Patrick O’Sullivan recalls line-crossing chirps by Alex Burrows

Patrick O’Sullivan has committed his life-after-hockey time to ensuring that kids everywhere have an enjoyable life involving hockey. It’s commendable, really, when you consider how much of it involves him speaking from his personal experiences with domestic abuse. Whether it’s his gut-wrenching Players Tribune article or his countless interviews, O’Sullivan has been very transparent bout the abuse that his father subjected him to throughout his youth with the belief that it would help him succeed.

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While this is the first time that O’Sullivan has gone into detail, the general history of the abuse was relatively well-known. So much so, O’Sullivan said on Twitter today, that Canucks forward Alex Burrows used it to try to get into his head.

Assuming that this is true, which, given O’Sullivan’s transparency, we have no reason not to, this is just another quote in a Burrow’s long-standing history of crossing the perceived line in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. Earlier this season, Burrows was accused by Jordin Tootoo of bringing family history into the conversation during a game, and it’s been previously suggested that Burrows has also been overly personal with David Backes and Mike Richards in the past.

“Chirping” in hockey has become a highly debated subject. Competitive sports are high-stakes and high-emotion, especially at the professional level, so players will do just about anything to get an edge, including trying to get into the heads fo their opponents. Burrows, as we’ve seen over the years, is one of the best at taking his opponents’ focus away from their games.

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At the same time, the abuse that O’Sullivan suffered is a very serious subject; hence, why he’s going on a crusade to try to prevent it from happening in other households now that he has the time to commit to it. The fact that Burrows has used it as chirp fodder not once, but twice isn’t a good look. You can’t really punish him for the actions retroactively, though give the situation, it would be nice to see Burrows come out and apologize and possibly even offer some assistance in O’Sullivan’s efforts.

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  • wojohowitz

    Can’t really defend such comments by Burr. Sticks and stones and all that perhaps.

    Nevertheless, I will say that while Burrows is framed by the media and opponents as “the worst person in the world”, I think he is a genuinely decent human being (just my sense from years of watching him fwiw) who will do anything to help his team and teammates and who respects opposing players insofar as never intentionally attempting to injure an opponent. I find it frustrating that various dirtbags who attempt to injure players are hailed as great hockey players and leaders by media, while assailing Burrows.

    Since having kids and a wife Burr seems to have toned down the in your face trash talking, but he never was a ‘dirty’ player.

  • wojohowitz

    Burrows conduct is somewhat explainable. He`s the `Little Guy From Shawinagan` that people laugh at and have no respect for no matter how successful he is – also known as carrying a chip on his shoulder. Some people live their whole lives perceiving the world around them as lacking respect and it justifies their own lack of respect for others. It also makes this type of persona very competitive – they can`t help it.

    I know. I know. I`m an armchair quarterback or in this case an armchair psychologist with an explanation for everything.

  • wojohowitz

    Alex Burrows is a player everyone loves to hate except if you go into war, you’d want him on your side. This guy is a clutch player. When you need someone to score in Game 7 OT, Alex Burrows will come through for you.

  • wojohowitz

    Jeff—-hate to get in the way of another unsubstantiated story about Burrows’ chirping and how terrible a person he is etc etc….but when you post

    “The FACT that Burrows has used it as chirp fodder not once, but twice isn’t a good look.”

    This is a FACT….how?

    I am not being a homer on this—-if it’s proven then burn him. If not…don’t print it!

    Why print such an inflammatory article by prefacing it with “Assuming that this is true”……prove it THEN print it…..journalism 101, Jeff.

    • wojohowitz

      Well the way I see is TooToo is friends with this Sullivan fella oh yeah get over it !
      We all had tough times growing up get over it !! Full grown men acting like a child having to expose it to the media.

      The only way he made the NHL is probably because of his father other wise he probably would have taken cooking classes..thus never makeing the NHL and making millions to play hockey.

      I am sympathic but thats is in the past and I am sure he said things too!!

