|Fiddler on the Ice|
Alex Burrows skated in to strip the puck from Fiddler. Burrows appears to slash Fiddler and gently give him a nudge on his way down, forcing Fiddler into the boards. Compared to other similar plays, including the Alex Ponikarovsky hit on Canucks' Dan Hamhuis last week, the play likely should have warranted a two minute minor. Referee Kelly Sutherland however ruled it to be worthy of a 5-minute major and game misconduct.
Despite the tough call, Burrows to his credit commended Sutherland for being one of the best in the league overall. The call frustrated many Canucks fans as the Coyotes capitalized on the 5-minute power play late in the game, tallying twice to forge ahead 2-0 at the time. The Canucks scored to get within one, and with an empty net and Vancouver swarming around the Phoenix net, Daniel Sedin was blatantly tripped, but there was no call. Phoenix took the puck from the fallen Sedin and scored an empty netter to ice the game 3-1.
As if the game-deciding Burrows call and the non-call on the Sedin trip were not enough, Canucks fans could point to a 'can opener' in the third period on Raymond that went uncalled, a penalty to Mikael Samuelsson for a retaliation after he was cross-checked and punched, and a diving call to Maxim Lapiere after he was slashed. Still trying to figure out how you can be slashed badly enough to warrant a penalty and still be called for a dive.
Canucks' Coach Alain Vigneault avoided commenting directly on the call to some degree, but did compare the call to the Ponikarovsky hit on Hamhuis, where only a two minute minor was justified. Vigneault also seemed to be keeping his opinions to himself, clearly frustrated with the exaggerated call to Burrows, and the missed calls throughout the game. "What can you do?" seemed to be his motto throughout the press conference.
In any event, NHL conspiracy theorists will have some ammunition to play with after tonight's game, but a few miss calls aside, the Canucks will have to shake this one off and enjoy a few days off before resuming their schedule next week. Hard to imagine there will be any supplemental discipline to Burrows for that hit, but the league will undoubtedly review it. One other interesting note is that despite the hit to the head and the subsequent delay while Vern Fiddler regained his wits and left the ice, he did not take the new obligatory 15 minute respite to undergo evaluation. Fiddler was back on the ice for the power play.
Regardless of the Burrows incident, the Coyotes meanwhile have won yet again, and continue their march up the Western Conference Standings. The Coyotes are pushing for home ice advantage and to avoid a first round match up against the big three teams in the West (San Jose, Detroit, Vancouver).
Click here for more on controversy surrounding the NHL's supplemental discipline.