FanDuel - WFBC

January 12, 2010

Referee controversy ripples around NHL: Vancouver Canucks forward Alex Burrows told reporters referee Stephane Auger made calls against him in the Canucks' 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Monday to settle a personal score over an incident between the two earlier this season. "It was personal. It started in warm-up before the anthem. The ref came over to me and said I made him look bad on the Smithson hit. The Canucks winger said Auger told him before the game that he would exact personal revenge for Burrows showing him up in a game earlier this season. Burrows was referring to a five-minute charging penalty Auger assessed Nashville's Jerred Smithson on Dec. 8. He said he was going to get me back tonight and he did his job in the third. Burrows was assessed three minor penalties, including one for diving, and a 10-minute misconduct for squawking at Auger with less than four seconds remaining.

posted by tommytrump to hockey at 10:06 PM - 39 comments

The "diving" call on burrows was a farce and came with minutes left in a tie game and if they review this I hope they do take an honest look at whether the three calls on him were objectively fair. But, you know, Burrows can't just say this kind of thing unless he can back it up and it sounds like it is he said/she said territory. And certainly, Burrows has a reputation for embellishment.

(just heard it seems Burrows only got a 2500$ fine and no suspension and to me that says, the NHL knows the ref screwed up.)

posted by rumple at 10:22 PM on January 12

Also Alex has had 9 goals in the last five games including two hat tricks which is pretty frickin' remarkable even playing with the Twins.

posted by rumple at 10:23 PM on January 12

Tiger Williams would have knocked that ref out. He knocked out his own brother when broskie called a penalty on him in an amateur game, some time after his NHL career had eneded.

posted by insomnyuk at 10:43 PM on January 12

(just heard it seems Burrows only got a 2500$ fine and no suspension and to me that says, the NHL knows the ref screwed up.)

To me, if the NHL knows the ref screwed up, they should suspend the ref ASAP. Allegations like this bring the integrity of NHL referring into question. Either Burrows is BSing and should have had a heftier fine if the NHL thinks he's full of crap, and like I said, bring the hammer down on the ref if they believe Burrows is telling the truth.

posted by jmd82 at 11:36 PM on January 12

$2500 is the max the league can fine a player per the CBA, so don't read anything into that amount. Coaches and teams can be fined 10s of thousands, but not players...

posted by MeatSaber at 12:23 AM on January 13

Oh, thanks MeatSaber, I didn't know that. I still think if the NHL was truly backing the ref they would be making more of a fuss about it but maybe there are limits to what they can do, as you say, therefore they just want it to go away.

The ref in question, Auger, apparently hasn't been assigned a playoff game since 2003 so that tells us a lot. he is the same ref who accused Shane Doan of making derogatory comments about Quebecois as well. There is plenty of video of him and Burrows having some kind of unusual conversation before the game which is when Burrows says the threat was made. Usually I take ref. comments with a big grain of salt but I am inclined to believe this one -- not for homer reasons since Burrows is a sneaky shitty fellow....

posted by rumple at 01:31 AM on January 13

Burrows is a cheap-shot artist, so I'm not going to shed any tears over him getting "jobbed" by the refs. He may have not deserved it in these instances, but lord knows he's gotten awawy with crap in the past.

That being said, Auger should be punished, and probably shouldn't get to keep his job.

posted by AaronGNP at 12:33 PM on January 13

I can't say that a phantom call on Burrows is surprising - fair enough, he's milked enough penalties to be watched closer than most - but the timing of the calls stank.

Referees are usually pretty good about getting in their even-up calls at non-critical moments, early in the game or when one team has a 2 goal lead. Auger decided to end a Vancouver PP and give Nashville one with two Canucks in the box in the final minutes of a tied game between two teams pretty much tied for 4th in the western standings on two mystery calls.