  • wojohowitz

    Um, hello, they were just words… Sure, they reminded him about a very bad time in his life, and they also provide some insight into Burrows’ character but they are just words.

    If players are allowed to “talk” on the ice, you can’t limit what they say.

    And forcing one player to issue a fake apology for something he said on the ice is really silly.

  • andyg

    How many times do think Burrows had his french heritage soiled by verbal abuse. How many short guys here it about their size. The verbal battles go on every night and at times cross the line.

    So where do you draw the line? Do we record everything they say?

    • birdie boy

      Precisely. Your Mother,wife,gf is this and that.You French Frog,go back to France.I did this to your Mother,sister,gf,wife,etc.. Everyday chirps that will never,ever hit the headlines.Nor should they.

      Sullivan and Tootoo are not the only kids that grew up with fathers or Mothers that were drunk or harassed and beat them. There is a big world out there of heavily dysfunctional people that did not wear a condom or should never have become parents.

      Yes,it is a classless tactic. So,is running a guy from behind,ramming an opponent into the boards with such force you break his back and threaten his life,swinging your stick with intent to injure,beating on a guys face,slew footing,chopping at an opponent from behind with intent to injure. All these were incidents in the Boston-Canucks finals that went without even a penalty call.

      The NHL is a cess pit of filth and dirt. Calling out the name caller is like telling your teacher what Johnny said after recess is over.

  • andyg

    What I am wondering is how someone can accuse someone of this without proof. So all you have to do is pick a player like Burrows who has a rep and say this. The radio programs grab it and run with it. You don’t have to have a tape or even anyone to back it up.

    To me, this is something he should have taken up with the league. If I was Burrows I would call his bluff and ask for proof. If not ask for a retraction before He sews him.

    • Marvin101

      Burrows is welcome to sue him, if indeed O’Sullivan is just making this stuff up.

      Do you really think he is making it up, though? Why would he? This is consistent with what Tootoo said about Burrows, and it isn’t hard to imagine Burrows saying something like that. Hockey Players aren’t known for their sensitivity, and Burrows is particularly obnoxious.

      • Mantastic

        So will people now take me more seriously because Alex felt what he said to Patrick crossed the line?

        The conversation around this topic is fascinating.

        Patrick and I are “accusing” Alex.


        Is there a non-accusatory way to express the truth in this instance?

        The burden is on us to give “proof”.

        Are we suggesting he be sent to jail?

  • Marvin101

    Mostly just a lurker here, but this one is getting under my skin.

    Just exactly who has decided where the line should be drawn? Or that there is a line in the first place?

    We are talking about a men’s hockey league for Pete’s sake. Men trash talk, it’s part of our culture. I trash talk, those around me trash talk. Do we get offensive in the content? Of couse we do, the more offensive, often times more humorous as well. Manly humour! Do we get under each other’s skins. Of course we do, getting personal allows us to get to know ourselves better while increasing the humour factor. In the end it allows men to accept each other for who we really are and not who we are pretending to be.

    At the end of the day, they are just words. How Sullivan responds to Burrow’s words is more a reflection of Sullivan than Burrows. Obviously Sullivan’s therepy hasn’t worked. By Sullivan’s own admission, Burrows comments were a little too close to the truth and in his case the truth hurts. But it’s still the truth.

    And people want to vilify Burrows for speaking the truth?

    And this is the nut of it isn’t it? Society today would rather embrace false fantasies rather than embrace the truth. We would rather pretend to be something we are not.

  • Marvin101

    Burrows is a creep. He’s past his prime, and will likely no longer be in the NHL by the time the Canucks are competitive again. They should trade him prior to the deadline for a draft pick.

  • Marvin101

    Oh yeah, and who should draw the line? The MEN on the ice are the ones to decide where to draw the line. Burrow’s comments are a reflection of he and his teammates. They get to police his words. As long as Burrow’s words don’t violate our laws, they are none of our business. Other than with respect to the entertainment they provide, LOL.