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Canucks, HNIC staff to meet over Burrows criticism Add to ...

The Vancouver Canucks plan to meet with staff of the CBC's Hockey Night in Canada over its criticism of Alex Burrows, general manager Mike Gillis said Tuesday.

Gillis wouldn't say what approach the Canucks will take after host Ron MacLean criticized the Canuck winger after he said NHL referee Stephane Auger was out to get him.

"I apologize but I really don't want to say what the factors are that we're considering," Gillis said as he watched the Canucks practise. "We're going to meet with them and we're going to see what their reaction is and go from there."

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The Canucks have solidly backed Burrows and refused CBC interview requests during Saturday night's 5-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks as a form of protest.

A team spokesman said the meeting is planned for Friday when the Canucks are in Toronto but might have to be conducted by phone. HNIC staff would be in several remote locations because of the program's Hockey Day In Canada special that features three games involving Canadian teams.

Tuesday, on Vancouver's Team 1040 AM radio station, Gillis said that the CBC asked for the meeting, and that the team would likely drop its HNIC boycott, imposed Saturday, so long as it receives assurances that its players and officials will be treated fairly by the broadcaster. Gillis said he was unsure if MacLean would participate in the session, but that the team was not looking to extract an apology from the award-winning host.

The Canucks play the Maple Leafs in the first game of Vancouver's pre-Olympic eight-game, 18-day road trip.

Burrows, who is currently on a 12-game points streak, said Auger approached him during the warm-up prior to a 3-2 loss to Nashville on Jan. 11.

The Vancouver forward said the official told him he would "get him back" for embarrassing Auger by embellishing a major penalty to Predator Jarred Smithson the last time the two clubs met.

Smithson also received a game misconduct which the league later rescinded.

In the Jan. 11 game, Burrows was called for diving, interference and unsportsmanlike conduct and assessed a 10-minute misconduct.

He was in the penalty box for interference and the Canucks down two men late in the game when the winning goal was scored.

MacLean took Burrows to task in a pre-game segment Jan. 16 and showed incidents of Burrows embellishing penalty calls, spearing, punching and trash-talking to an opponent.

The Gemini Award-winning commentator, who is a certified referee, said he doubted an NHL official would tell a player he wanted to exact revenge for duping him into a penalty.

Canuck coach Alain Vigneault defended his player when he appeared on the CBC's After Hours show following MacLean's comments and the Canucks' 6-2 win over Pittsburgh.

Burrows has said he appreciates the backing from team management and players but also wants to move on from the controversy.

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