Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Former Moose player rips NHL referee
VANCOUVER — The NHL could have a scandal on its hands today if accusations from Monday night’s game at GM Place between the Vancouver Canucks and Nashville Predators are true.
You can read about Vancouver’s rising star and former Moose Alex Burrows in today’s Free Press, which went to press long before Monday night’s wild and controversial finish to the Canucks’ 3-2 loss to Nashville, in which Burrows scored both Vancouver goals.
After the game, Burrows accused referee Stephane Auger of implementing a personal vendetta during the third period of the game when he penalized him for diving at 3:26, then for interference at 15:15.
The second Burrows penalty led to the game-winning, power-play goal by Nashville’s Shea Weber. With three seconds left, Burrows was sent to the showers with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a 10-minute misconduct, but he wasn’t done.
While riding an exercise bike in the Canucks workout room during a post-game cool-down ride, it was anything but cool as a pack of reporters sought Burrows’ opinion on those third-period calls.
"It was personal," Burrows began his rant. "It started in the warm-up. He told me he would get me back tonight. He did his job in the third, I think.
"He got me on a diving call that I didn’t think was diving and he got me on an interference call and I have no idea how he could call that.
"It changed the game. It sucks for teammates that are battling hard for 60 minutes to win a hockey game. Every two points are so huge, so important and because of a guy’s ego, it just blows everything out of proportion. The refs, they are making bad calls and the fans are paying for it and we’re paying for it."
Burrows said that Auger’s alleged retribution came from a Dec. 8 in Nashville, in which Auger was one of the officials. Nashville’s Jerred Smithson was given a boarding major and game misconduct for hitting Burrows in a game the Preds won 4-2.
Burrows did finish that game. "He said I saw the replay and you’ve got your head up and you weren’t really hurt and you made me look bad and I’m going to get you back tonight and he did," Burrows said. "He cost us two points.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said the team would defend its player but said he didn’t want to engage in any speculation about Burrows’ accusations.
"We’re speculating here. We’ll look at what happened. We’ll double check our information and see what recourse we have."
After a rough-and-tumble game with Calgary on Saturday, the coach also told reporters to draw their own conclusions from the way Auger and Denis Larue worked Monday’s game, calling several chintzy penalties in the third period.
"I’ll let you guys draw your own conclusions to that," Vigneault, the former Moose coach, said. "You saw the last two games. You saw the standards from both those games, how they were refereed, the difference between Calgary and tonight, and you guys can come up with your own conclusions.
"At the end of the day, what coaches are looking for, what players are looking for, and probably the fans, are an even standard from game to game. The last game, the one play that jumps out in my mind in overtime when (Dion) Phaneuf runs Louie (Roberto Luongo) and the response to that when we asked why that wasn’t a penalty was that we’re not going to decide the outcome of a game on a goaltender interference.
"I look at tonight I’ve just got to wonder a little bit. I’ll let you guys decide."
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