The Vancouver Canucks are a strong, gritty, tough playing hockey team that can score, fight, hit, and dominate their opponents for long stretches of a game. In their Stanley Cup Final series against the Bruins some fans, media, and opposing NHL players have labeled the Vancouver Canucks are a dirty hockey team full of thugs, and classless players. The Vancouver Canucks don’t seem bothered or fazed by these comments because they’re focuses on winning a Stanley Cup. However the question remains are the Vancouver Canucks a dirty hockey team…. Why have the Canucks garnered so much criticism and backlash during the first three games of the finals. Could it have something to do with Alex Burrows finger bite on Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron, or maybe it has something to do with Aaron Rome and his crushing late hit on an unsuspecting Nathan Horton. Let’s see what all the fuss is about before deciding if the Vancouver Canucks are as dirty as a public toilet.
Fingergate seems to be an on-going epidemic in the Stanley Cup Finals. In game 1 Alex Burrows decided that he had nothing better to do than chomp down on Patrice Bergeron’s finger, and in-game 2 Maxim Lapierre tried to see if Patrice Bergeron was hungary for a nice smelly, sweaty gloved finger. In game 3 the Boston Bruins were serving up finger food for the Vancouver Canucks. Milan Lucic made a very determined effort to guide his fingers into Alex Burrows mouth without any success. Earlier in the game Mark Recchi attempted to see if Maxim Lapierre had an appetite for his finger. All of this could have easily been avoided if the NHL has suspended Alex Burrows for his initial finger faux pas. However newly appointed NHL disciplinarian and Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy decided against punishing Alex Burrows because he could not find any conclusive evidence that Alex Burrows intentionally bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron. It’s unknown what planet Mike Murphy is from, but if you scroll up and check out the above video/image you can clearly see for yourself that Mr. Alex Burrows is guilty of finger biting Patrice Bergeron. If the NHL had suspended Burrows for a game or two this series would be completely different. The Boston Bruins would be leading the series 2-1 with a chance to take a stranglehold on the series tonight on home ice. You also would not have seen Maxim Lapierre, Mark Recchi, Milan Lucic or anyone other player engaging in any offers to bite fingers. Mark Recchi, Milan Lucic, and Maxim Lapierre all offered up their fingers for a chomping session but nobody is labelling them. If you call Alex Burrows classless, and a dirty player you have to call every other player that does that the same thing. Critics will say Burrows is the only one of those four players that actually followed through on a bit. Yes that is true but nothing like this has ever happened in a Stanley Cup Final game. The NHL had no previous stance on finger biting in a Stanley Cup Final game. Mike Murphy has now informed both the Bruins, and Canucks that the next player who wags his finger in a scrum will get penalty, and a 10 minute game misconduct. This should put fingergate to bed.
Rome was not built-in a single day but it still conquers and can deliver punishing hits. Aaron Rome the 6th defenseman on the Vancouver Canucks depth chart came across his own blue line and laid out Boston Bruins star forward Nathan Horton at 1457 of the first period on Monday night. The hit was late and targeted Horton’s head. Horton had already passed the puck to linemate Milan Lucic before unknowingly getting rocked. Horton had his head down but that is no excuse for him getting knocked out. Nathan Horton suffered a severe concussion and will no longer be participating in the Stanley Cup Finals. Aaron Rome received a 5-minute interference penalty and a game misconduct. The Canucks killed off the penalty before unravelling and falling apart in the second, and third period. Tonight Aaron Rome will start severing a 4 game suspension handed down by the Mike Murphy. Rome will not play in another NHL game until September. Canucks fans think the suspension is too long, Bruins fans say it’s too short. If you listen to Boston sports station Weei the fans calling in want blood. They want the Sedins and other Canucks players leaving on a stretcher just like Horton. This is not a series that awards the Stanley Cup based on biggest body count total. Aaron Rome is not a dirty, cheap hockey player. He has no history of being suspended and he does not have a reputation for throwing cheap shots. Aaron Rome himself was the victim of a check from behind in the third game of the San Jose Sharks series. Rome missed the final two games of that series. Jamie McGinn of San Jose was kicked out of game 3 but not suspended for crushing Rome from behind.
The Bruins played terrific, outstanding, and phenomenal after Horton went down. That’s the way the Bruins have to play. They can’t go around looking for revenge the way the tough Boston Bruin fans want them to. If they want to hurt Aaron Rome, and the Vancouver Canucks they need to run them right out of the TD Banknorth Garden like they did on Monday. The Vancouver Canucks will gladly take this trade-off. Having Horton watching from the sidelines means one less weapon for the Bruins. Aaron Rome can easily be replaced in the Canucks lineup. Aaron Rome has drawn criticism all season long from Vancouver Canuck fans. He’s not strong on offense or defense. He doesn’t score, fight, make a great first pass, or skate well. Aaron Rome is not a player the Vancouver Canucks will miss. Vancouver Coach Alain Vigneault will have to turn to the highly paid Keith Ballard to fill in. Chris Tanev may also play Defense in favour of Andrew Alberts.
Are the Vancouver Canucks a dirty hockey team? That depends on who you ask. A hockey fan in Brookline will have a different answer than a hockey fan in Kitsilano. It’s up to you to decide on what you think is dirty, cheap, or just part of the game. One thing all hockey fans can agree on is this series has been far from boring. It doesn’t matter if fans or media of both teams can’t agree, the point is we are all talking about what’s happening and that’s good for the game.