A funny thing happened near the end of the Canucks-Stars game tonight. With time ticking down and the Canucks pressing for the equalizing goal, it was chaos in front of Dallas Stars goal. Crosschecks, holding and interference galore, as both teams were in desperation mode. And then it happens, Alex Burrows gets called for the only penalty.
Ok, maybe it wasn’t “haha” funny.
Alex Burrows has a reputation. It is a well earned reputation. He plays the game hard, but he has embellished over the years and made referees look silly. And refs are exacting their revenge.
Now, I’m not talking about a Stephane Auger situation here, nor is this a conspiracy theory article. Players get reputation calls in the NHL. It’s the case with a few guys. Sean Avery didn’t get away with much later in his career. Matt Cooke, Steve Ott, Max Lapierre and Daniel Carcillo don’t get away with much anymore either. They’re marked men.
NHL referees look for Burrows to take a penalty. They’re waiting for it. Sometimes their imagination embellishes what he actually does. Conversely, they allow other players to get away with murder against him.
Burrows is no dummy. He used to embellish on a regular basis because it worked. It got the Canucks on the power play more often and helped them win games. But Burrows knows that his tricks no longer work, so he has stopped embellishing. Unfortunately, the referees haven’t noticed this yet.
Burrows was 53rd in minor penalties in 2010-11, 12th in 2011-12 and 1st in 2012-13.
The frustrating thing with the reputation call is that it takes so long to get rid of. Burrows has cleaned up his act for over two years now, yet they treat him like he’s the biggest diver in the NHL. They also allow him to get crosschecked like crazy, without repercussion, even when it’s obvious he isn’t diving or embellishing.
Alex Burrows isn’t diving and he was never a dirty or a dangerous player. NHL referees need to call what they see and if they’re going to make reputation calls, the least they could do is get more current with what players are actually doing.