That isn't just a 'got you' to Burrows, that is as close as you can get to the ref making a conscious decision to determine the result of the game. It will likely affect playoff seedings; given how tight the Northwest race and the battle for 4th seed/home ice is the extra points for the Preds at Vancouver's expense are crucial. If Auger did this and a team misses out on a home playoff game because of it this is worse than Donaghy's point-shaving by far.

posted by deflated at 02:19 PM on January 13

Most interesting to me were the comments by Craig Conroy in the linked article. Sounds like Burrows violated some sort of unwritten hockey player rule in making these allegations public.

posted by holden at 02:31 PM on January 13

Not to say that these two incidents are identical, but the Pittsburgh FSN crew that withheld video evidence on a reviewed goal also calls into question the integrity of the NHL product. Sadly, FSN Pittsuburgh is the organization that can admit that fact, while the NHL runs and hides from reality.

Did I mention I hate Bettman?

posted by garfield at 05:34 PM on January 13

Every team in the NHL has at least a couple of Burrows style players so I don't buy any arguments that this is justified in the least. Yes Burrows is a bit of a con artist, yes he has been known to dive and embellish, but there are 60 players in the league like that and it really isn't the refs business to carry grudges over game to game.

posted by rumple at 05:44 PM on January 13

To me, if the NHL knows the ref screwed up, they should suspend the ref ASAP.

The thing is, we'll probably never know what happens to Auger, if anything. That fact that this guy's name has come up in a "controversy" before (cf. Doan comments), I'm going to bet that he is getting some reprimand from the Director or whoever doles out fines/suspensions for the NHLOA.

Officials strive for invisibility. When something like this kicks the dust up, the fallout for the refs is generally dealt with behind the curtain.

posted by Spitztengle at 06:38 PM on January 13

Sounds like Burrows violated some sort of unwritten hockey player rule in making these allegations public.

Judging by the way the Versus crew (all retired players) reacted to this story, I would say that is a correct statement. I thought for sure that at least one of them would rip Auger, but the worst any of them did was call one of the minor penalties he called on Burrows "questionable". According to them, Burrows was supposed to take it to his GM and/or NHLPA and now he his never going to get the benefit of the doubt of any call by any official.

posted by MrFrisby at 04:45 AM on January 14

Every team in the NHL has at least a couple of Burrows style players so I don't buy any arguments that this is justified in the least.

They don't all pull hair like a little girl, though.

I admit I'm biased on this one. Alice is a dirty player and isn't deserving of much sympathy. That said, I haven't seen the video on the calls in question so I can't speak to the validity of the calls. But is there a possibilty the calls were justified?

Oh, and Alice, good luck getting any calls go your way in the future. What a nimrod.

posted by willthrill72 at 09:13 AM on January 14

They don't all pull hair like a little girl, though.

I admit I'm biased on this one. Alice is a dirty player and isn't deserving of much sympathy. That said, I haven't seen the video on the calls in question so I can't speak to the validity of the calls. But is there a possibilty the calls were justified?

Oh, and Alice, good luck getting any calls go your way in the future. What a nimrod.

With regard to the hair pulling (a prior incident, from a game vs Chicago in March of '09), there is evidence that suggests he was being fishhooked, and that is what caused him to react that way. I'm not condoning the hair pulling, but if some guy is ripping at the inside of my mouth, I would do whatever is available to get him to stop.

You do know the player's name is Alex, not Alice?

Are you using a name commonly used for females because you feel that makes them weaker or subordinate in some way?

Or, it could just be a spelling error. If it's the latter, no worries. If the former, that's just sad.

You haven't seen the videos, but you feel comfortable in bashing the player ? Ignorance is bliss I suppose.

Nimrod (from dictionary.com) : a person expert in or devoted to hunting.

I'm not sure what that has to do with hockey, though Alex Burrows is a good goal scorer, so perhaps you meant he has good aim .

posted by tommytrump at 09:52 AM on January 14

Wow! Forgive me for not liking Alex Burrows. Next time I'll refrain from commenting on athletes I have a personal distaste for and we can all live in a happy place and get along swimmingly.

And I admitted that I hadn't seen the video. I was simply posing a query as to whether or not the calls were justified. Maybe some spofites had seen it and could enlighten me. But instead, I get grief for disliking Alex.

In reference to Alice vs. Alex, that just happened to be a popular jab at him in Chicago during the playoffs last year stemming from said hair pulling incident. You know, like little girls are often want to do when they fight one another.

And if you object to my use of the word nimrod in describing Alex Burrows, how about the word tool? Or are you going to refer to dictionary.com for the proper definition of that word as well? Oh wait...penis is actually listed there. So I must be referring to him as the male sexual organ used for intercourse and pissing.

In the future, I'll just keep my humble opinions to myself and attempt to only respond in a passionless, objective manor when discussing sports on a sports forum.

And if you have evidence of the fishhooking, I'd like to see it.

posted by willthrill72 at 10:51 AM on January 14

People who insult male sports athletes with female names, like Jim Rome did to Jim Everett, can expect to be called out here for sexism. That's one of the things I like about the place.

posted by rcade at 11:09 AM on January 14

It wasn't meant to be sexist. That was not the context of the comment. It was meant to emasculate an athlete who, in one particular incident - admittedly, acted in way that is common in little girls. That's not sexist toward women or females, that's demeaning toward one male individual. A fine line, maybe.

And I admit, it was juvenile. I just don't like Burrows. I typically like to keep the discourse civil, but every now and then I let my passion and lack of objectivity bleed through. I know this is not the typical fan board and I try to conduct myself accordingly. I apologize if I have offended anyone. That was not my intent (other than Burrows, of course).

posted by willthrill72 at 11:20 AM on January 14

It wasn't meant to be sexist. That was not the context of the comment. It was meant to emasculate an athlete

Yup, that should fill that particular hole you dug.

posted by yerfatma at 11:29 AM on January 14

No shit. I think I'll just shut up now.

posted by willthrill72 at 11:30 AM on January 14

I don't think there's a way to pull off an insult that emasculates a male athlete and involves gender, yet is not sexist. The difficulty level of the move you were attempting was off the charts. It's like Evel Knievel and Snake River Canyon all over again.

posted by rcade at 11:38 AM on January 14

I don't think there's a way to pull off an insult that emasculates a male athlete and involves gender, yet is not sexist.

Burrows must have been surgically castrated by a female physician (which is purely incidental, by the way), and thus literally does not have the balls to "man up" on the ice.

posted by holden at 01:59 PM on January 14

Yeah - keep all that bad fun for your real friends, will.

If 'Alice' Burrows bugs you, you'd plotz at the shit I sling at the game on a Saturday night. You know, tastefully in the privacy of my own racist, homophobic home.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:30 PM on January 14

This release from NHLOA President Brian Murphy outlines the code of silence for its members.

posted by Spitztengle at 11:42 PM on January 14

And here's the Spector article that elicited this response.

posted by Spitztengle at 11:48 PM on January 14

You know, tastefully in the privacy of my own racist, homophobic home.

Oh Weedy, don't think for a second any of us are different.

posted by yerfatma at 09:16 AM on January 15

I like this site cause it is usually good conversation and as i have said in the past, not the typical "you suck" " my team rules" kinda blog. That being said, some of you need to lighten up. On person write "Alice" and "nimrod" and the next 5 posts are this politically correct read the dictionary retaliation. Deep breaths people.

posted by Debo270 at 11:33 AM on January 15

Sure, if you feel like conversation can still be good if it purposefully excludes half the population. I realize sports, and certainly sports talk, is male-dominated because men are more interested, but that doesn't mean it has to be chauvinistic. As you suggest, there are any number of other sites where you can get your sports talk with a side of hooters. This doesn't need to be one of them.

posted by yerfatma at 12:02 PM on January 15

Maybe Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi have left a bad taste in my mouth. Wait, let me rephrase that.

so sexual inuendo is ok, Chauinism not so much. Got it..

posted by Debo270 at 12:17 PM on January 15

sorry for the typo before I am corrected.

posted by Debo270 at 12:29 PM on January 15

That being said, some of you need to lighten up.

If you want a sports site where calling a male athlete a female's name to ridicule him is acceptable, that stuff's OK on 99 percent of sports blogs and message boards. Welcome to the other one percent. Cheap reductive insults like that are sexist, and even worse, stupid.

I feel sorry for people who unintentionally run afoul of the site's norms, but there's a reason we fight for them. We don't want the site to suck. Look at what's become of Deadspin over time.

posted by rcade at 12:32 PM on January 15

I understand the rules and why they are in place. I just often feel when someone breaks them, the members (not editors) go out of their way to trash, be rude, and call out the offender. Thats your job, not theirs.

posted by Debo270 at 12:45 PM on January 15

I don't think Tommy was rude in his initial callout. The subsequent comments here are pretty mild, as far as rebukes go.

As for it being my job to enforce the norms of the place, Gary and I do what we can, but web communities enforce their own standards.

posted by rcade at 12:56 PM on January 15

Just glad that tammy stuck up for the defenseless women who frequent the site. God knows they can't stand up for themselves and I appreciate the pettiness of the non rude callout of a long time member who has been away for several months and will probably disappear again.

But I guess when Spofi is only hoping to please the "other one percent," there isn't much room for error.

And the callout was rude and condensing. Someone here gets a rise out of being Mr. Policeman and it gets old.

So, call me a sexist like you did will.

You do realize you are eventually going to whittle the site down (or back down) to the that one percent and then everyone can just say hell yeah, I agree. Aren't we cool? And no one will say no.

posted by tselson at 11:26 PM on January 16

It's just disappointing when people are labeled sexist and chauvinist at the first hint of admittedly juvenile behavior.

But juvenile behavior has been acceptable around these parts before, no?

Has the site changed? Are we on a "welcome to the one percent" mission?

I feel sorry for people who unintentionally run afoul of the site's norms, but there's a reason we fight for them.

What reason? To belittle 98% of sports fans? 90%, 80% 30%? There is no reason to allow blatant sexism or chauvinism but to be so quick to label someone as a sexist is ridiculous.

My point is willthrill is/was a good member. If you prefer to enjoy the enforcement of only norms that agree with your ideology then just state the mantra in the guidelines.

I mean, who do you want here?

posted by tselson at 12:05 AM on January 17

Just glad that tammy stuck up for the defenseless women who frequent the site.

Wow, did you mean to be this much of an asshole or did your typing fingers get away with you?

posted by bperk at 09:48 AM on January 17

Just glad that tammy stuck up for the defenseless women

I'll guess that I'm tammy.

In your condescending way, you're attempting to deride and degrade me by calling me by a feminine name. Sorry, won't work. The majority of people who I admire and respect in my personal life are women.

Using your logic, no man would say anything about another man degrading a woman, because it doesn't seem to affect him directly (though it does). That's not how I live. I try to do what is right, not what is popular.

tselson, what was condescending and rude was the original degrading (to both Alex Burrows and women) comment.

I try to be a responsible citizen of SportsFilterstan, but I'm not a cop. I do support Neighbourhood Watch though.

If I've followed along correctly, you are allowed your opinion, willthrill72 is allowed his opinion, but I'm not allowed mine. Got it.

posted by tommytrump at 10:32 AM on January 17

I think it was a fair question to ask him why he was calling Alex "Alice," which is all that Tommy did with a bit of sarcasm. This community has not changed -- that kind of crack has usually been met with a challenge.

You do realize you are eventually going to whittle the site down (or back down) to the that one percent ...

People will quit due to time, disagreements, and many other reasons; new people will show up and either learn how the place operates or they'll try to change it. Longtimers will either fight to enforce the norms or surrender.

How is it ideological to not want women to be unwelcome here? When people say nothing about comments that they object to, it's an implicit statement of support for them. If someone thinks the Alice/Alex crack is uncool, what would you suggest that they do? I can recall some arguments with you over Indian mascots in which you were not shy about rebuking behavior you disagreed with. As the main person you were going after, it pissed me off, but ultimately it was a worthwhile discussion.

I'd hope that Will takes his lumps and sticks around, but if he doesn't, I'd rather risk that than just let everything slide in the interests of being welcoming.

posted by rcade at 10:44 AM on January 17

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