“He bit me,” said Tampa’s Victor Hedman after a scrum with Chicago’s Andrew Shaw.
Late in the first period of Game 1, Hedman shoved Chicago forward Patrick Kane into the boards after a whistle. Shaw took offense and went after the hulking blueliner right in front of referee Kevin Pollock. Hedman put Shaw in a headlock with his left arm, which is when the alleged bite occurred. The Lightning defenseman pulled up his jersey to show the medical trainer once he was back at the bench.
After the game, Hedman was asked if Shaw had, in fact, taken a bite out of the blueliner. “It felt like it,” said Hedman. “I have a little bruise, so maybe.”
“Maybe?” said retired NHLer Jim Peplinski, in response to Hedman’s comments. “If you’ve been bitten, you know it. It is a unique feeling. Getting bit, it zaps you good. Anybody that’s played hockey has had some pain in their life. But this is different. It’s bad. It hurts. It’s a good way to get anybody’s attention. Ask Mike Tyson.”
The next day, Hedman was done talking.
“Everyone who watched [the video] could see what I said,” Hedman told reporters on Friday. “If you saw that, I don’t have to say anymore. Things happen during games. I’ll leave it at that.”
Yes, things do happen. Biting, though, shouldn’t be one of them.
The league was also content with dropping the issue. The league reviewed the situation and will not be issuing a suspension nor fine.
The NHL's Department of Player Safety was aware of the Shaw biting allegation and reviewed video of it during the game, per NHL spokesman.
— Mike Halford (@HalfordPHT) June 4, 2015
This is not the first bite in Stanley Cup Finals history. One needs only go back to 2011 to find Vancouver’s Alex Burrows baring his teeth against Boston’s Patrice Bergeron. The reported chomp also occurred in Game 1 of that series.
UPDATED: One of our readers passed along an SB Nation article that chronicles the past 30 years in NHL biting. A great, if slightly dentally disturbing, look back…