TAMPA, Fla. — Sometimes, the playoffs simply bite.
That was the case for Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final, when he said “it felt like” Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw bit him in a post-whistle scrum.
“I have a little bruise,” Hedman said, “so maybe.”
Hedman didn’t miss a shift, and while the NHL looked into the incident, no hearing was scheduled for Shaw. The 23-year-old, affectionately called “The Mutt” by some teammates, is expected to play in Game 2 Saturday.
This is not the first time in recent playoff history that biting has come to the forefront.
Vancouver Canucks forward Alex Burrows bit Boston Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron’s left index finger in Game 1 of the 2011 final and was not disciplined.
“I don’t mind rough play and scrums at the end, as long as it’s just pushing and shoving and all that,” Bergeron said at the time. “But biting? I mean, come on.”
The Bruins are no strangers to biting incidents. Marc Savard, who was suspended a game for biting Darcy Tucker in 2003, was accused of biting Dan Carcillo’s finger during Boston’s 2010 series against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Carcillo called Savard “pretty cowardly.”
“Last time I have been bit was in grade school,” Carcillo said then. “It’s not a good feeling. … Guys don’t bite. Men don’t bite.”
Shaw hasn’t addressed the situation yet, but teammates said Thursday they knew nothing of what happened.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville also said he didn’t know anything and confirmed he’d never been bitten during his playing career.
“Nor did I bite anybody,” Quenneville said.
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Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press