BOSTON (AP/CBS) — Bruins coach Claude Julien has criticized the Canucks’ sportsmanship in the wake of Vancouver forward Alex Burrows’ biting escapade in the Stanley Cup finals.
Burrows appeared to bite the gloved right index finger of Boston forward Patrice Bergeron during a scuffle in Game 1. Vancouver forward Maxim Lapierre then taunted Bergeron about the incident in Game 2, pointing his finger near Bergeron’s mouth as if daring him to bite it.
After Boston’s pregame skate for Game 3 on Monday, Julien said he couldn’t comment on the Canucks’ behavior — before doing just that.
“If it’s acceptable for them, then so be it,” Julien said. “Certainly wouldn’t be acceptable on our end of it. I think you know me enough to know that. Not much I can say on that. The NHL rules on something. They decide to make a mockery of it, that’s totally up to them.”
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The NHL declined to suspend Burrows last Thursday, deciding it couldn’t tell whether Burrows deliberately bit down on Bergeron’s finger. Burrows then scored two goals — including the winner in overtime — during a three-point night in Vancouver’s 3-2 victory in Game 2 on Saturday, putting the Canucks up 2-0 in the series.
Julien said he wouldn’t allow Lapierre’s behavior on his team. Lapierre had several dustups with the Bruins when he was with the Montreal Canadiens, saying he had been raised to hate Boston.
“If that’s their way of handling things, so be it,” Julien said. “Again, we can’t waste our time on that kind of stuff. We really have to focus on what we have to do. The last time I looked, we’re down two games to none, and all our energy has to go towards that.”
The Canucks stood behind Burrows and Lapierre, refusing to condemn their behavior as anything abnormal, particularly in the contentious postseason.
“If they put a lot of focus on that, that’s good for us,” Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said Monday. “If they’re not thinking about hockey and thinking about that instead, that’s up to them, but we’re focused on hockey. A lot of things happen after the whistles. Boston does a lot of things, too.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)