Game Day + More on Burrows/Auger

photo – Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Alexandre Burrows learned his fate last night after his derisive comments launched at referee Stephane Auger following the game Monday against the Nashville Predators. Burrows was not suspended, but he did receive a $2500 fine from the NHL for his comments.

But that wasn’t the big news from the incident.

The big news from the incident is that the NHL has apparently closed the matter completely now. According to Darren Dreger from TSN, the NHL states that there simply isn’t enough evidence to proceed with any disciplinary action against Auger on this issue.

I hate to side with the NHL brass on any issue, but I have to agree with the decision here. There is mounting circumstantial evidence that Auger is a poor ref. He’s made bad calls, he’s missed goals, and he certainly not a favourite amongst the players. My article yesterday has some great links to support this. However, there is no evidence to corroborate what Burrows claimed. There is only video proof of Burrows and Auger speaking before the game.

Given how shaky and emotional Burrows was after the Predators game, I tend to believe him. But I have no proof. I don’t think that Burrows has any reason to lie about it. But I have no proof. The detailed that Burrows provided were specific and direct. But I have no proof. And that is exactly what the NHL said to itself last night in dealing with Auger.

The NHL does a great job of sweeping its messes under the rug. In this case, with no direct proof of any wrongdoing, it’s all they can do.

Game Day Roll Call – Canucks @ Wild

The Wild are heating up while the Canucks are cooling off. The Wild have won three in a row, while the Canucks are coming off back-to-back home losses after winning 7 out of 9 games. The Wild are fantastic at home, while the Canucks have only recently improved to average on the road.

The good news for the Canucks is that Wild are giving up a surprising number of goals this year, and the Canucks have a great record against the Wild in their last several outings. The Canucks have won 8 out of their last 10 meetings against the Wild, including their last four visits to the Twin Cities. In fact, the Canucks are a blistering 7-3 in Minnesota in their last ten trips to the State of Hockey.

But this isn’t the same Wild team they’ve faced in the past.

I predicted on Twitter following the Predators debacle that this would start a mini-slide for the Canucks. I see this Burrows incident continuing to distract the team. It will certainly throw Burrows off his game, which has been brilliant of late. I predicted a five-game losing streak, with this being the third of those five losses. Given how well the Wild are playing lately, and given how the Canucks have cooled off, and given the distraction of this Burrows/Auger issue… I don’t any reason to change my prediction.

  • Ender

    RE: Burrows and Auger

    It's reached the only natural conclusion. To use an analogy, if you see someone shoplifting in Sport Mart, that doesn't give you licence to grab a 7 iron and start swinging at the guy's head. Yes, the shoplifter is in the wrong, but you're not justified in your actions either. So it is with Burrows. Whether Auger did something wrong cannot be determined beyond reasonable doubt. That Burrows did something wrong in the way he dealt with the issue is certainly apparent.

    The real shame here is that Burrows is unlikely to have had the worst of this yet. Whether Auger refs any more Canucks games this year or not, I'd be willing to bet that every referee in the league is watching Burrows just a little more closely after this, just waiting for him to screw something up. Maybe no blatantly phantom calls, but he isn't going to get away with much either.

  • Couldn't agree with you more.

    I hope that the officiating fraternity has enough professionalism and integrity that they wouldn't band together to single out Burrows. I think that they do, but it wouldn't surprise if Burrows starts getting a lot of bogus calls.

    As for Burrows vs Auger – if the NHL is smart, they will make sure that Auger doesn't ref another Canucks game for the rest of the season and hopefully through the playoffs. Otherwise, they're just stirring the pot again, and the press in Vancouver will have a field day with that.

      • Ender

        The NHL can do what it likes. If you have 30 workers on an assembly line and 2 of them don't get along, it would be stupid to insist that they do. Just separate them and continue forward. While Auger is a part of the NHLOA, that's only his protection against professional harrassment. The NHL still makes the schedule and the rules and if they chose to alter the reffing schedule for any reason they wished and Auger didn't like it, the onus would be on Auger and the NHLOA to demonstrate why the new schedule presented Auger with hardship.

        Not that it makes any difference; do you really think Auger wants to ref another game in Vancouver this season? He's probably waiting on a new schedule with baited breath.

      • The NHL should and would do it to avoid controversy. Even if it's deemed that Auger did nothing wrong. Why stir the pot when you don't need to.

        And if there is one thing the NHL does not want to do, it's to stir this pot.

  • Ender

    Okay, Cam Davie, maybe there is no proof but shouldn't there be some effort to look for some? Auger behaved childishly and unprofessionally, maybe I'm naive but with the public response I would expect them to try to be a little more credible in their investigation.
    At the very least, time for some "towel power" @ GM Place to support Burrows next home game. Roger Neilson ('82) started it to protest bad officiating. Wave them again fans… maybe they should be green this year?

    • I agree that the NHL should do its absolute best to vet out this issue. Right now, the only proof is Burrows' statement vs. Auger's defense of the issue.

      It's "he said" vs "he said" right now.

      So the NHL had better do a LOT more to try and uncover some truth. If hey leave no stone unturned and find nothing, then it's done.

      That said, Auger should still face him discipline for his atrocious officiating.

  • Ender

    Hello, Canucks Army, did you see the character assassination on Burrows by Ron MacLean on Saturday? Check out cbc sports/hockey and there are a couple of articles getting a huge response regarding MacLean's totally biased reporting. See "Burrows/Auger both made errors: Campbell". Then see the tape above the article or check it out as a two parter on YouTube. I would have expected a response on this website.

    • Well I have been holding back on this because, like many Canucks fans, I was hoping to simply let this isue die.

      However… Ron Maclean is going to be on TEAM1040 today at 3:30pm (approx 25 mins from now) to discuss his segment on HNIC.

      Believe me, I'll be posting a new article today after hearing his response.