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article imageOp-Ed: Hockey analysts show bias in comments about Alex Burrows

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 1, 2015 in Sports
Alex Burrows did not get suspended for his hit upon Paul Gaustad but for most of us it was never an issue. Suspended for what? Skating in his lane and looking for a pass? Some hockey pundits have allowed their dislike of Burrows to cloud their brains.
Burrows and Gaustad collide
At the last moment Burrows saw he was about to collide with Gaustad and pushed his shoulder toward him. Given the collision, by accident, was going to happen regardless there could have been no call, which is what there was from both refs initially. The shoulder push makes it arguable a two-minute interference penalty was warranted.
Burrows got five and a game misconduct.
That the Canucks won is a testament to their pluckiness. Overcoming bad calls at the end of a game, one that puts you down a man for five minutes, with some of that bridging into overtime, no easy feat. The fact it was the second of back-to-back road games makes it all the more impressive they killed it off.
There are three salient things about the play: 1) again, the collision was unavoidable, it was going to happen with neither player aware they had been on a collision course; and 2) Gaustad turned into Burrows, when Burrows leaned toward him Gaustad was turned the other way; and 3) there was no contact with the head. Gaustad may have hit his head on the ice, but Burrows did not make contact with his head. Period.
How do analysts like Craig Button and Mark Spector see things that don't happen? They saw a head shot that was not there. Spector called it "cheap and dirty" and said Burrows should get 3 games. Button, who's never made it into the realm of being a compelling analyst, went off the charts.
"No question in my mind," Button fumigated. "Alex Burrows will be sitting on the sidelines. On that, I am sure." Still sure about that, Craig?
Ken Campbell of the Hockey News tweeted he "truly" doesn't understand "what a player has to do to get suspended," calling the ruling ridiculous. Gee, Ken, what a player must do is commit a foul, usually to the head, that was vicious and not a hockey play.
Unavoidable, inadvertent collisions happens all the time in hockey. There are, after all, 12 players moving very fast on a limited amount of ice. It was a hockey play.
Hockey analysts and bias
Here's this: a chance collision enhanced by a shoulder to shoulder last moment push, with the puck not around is, at most, a two-minute minor in hockey. You don't suspend players for two-minute minors.
What do NHL players have to do to be handed a suspension? Well, Ken, see Dustin Byfuglien's crosscheck to the head of J.T. Miller Tuesday night. Or see Tyler Toffoli's truly cheap shot on none other than Alex Burrows last week. Oops, Toffoli actually didn't get suspended, that despite hitting Burrows from behind - with no puck near - and into the boards.
Don't recall Campbell, Button or Spector tweeting about that one.
It is foolish comments like, IMO, those from Button, Spector and Campbell, that can sometimes actually make one feel sorry for the NHL's disciplinary czars. They do fumble the puck a lot but even when they manage to get it right they get hit from behind by bias and ignorance.
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
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