Alexandre Burrows did not deny it Thursday night, that sickening thing he had said to Patrick O’Sullivan on the ice —twice.
O’Sullivan, who was verbally and physically abused for years by his father, revealed on Twitter Thursday that Burrows had used his past to threaten him on the ice when the two were opponents.
“Burrows only guy who said he wanted to hurt me like me father did — why I can’t stand him,” O’Sullivan tweeted. “Right to my face, twice actually. Once in the minors and once in Vancouver early in my career.”
After the Vancouver Canucks‘ loss to the Flyers in Philadelphia Thursday, Burrows apologized publicly via reporters.
“I see that it was bigger than what I really thought back then," Burrows said.
“I apologize if I offended him back then. Especially when I first came in [to the NHL], I was playing six or seven minutes a night on the fourth line and I wanted to help any way I could. And if I could get one guy off his game and get in someone’s kitchen, I was willing to do it to help our team or maybe get [us] on the power play. He was a great player. He was one of those guys who could score a lot of goals. He was flashy, he had good hands."
O’Sullivan played in the NHL from 2006 to 2012. He released a book this year detailing the abuse he suffered as his father tried to drive him to become an elite hockey player.
“For sure, sometimes I tried to get in his kitchen and get him off his game. Back then, I didn’t know the magnitude of it. I read his story on The Players’ Tribune last week, and I saw how bad he had it. It’s tough to see for sure. I think I’ve matured a lot. I grew as a player and a person and in today’s society, for sure, it’s something I’ve got to be careful [about]. I wouldn’t cross that line now.”
The NHL met with Burrows last month regarding a separate taunting incident.
New Jersey's Jordin Tootoo claimed Burrows made disparaging comments about his “personal life and family” during a game in November.
Tootoo said the remarks were “classless and unacceptable in this day and age.” He said he challenged Burrows to a fight and Burrows declined.
“I have no respect for that guy,” Tootoo said about Burrows. “Nor should the NHL. They shouldn’t tolerate stuff like that.”