I had hoped that Gate-gate (so dubbed by Thom Drance), the controversy that sprung up Sunday night when Maxim Lapierre put Ottawa Senators’ forward Jesse Winchester through the Canucks’ unlatched bench door, would fizzle out before it really got started. However, it hasn’t. On Monday, Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch made it an issue, putting voice to the idea that Alex Burrows had unlatched the door intentionally (what for shenanigans) and deserved suspension.
This is a big accusation. Lucky for Winchester, he skated away from the incident with nothing more than a sore back, but it could have been much, much worse. It was a scary scene, and if Burrows had purposefully caused it, I’d be fine if he saw supplemental discipline.
That in mind, let’s examine the incident.
Is Burrows guilty?
I don’t think so, but there are two major reasons to believe that he is, first and foremost the fact that he’s Alex Burrows and he was there. If that’s Sami Salo standing at the penalty box door, this one doesn’t get a second look, but it’s Burrows, and even diehard Canuck fans wouldn’t put it entirely past him. The dude is a trash-talking, groin-spearing, hair-pulling, finger-biting, French shenanigans factory; this is right in his wheelhouse. Thank God he isn’t participating in Movember, because if he was twirling a moustache during this play, it would be an open and shut case.
Burrows’ reputation precedes him. That’s reason one.
The second reason is the photographic evidence, unveiled Monday evening by turncoat Kevin Vanstone of Canucks’ blog The Flying V.
As you can see, Burrows appears to be fiddling with something near the latch of the door, and the safe assumption is that it’s probably the latch. Granted, his arm is obscured, but this does look somewhat incriminating. What to make of this evidence?
Nothing. Burrows probably did unlatch the door intentionally.
That said, I don’t think he did it with malice in mind. His explanation of the play says as much, and no, I’m not talking about the part where he says that Winchester is a good friend of his — I’m talking about the line change. From the Province:
“It was a line change and at the last minute he got hit pretty good there and the door wasn’t closed completely,” said Canucks winger Alex Burrows. “He’s a Montreal guy and one of my friends so it’s a good thing he didn’t get hurt on the play.”
This hit comes at the tail-end of a 55-second shift for the trio of David Booth, Cody Hodgson, and Maxim Lapierre. It would stand as their longest of the first period. As the great Sam Cooke once said, a change is gonna come, and it’s mere moments from happening when Lapierre takes a run at Winchester.
You can see it, too. Take a look at the video again, but this time, watch to the right of the hit, as the next group pours onto the ice.
Considering most people think Burrows is the devil incarnate, it’s a tough sell, but I’d suggest that he’s unlatching the door not so that Jesse Winchester will fall in, but so that his teammates can walk in.Tags: Burrows, featured, Gate-gate, lawyering, Senators, This is Not a Story