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Op-Ed: Mikael Samuelsson criticizes Alex Burrows - but gets it all wrong

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By Marcus Hondro     Jul 13, 2012 in Sports
Great fans think alike, a hypothesis that makes it certain Vancouver Canuck fans will agree Mikael Samuelsson owes Alexander Burrows an apology. Why? Because he blew it when he said Burrows was a reason the Canucks lost the 2011 Stanley Cup final.
Samuelsson, who re-signed with the Detroit Red Wings earlier this month, his second stint with the Wings after coming to Vancouver for two seasons before being traded to the Florida Panthers for his second stint with that club, is back home in Sweden and, it seems, talking to media. This week he spoke with a hockey site called hockeysverige.se and during the interview threw his former teammate Burrows under the bus.
Alex Burrows vs. Patrice Bergeron
Samuelsson talked about an incident in game one of the final in which Burrows bit the finger of Bruin Patrice Bergeron, which the Swedish winger said was a big reason Boston won the Cup. He characterized it as a bite on the finger, as virtually everyone does, but Burrows actually bit down on Bergeron's gloved finger - a considerable difference - and only after Bergeron inexplicably stuck that gloved finger in Burrows' mouth.
But the real issue is that claim by Samuelsson, who did not play in the final due to an injury, that the incident was pivotal in Boston taking the series in 7 games. "It probably wasn’t very good that Burrows bit Patrice Bergeron in the finger in the first game,” Samuelsson said. “After that, Boston was angry. You might say that was the wrong team to fire up. They play a very physical game and I thought it would’ve been better to let the bear sleep, if you know what I mean.”
His belief that "after that, Boston was angry" and claim the bite was behind their overcoming a 2 game deficit to win the Cup is flat-out wrong. Firstly, when the biting took place at the end of the first period of game one, the game was tied 0-0; Vancouver went on to win 1-0 on a Raffi Torres goal in the last minute of regulation. The Canucks then won game 2, in overtime, 3-2.
So if the bear was asleep he'd only been sleeping for that first period of the first game. And if that big bad Bruin woke up mean and did damage thanks to Burrows' teeth, then how is it that Boston went on to lose that game and the next one? If Samuelsson is right and it was that finger bite that woke them up, it took them longer to get out of bed than the average teenager on a weekend morning.
Samuelsson: Burrows bite a turning point
The bite, despite what Samuelsson said, was not any turning point, and not just because of how early it came in the series, but because there was a significant incident that turned the series around and it happened in game three in Boston. I'm talking about the Aaron Rome hit that concussed Nathan Horton and knocked him out of the series.
That hit, along with a draconian suspension handed down by Mike Murphy, who threw Rome out of the final for a open-ice hit that came but shades of a second after Horton had passed the puck, combined to create the series turning point. A suspect turning point given Murphy is friends with and works with Colin Campbell, who would normally have handed out suspensions but who recused himself because his son was playing for Boston.
Campbell had a worse hit to arbitrate, the Mike Richards hit on Tim Connolly earlier in the playoffs and gave no suspension, so it worked out in Boston's favor he wasn't the guy on the Rome hit. It would have looked real bad had he suspended Rome after letting Richards off the hook, but even with Murphy delivering the blow the optics weren't good. But Campbell's friend ignored all that and helped Boston out by helping to knock the wind out of the Canucks sails and helping the Bruins to rally around Horton.
The Burrows incident with Bergeron had nothing to do with any rallying point or waking the Bruins up and Samuelsson simply proved himself a poor judgement of hockey momentum and showed that he is not about to win any awards for being a quality former teammate.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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