believe just how long this carried on for, even though Ron MacLean of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada had a lot to do with that. He ripped Burrows quite severely on the program, so much so that Burrows’ family filed a complaint to CBC (with Burrows’ father calling it “verbal assassination.”) That gave the story roughly 14 extra weeks of shelf life.
As for tonight’s game, there are three other officials working not named Stephane Auger. They are Dan O’Halloran (referee), Don Henderson and Thor Nelson (linesmen).