Fire&Ice - “Burrows when we were in the penalty box, he said some personal remarks regarding my family and it’s just unacceptable,” Tootoo told Tom Gulitti of Fire and Ice.
“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.”
“Back your (talk) up. Fight your own battles,” Tootoo said. “That's why Dorsett came over. … If he wants to talk the talk, he's got to be able to walk the walk. He told me he's given me one opportunity before and I didn't take it.”
Tootoo would not say specifically what Burrows said to him. When asked if Burrows brought up his Inuit heritage or his and his family’s battles with alcoholism, Tootoo replied, “I’m not going to get into it. You can ask him about it. He knows what he said and it’s just BS.”
I don't want to sound too hypocritical here, because I generally believe that no insult is too taboo while within the unfriendly confines of a hockey rink. With that said, NHL players are part of a fraternity, and as much as they hate each other sometimes, they should still respect one another. Alex Burrows presumably using Jordin Tootoo's well documented struggles with alcohol abuse, or potentially disparaging his family, as a way to get under his skin breaks that extremely loose code of ethics. I am not saying it's the worst thing that's been ever uttered on the ice. I am not saying that Alex Burrows should be reprimanded for it. I am just saying that bringing up a personal issue that, at one time, jeopardized Tootoo's livelihood breaks the unwritten rules of trash talk. He could have called him literally any name in the book, or threatened to kill him, or told him how much he sucks, but once you take it well beyond the boards then you've gone too far.
Honestly, I don't even think it's so much what was said, but who said it. Something tells me that Jordin Tootoo isn't the sensitive type. I would think he would be willing to let an inappropriate insult go in one ear and out the other if he thought the person using it didn't mean anything by it. However, Alex Burrows has a very checkered past when it comes to stepping over the line. Whether it's the time he bit Patrice Bergeron's finger while in a scrum, or it was the time that he cross checked Phil Kessel in the face while he was wearing a protective face shield, Alex Burrows very clearly doesn't realize that there are just some things you don't do. Being a repeat offender of such things means they weren't purely incidental. The list of shit that you can get away with saying or doing during a hockey game is extensive. To have a track record of stepping outside of those, ridiculously liberal, bounds isn't just disingenuous, it's disrespectful to the game. At the end of the day these remarkably talented athletes with insanely tough exteriors have families to go home to, lives to live, and problems to solve. A lot of things get said in the heat of the moment, but if you can't keep your shit talk within the parameters of human decency then you deserve everything that comes your way. In this case that might be a good old fashioned ass whooping at the hands of Jordin Tootoo come November 22nd. Don't run and hide this time Alex. You bought this heat to your doorstep and now it's time to face the firing squad.