Jordin Tootoo (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The Devils’ Jordin Tootoo said Canucks pesky winger Alexandre Burrows made “classless” remarks about Tootoo’s family and personal life while the two players were in the penalty box Sunday. Tootoo added he has no respect for Burrows and the league shouldn’t tolerate his alleged actions.
Vancouver’s Alexandre Burrows has a reputation of being one of the most difficult players in the NHL to play against. On top of his speed and ability to contribute offensively, the Canucks left winger has a penchant for being one of the more pesky players in the league. Jordin Tootoo said Burrows went too far Sunday night, though.
In the first period of Sunday’s game, Burrows and New Jersey’s Tootoo found themselves in the penalty box at the same time. Tootoo, who had taken a holding minor earlier in the period, was still serving his penalty when Burrows and Devils center Travis Zajac got into a shoving match that saw both whistled for roughing minors. Once Burrows was in the box, he could be seen shouting across to Tootoo and Zajac.
While it was unclear what Burrows said, Tootoo was clearly angered by it post-game, telling reporters that Burrows was out of line with his comments.
“Burrows, when we were in the penalty box, he said some personal remarks regarding my family and it's just unacceptable,” Tootoo told NorthJersey.com’s Tom Gulitti. “The penalty box guys even rolled their eyes like, 'Is this guy really saying this (expletive)?' I don't have any respect for him. I don't need an apology for him or nothing. It's just classless. We're all professionals and everyone fights a fight no one knows about and when you dive into personal issues, it's just classless. To me, that's cowardly.”
When reporters asked Tootoo for specifics, the Devils right winger wouldn’t reveal what was said by Burrows, and Gulitti reported Tootoo declined to confirm whether it was related to Tootoo’s heritage or “his family’s battles with alcoholism.” Tootoo told NJ.com's Rich Chere that the NHL, "shouldn't tolerate stuff like that.” Burrows did not comment post-game.
According to Rule 75.6 of the NHL rule book: “It is the responsibility of all game officials and all Club officials to send a confidential report to the Commissioner setting out the full details concerning the use of obscene gestures or language by any player, Coach or other team official. The Commissioner shall take such further disciplinary action as he shall deem appropriate.” There has been no indication at this time that officials working Sunday’s game, nor the Devils, have submitted a report to the league.
While a member of the Nashville Predators, Tootoo voluntarily entered the league’s substance abuse program to help him in his battle with alcoholism in December 2010. Tootoo has had to deal with the loss of his brother, Terrence, who committed suicide in 2002 at 22, which Tootoo talked about in his book All the Way: My Life on Ice.
In the second period, Tootoo took the ice to challenge Burrows to a fight, but he said that’s when Derek Dorsett stepped in. Tootoo and Dorsett exchanged blows and both were handed 10-minute misconducts for fighting before the puck had dropped.
"If you're going to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk,” Tootoo told Chere. “To make the remarks he did about my personal life and family is classless and unacceptable in this day and age. That’s why I went after him."
The Devils and Canucks meet again Nov. 22. Whether or not there’s more fallout from Burrows’ supposed remarks is yet to be seen, but it would be a safe bet that Tootoo won’t be forgetting it anytime soon.