Occasionally in sports, you find athletes that present such an enigma that they defy a clear understanding of who they truly are. Alexandre Burrows is one of those players.
His fans will relate the long road that he traveled to make it to the NHL and celebrate every move he makes. His detractors will call him a cheap shot artist, a diver, and any other negative term from the hockey vernacular that you can imagine.
With Burrows, I think both camps are correct. Burrows is a tremendous talent that did take an unusual route to make it to the Vancouver Canucks. His breakout 28 goal season last year has been followed by an even more productive 19 goal campaign this year that includes last week's back to back hat trick performance.
The issue as I see it, revolves around the fact that in spite of his talent, Burrows often resorts to questionable tactics in order to get an additional edge on the opposition. Let me be clear that this is not a "hammer" article since Burrows is Jackson's favorite non-Predator player and I do personally respect his talent.
There are two incidents that I have witnessed in person that really bother me about Burrow's character and style and prevent me from being objective in any questionable situation in which he becomes involved.
Last season, in a game in Nashville Burrows delivered an open ice hit on J.P. Dumont in an early December game that left Dumont struggling to produce for the remainder of the season. He clearly left his feet and had his elbows high as was shown in replays and still photos. In spite of clear evidence on the hit, no action was taken by the NHL.
This season, in another December game between the Predators and the Canucks, one of the worst calls I have witnessed was made when Jerred Smithson made a routine hit on Burrows near the Predator bench and, Alexandre the actor, did his best imitation of an epileptic seizure on ice that you could imagine when the reality was that he was barely grazed.
Jerred Smithson was astounded that he received a game misconduct and related after the game that he really missed more of Burrows than he hit. After Burrow's dive, he looked up eagerly awaiting the referee's whistle and was clearly doing a one man performance for the audience of Stephane Auger.
Unfortunately, there is no video evidence of the hit and resulting dive easily available for reference as this game was not televised by either the Predators or Canucks, so the only clip in existence was the in-house feed which is not readily available for public consumption.
If Stephane Auger did indeed threaten Burrows before the game this week, there are no excuses for his action. However, if the video of the Burrows dive and resulting embellishment after the Smithson hit was available, I think there would be a few more folks in Auger's corner understanding how Burrows showed him up with his antics in Nashville.
I seriously doubt that we will ever get a legitimate explanation from the league as to what really transpired in Monday's game in Vancouver, but I think that we can easily conclude that Burrows actions in December pushed Auger to point where he was willing to jeopardize his somewhat shaky reputation in order to even the slate with Alexandre Burrows.
Preds-Oilers Wrap up...
Here is our piece from last night on the Preds win that launched them into fourth place in the West.
The Tennessean relies on the AP story for last night's game. John Glennon has his ponderings from the couch.
In the Pred Blog arena games stories come from Dirk the Forechecker, Mark at The View from 111, See Puck City, Fan Huddle, and What The Puck.
The Edmonton Sun has the opposing view of last night's game. They also have Barry Trotz's take on the Burrows-Auger situation.
In Pred Nation...
The Vancouver Sun has a great piece about Shea Weber and Cody Franson's journey from their home town of Sicamous to being team mates on the Predators.
Jim Diamond has a piece on the Burrows-Auger matter with the video interview. He questions why the game misconduct penalty against Jerred Smithson was rescinded under the cloak of darkness (and with no press release). Good question.
The View from 111 also has a good piece on the Burrows incident and calls for Auger's removal from the game if allegations are true.
Preds101 has a thank you to the Pred Nation for a great response to his new blog. We give thanks back for his recognition of my rant about Lane Kiffin last night too.
NHL.com has a really complete Cal O'Reilly story this morning.
I'm sure all have seen Dan Ellis' random tweet from Tuesday about Henrik Sedin's goalie interference call Monday night but here it is again, "@dellis39 :"Hey henrik sedin...stop trying to ride me like a horse...I am not into guys"
The Copper and Blue looks atthe Preds financial situation from afar and gives his fellow SB Nation writer, the Forechecher, a complement but unearths the allegation that Dirk is "in his mom's basement."
Around the NHL...
Rumors about James Mirtle's situation at SB Nation with his From The Rink Blog are discussed head on by the man himself. Regardless of what he does, his leadership built the Hockey portion of SB Nation in to the leader in a very competitive field.
Our friend Nick at Let There Be Lighthouse has an article about... Nick. Good Stuff!
Bob McKenzie had the best take of all on the Burrows - Auger situation.
Matt at View From My Seats has some tips to know if you have an issue with knowing a little too much about prospects leading up to the draft. He also have Episode 5 of their podcast available for a listen.
Curtis Joseph officially retired and the masses showed up to cover it in Toronto.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass