Alexandre Burrows was cleanly and legally hit big-time by Taylor Hall in the second period of last night’s game against the Ottawa Senators, a 5-3 loss for the New Jersey Devils. Burrows responded to this by getting up, going right after Hall with cross-checks, and after the whistle, charged at Hall, got behind him, took him down, and wailed on Hall with punches and at least two knee-strikes to the head. Burrows was given a double-minor for the incident in the game: two minutes for the cross check and two minutes for roughing. Today, Burrows was given a stiffer punishment from the NHL: a ten-game suspension.
Per Bob McKenzie on Twitter this morning, the league wanted to have an in-person hearing with Burrows. That alone allows the NHL Department of Player Safety to issue a suspension beyond five games. Burrows response showcased how tough he truly is, as if last night’s attack after being blown up by a hard and legal hit from Hall. He declined the in-person hearing and instead had it over the phone according to the Twitter account of the NHL Dept. of Player Safety. Jellyfish have more of a spine than Alexandre Burrows.
Anyway, the judgment was announced earlier this evening: a ten-game suspension. Here is the article from the NHL and here is the video from the Department of Player Safety explaining the ruling:
For those who cannot see the video, here are some aspects from the video I’d like to highlight:
- It is made incredibly clear that the check Hall threw at Burrows was clean.
- Likewise, it is made incredibly clear that Burrows got right back up and engaged with Hall with slashes and cross-checks while Hall didn’t respond (I was wrong about that last night). The video explains that Burrows solely did this for retribution - which is 100% true.
- The video is careful to describe Burrows as both being the aggressor in the altercation and kneeing. The combination of the two likely escalated this beyond a few games or two.
- The knees were while Burrows was restrained by a linesman (#87) - this is likely why Greene or any other Devil didn’t get involved. It’s the official’s job to get involved. (Aside: I’m also glad no Devil went after Burrows later in the game. The team was losing and going after Burrows would not have ended well for anyone to retaliate. He did something dangerous and dumb, no need to double down on it. The more productive response is to produce a goal - which Hall did. Be more like Hall.)
- The video also shows and describes Hall as defenseless.
- It is explained that Burrows argued he threw the knees to get Hall to remove his arm. The department disagreed with that argument. As do I. As does anyone. Seriously, he raised and drove down his knee into his head twice while Burrows was on top of him. As if that would cause anyone to let go of anything.
- Towards the end, Burrows was suspended only once in the NHL and fined five times in the past. That suspension was in 2014, so he is not officially a “repeat offender.” That term is for players who have been suspended within 18 months of a previous suspension.
Ultimately, I’m fine with the suspension length. I do wish Burrows received a misconduct penalty in the game because if knees to the head of a defenseless player on the ice isn’t worth misconduct, then why even have it? Still, this isn’t a slap on the wrist. The ten game suspension means Burrows is out for the rest of February. He will be able to return to the lineup on March 2 when Ottawa visits Las Vegas. As per the NHL.com article, this will cost Burrows $143,408.60 on top of how the Senators coaches and management will view him. Burrows hasn’t exactly been great this season. The suspension likely kills what little trade value he may have; although that may be moot as Ottawa may look to move other players.
For what it’s worth, I appreciate the sentiment at Silver Seven. From Trevor Shackles’ post about the suspension and the comments, there isn’t much argument. This was a dirty play and it was given a stiff punishment. I don’t think there will be much disagreement throughout the larger hockey community either. Not that it matters much as the league is making Burrows sit for ten games regardless.
To that end, I turn to you, the reader. What do you think of this punishment? Are you satisfied with Burrows being given a ten game suspension for his knee attack on Hall? Do you think the explanation given in the video by the Department of Player Safety was sufficient? Please vote in the poll and let me know what you think in the comments. Thank you for reading.
Burrows was suspended for 10 games after his knee attack on Hall. Do you agree with the suspension?
This poll is closed
Yes, 10 games is a proper punishment.
No, the suspension should have been longer than 10 games.
No, 10 games is too harsh, it should have been shorter.