Forget what others tell you. If you've been a fan of this team, you know what Alexandre Burrows has meant to the Canucks over the years. There was a reason we called him Mr. Everything in these parts. He made his mark on the team the way he managed to get out of the ECHL and all the way to the NHL: Hard work every shift. While his skills seem to have taken a pretty drastic nosedive over the last two years, there have been rumblings that his time here may soon come to an end. Even though we all knew the possibility existed, it was a line in the CDC game preview that really hit home:
The expected return of Henrik Sedin tonight will mean one forward will come out of the line-up, likely either Alex Burrows or Brendan Gaunce.
He has gone from playing on the top line to potential healthy scratch, and while it may not happen, I do think it's time we start giving this man, so often maligned by those outside this fan base, a little show of appreciation.
Let's start with some of the obvious stuff. It's been said you could put anyone on the wing with Henrik and Daniel Sedin and they'd put up points, but of all the linemates they've had over the years, there's never been a better fit than Burrows. When this line was at their best, he was truly in sync with them. No one lasted in that spot as long as him, and it gave him the opportunity to show that he's far more than just an agitator.
He has been a fixture on the PK pretty much since being called up from the Manitoba Moose. His tenacious forechecking lead to many a turnover and some memorable breakaway shorties. And goals? He's scored some of the biggest in franchise history. 3 OT winners in the playoffs, 2 of them series clinchers. I don't want to talk about the guy like he's retiring or something, but I just feel that unlike some guys who spent time with this club and then move on (and maybe he won't, who knows) there was something different about Burr. Unlike Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa, he wasn't a draft pick that panned out well. He was a walk on in the ECHL, who battled hard enough to get a look from the Canucks' AHL team in Winnipeg, and from there impressed them enough to get a contract offer. From there, he got that call up, never to go back to minors, and recently played his 750th NHL game. It's an impressive stat for anyone, even more so considering his journey.
I personally don't care for those who only see the negatives in Burr's time here, simply because the outrage is often manufactured due to the crest on his jersey or that he's a Quebec native. Your team would have been lucky to have him in his prime, and maybe he can help a team with a fresh start next season if he's not still here in a leadership role for the youth movement. Either way, unlike the departures of the aforementioned Kesler and Bieksa, the day Burrows is no longer a Canuck is one that will be sad in my eyes. He's given everything he had to this team, and never truly gotten the credit he deserves.
A memorable moment from Burr's career was a goal that he scored late in a game to break a horrendous losing streak the team was on. Alex mimicked snapping his stick over his knee to mock the breaking of that skid, and perhaps they'll see something like that tonight as another foe rolls into town with a streak on the line, much like the Canadiens and Panthers did earlier this season. Nashville hasn't lost in regulation in 14, a franchise record, and despite the desires of #TeamTank, this one has Canucks win written all over it, if for no other reason than that's just the way things have gone this season.
One thing that is different tonight, is Jake Virtanen slotting in on the wing with the Sedins. Virtanen's been a revelation of late, consistently being one of, if not the best player on the ice for the Canucks each night. Willie Desjardins stated that Jake would get a look at how he would perform with the Twins, and it looks like tonight will be his first chance. Virtanen's speed and ability to get open should serve him well, and I won't be shocked to see him score tonight.
It's going to be Pekka Rinne against the Canucks tonight for Nashville, who much like LA's Jonathan Quick, really has the Canucks' number. No word on who is starting as yet for Vancouver, but you shouldn't be surprised if they go back to Jacob Markstrom, who was solid against Arizona the other night.
FRESH HOT LINKS
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- Is Vancouver Giants F Ty Ronning on the Canucks' radar?
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Old school Danish thrashers ARTILLERY have a new album coming out in 2 weeks on Metal Blade Records. Here's the first track off 'Penalty By Perception'.
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