BOSTON (CBS) — In looking upon Patrice Bergeron’s near-decade in a Bruins jersey, you could count on one hand the times when he’s lost his temper. There was his TKO knockout of Josh Gorges in the 2009 playoffs, the time Alex Burrows bit his finger in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, and now there is his end-of-regulation tussle with Jeff Skinner from Monday night in Carolina.
In the closing seconds of Monday’s game, just before Tyler Seguin deposited the puck into an empty net to secure a 5-3 win, Bergeron skated toward a loose puck behind the Boston net. Third-year forward Jeff Skinner cut off Bergeron in pursuit of the puck before digging his elbow into Bergeron’s chest and taking the Bruins forward down to the ice.
While most eyes inside PNC Arena and watching on television focused on Seguin breaking free for the empty-net goal, Bergeron and Skinner were engaged in a skirmish down the other end of the ice.
The Yahoo! blog “Puck Daddy” raised the possibility that Skinner slew-footed Bergeron, noting that Skinner was warned last year on a “borderline slew-foot” against Washington’s Dmitry Orlov.
YouTube user “dafoomie” uploaded the video, and it doesn’t appear to be a slew-foot per se, though it does appear clear that Skinner intentionally pulls Bergeron down to the ice on his back. Puck Daddy noted that the NHL differentiated between a slew-foot and what Skinner did to Orlov, saying “there’s an upper-body action (a yanking back with the arm or shoulder) to create a violent crash to the ice rather than just a trip.”
Regardless, the end result of an opposing player falling hard on his back is still gained by Skinner’s method, so it is perhaps something the league will have to watch with Skinner. The fact that it got the normally mild-mannered Bergeron so hot under the collar should have already set off a few alarms inside league headquarters.