It’s been a rocky couple of weeks for the Vancouver Canucks, at least off the ice. The Alexandre Burrows/Stephane Auger incident has done a nice job of overshadowing the most productive stretch of the winger’s career (it’s hard to believe that just three seasons ago, Burrows couldn’t buy a goal; he scored three all season) and has cast a shadow over the team’s on-ice performance. The club did a good job of neutralizing the minor kerfuffle over words exchanged between enforcer Darcy Hordichuk and Wild bruiser Derek Boogaard, but the Burrows incident refuses to die.
That was evident on Saturday night, as the team responded to a one-sided take on Burrows by Hockey Night in Canada, refusing to allow any of their players to be interviewed after the game. Coach Alain Vigneault explained:
“It was an organization’s decision. Any time we feel that one of our players has not been treated fairly, as an organization we have to take a stand and we did that last night and we’re moving forward.”
I understand the Canucks’ decision to retaliate against HNIC, but hopefully it stops here. Vigneault said he was “not quite sure” about whether the Canucks would choose to take a similar stance next week for Hockey Day in Canada, but hopefully they don’t; the Canucks have made their point and pushing it isn’t going to do anyone any good.
On another front, U.S. Olympian Ryan Kesler has a major beef with Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Ladd. The fight that took place between the two on Saturday was just one more incident in a series of events that started in last year’s playoff series between the two teams. Afterward, Kesler wasn’t quiet about explaining his side of the issue:
“He’s a coward and that’s the way it is. It started last year in the playoffs. He hit me, cross-checked me in the face when I wasn’t looking. At least he was man enough to hit me when I was looking this time.”
Needless to say, Chicago fans weren’t thrilled with Kesler’s take on the incident. The Canucks, rightly or wrongly, are getting a bit of a reputation as a ‘whiny’ team, and while I certainly enjoy hearing players speak frankly (it makes everything more interesting) in this case it was probably in Kesler’s best interests not to expound on his disdain for Ladd. Certainly it would have been in the team’s best interest; despite the fact that they’ve gone 15-4-2 over their last 21 games, it isn’t the team’s performance that is garnering media attention these days.