Skip to content

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

Jun 2, 2011, 3:00 PM EDT

Alex Burrows; Patrice Bergeron; AP

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:

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

  1. hystoracle - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Fair enough. Burrows needs to be an agitator in the next game. Use this to get Boston;s dander up and take bad penalties. Give Vancouver more chances with the man advantage.

    I would expect a better flow to the next game. Looked like the days off and the jitters got to both teams. The goalies were on but the skaters were all just a bit off. Maybe a feeling out of each other kind of game. Expect game 2 to be more explosive, more goals.

    • hystoracle - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:33 PM

      I wasn’t completely shocked at no suspension. However Mr. Murphy’s quote explains why the Bruins got away with so much during the season. Did he watch the same video we’ve seen? What more evidence do you want? Who did you talk to?

      Shanahan can’t take over this job soon enough. The discipline handed out in this league is a joke. completely inconsistent and defies all common sense and logic.

      • tommytd - Jun 2, 2011 at 8:07 PM

        Shouldn’t surprise anybody and I totally agree with you and this is why guys still get away with nonsense…it’s 50/50 you’ll get nailed. Discipline in the NHL is a JOKE.

  2. whatareuon - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Intersesting, you ppl do know, I hope, that if u can get a finger into a mouth and push down on the tongue u can control the head enuff to break a neck. If you are in a fight and someone puts their finger in your mouth you are an idiot if you do not bite them. I certainly would, also the referees position shows the aggression after he intervened was from the Boston player as the cannuck was against the boards.

  3. jd - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Can this story please go away?

    The though of my teeth biting a glove that hard gives me chills like nails on a chalkboard.

  4. spiffy53 - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    On another note, the Vancouver Canucks have been awarded the Greg Louganis lifetime achievement award.

    • hystoracle - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:34 PM

      given to them by the current award holder – the Boston Bruins. the Bruns could teach a class on diving. I think they actually have a youth camp scheduled later this summer dedicated to the subject.

      • mgp1219 - Jun 2, 2011 at 4:50 PM


    • spiffy53 - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:42 PM

      FYI, Ehrhoff has been checked and he did not suffer a gunshot wound. although it looked like it, he is ok in case anyone was concerned.

      • mgp1219 - Jun 2, 2011 at 4:52 PM

        same with sedin (couldn’t decipher which one) after Ference pushed him.

      • jpelle82 - Jun 2, 2011 at 6:08 PM

        he got hit on the side of the helmet with that high stick and blew up like he fell on a frag grenade…i was laughing my ass off. the henrik flop was typical henrik garbage though

  5. grudenthediva - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    “In other words, the general rule about the league’s supplementary discipline applies here: you just never know what the NHL will do”

    Unless it involves Boston, of course. Then it’s pretty damned predictable.

    • nolesshabitual - Jun 3, 2011 at 10:26 AM

      Really, they’re so in bed with the league office that there wasn’t a suspension for BITING a player… seems pretty predictable that Collie protected his son’s team here… oh, wait, you’re commenting on an article the Bruins didn’t get their way, just like oh IDK when Marc Savard lost half a year to a blindside hit.

  6. demons87 - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    As a Bruins fan I am OK with the lack of discipline, although his reasoning doesn’t jive. Savard wasn’t punished when he supposedly bit Carcillo last year, although the evidence wasn’t as clear.

    However, if he was suspended, Vancouver fans would have had added more tinfoil to their hats. I would rather have their fans get over the everyone is out to get us than the suspension.

    The Bruins will get some kind of payback. Hopefully there won’t be clear visual evidence of intent on that as well.

  7. mgp1219 - Jun 2, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    Burrows pulled Bergeron’s hand to his mouth and bit his finger!!! Take another look at the video. He hooked his left hand around the linesman’s arm and pulled, then held, Bergeron’s hand to his mouth.

    Doesn’t anyone else see that?

  8. schwanky2112 - Jun 2, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    Yummm.. People taste good !… Hockey gloves, not so much…
    We are SOYLENT GREEN !

  9. stakex - Jun 2, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    I don’tk now how you could watch the video and think he didn’t bite his hand intentionaly. I mean it seems clear as day….

    But I guess when the league wants a Canadian team to win, its easy to ignore things like this.

  10. missthemexpos - Jun 2, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Have any restaurants in Vancouver renamed their Chicken Fingers platter, Bergeron de jour?

  11. frankiefiveangels - Jun 2, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    I don’t care that the little punk Burrows didn’t get a suspension, but for the NHL to say that there was no evidence of a bite is moronic. If a Bruin had bitten one of them all you hosers would be whining about some nonsense of “East Coast bias” or “Colin Cambell bias” or some other slight from your wild imaginations. Vancouver is a very good team but their fans are nearly the insufferable morons the Pittsburgh Steeler fans are.

  12. regularjones - Jun 2, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    Maybe, he should have kept his hand away from his face/mouth!

  13. canuckdude82 - Jun 2, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    I am so happy for the Canucks to be playing the Bruins for the simple fact that your fans are as rabid as we are. the Blackhawk fans are just rude, Nashville and San Jose fans are way to nice so to be playing a team who’s fan base is as passionate as us, wow, thank god its in the finals. Feel free to troll me as much as you want but for me I hope this series goes 6 or 7 for the simple reason that there is people all over North America who are watching and enjoying these two teams facing off.

    • savoirlaire - Jun 3, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      Agree with you there and well said…now if we can only get the bitter grapes Tampa fans on here to quit bitching!

  14. svallen - Jun 6, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    Even if he was fined, he makes $2 million a year from his current contract. I don’t think he’ll have a problem forking over some cash for biting another player.


Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (2088)
  2. P. Kessel (1527)
  3. M. Richards (1340)
  4. N. Backstrom (1237)
  5. M. Giordano (1139)