Vancouver’s Alex Burrows won’t be suspended for his hit on Nashville Predators forward Paul Gaustad, per TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.
The hit happened at 16:06 of the third period during Tuesday night’s game in Nashville. Referees Marc Joannette and Francois St. Laurent initially made no call on the play. With Gaustad motionless on the ice, the officials blew the play dead. After huddling with linesmen Scott Cherrey and Steve Miller, Burrows was given a major for interference and a game misconduct.
Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa was also hit with a 10-minute misconduct by referee Francois St. Laurent for chirpring Gaustad while he was down.
“You’re always worried [about being suspended],” Burrows said after the game. “But it’s not for me to judge or forecast what’s going to happen. I’ll let the people who are in charge make the call and we’ll go from there.”
“We did collide. My intentions weren’t to hurt him or anything. It’s a tough call. It’s not up to me really to judge if I thought it was a penalty. When they told me it was a five [minute major], I was pretty surprise. I was upset a little bit about it.”
Vancouver general manager Jim Benning defended the hit by Burrows.
“Gaustad just turned into him,” said Benning. “[Burrows] was just skating up ice and Gaustad just kind of turned back and didn’t see him.”
“We’ll let the league do what they do,” said Vancouver’s Nick Bonino. “[Burrows] was just hit viciously into the boards a few games ago and nothing happened there, so we’ll see what happens here.”
Burrows’ History With Officials
The Vancouver Sun took a look at the storied history between Burrows at the league’s officials:
Although replays indicated Gaustad, head turned back toward the Canuck zone, veered slightly left into Burrows’ path, there was concern around the team that the Canuck will be suspended.
After all, there has been a double-standard of officiating regarding Burrows since the Canuck was suspended by the NHL five years ago for claiming publicly that referee Stephane Auger, since dropped by the league, carried out a vendetta against him.
Burrows has rarely received the benefit of the doubt since then. Two weekends ago, the NHL chose not to suspend Los Angeles King Tyler Toffoli for cross-checking Burrows headfirst into the boards. One day later, Arizona Coyote defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was not even penalized for failing in his attempt to decapitate Burrows with the butt end of his stick.
Charlie Manson would get more protection from NHL officials than what Burrows has had the last five years.
Gaustad did not return to the game. He’s currently being evaluated, with an update expected in the new few days.
“The refs made the right call,” said Preds center Mike Fisher. “That was a cheap shot. Hopefully Paul is going to be okay. That’s the main thing.”
Perhaps the league agreed, determining that the major penalty was enough. In any case, Burrows will avoid further discipline for the hit.