NEW YORK—In response to critics calling on the NHL to suspend Canucks forward Alex Burrows for biting an opponent’s finger during the Stanley Cup Finals, league officials released a statement Tuesday saying that toothless hockey players gumming on one another is harmless and to be expected. “[Burrows] is going through a phase where his mouth is really hurting him, so it’s completely understandable that he would gum down on a competitor’s finger to get some relief,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, adding that most hockey players begin gumming on fellow competitors’ hands four to six months into the season. “Most of the time they’re not even angry when they do it. They’re just looking to explore. It’s actually kind of cute.” Bettman went on to say that the NHL “cares deeply” about athlete safety, and always makes sure not to leave any small objects around the ice that players could put into their mouths and choke on.