Big, timely goals. Great defensive play. A bit of sandpaper to his game. And that celebration, always remembering a fallen teammate and friend. He was truly Mr. Everything to the Canucks.
There may not be a more polarizing figure in hockey than Alexandre Burrows, and there’s no shortage of players, media or fans who would love to let you know what they think about him. Those people can go kick rocks. This is about a guy who gave his heart, soul and a hell of a lot of blood and sweat for this team. His story would probably be immortalized if he played for a team that isn’t cool to hate. And the Sedins went from Stars to Superstars with him on their wing. Welcome back, Burr.
Forget about the negative things, which were as much a creation of media looking for a narrative (with some good ol’ fashioned Don Cherry-style xenophobia thrown in) than anything. This is a guy who never should have been here in the first place, but worked his ass off, and made every opportunity he was given. Undrafted, he battled his way through the ECHL, to the AHL and a tryout with the Manitoba Moose before finally getting the call up to the Canucks. He never looked back.
Was he an irritating player to go up against? Yes. Did he cross the line at times? Yes. I will stop at saying he was dirty though, because the evidence simply doesn’t support it, save for 2 incidents in his career. And if you still believe you wouldn’t bite down on someone if they jammed their fingers in your mouth, you’re a liar.
No, tonight we’re gonna talk about why we gave him that nickname around these parts. He could play with the Sedins, and after what seemed like a revolving door of players that just didn’t click with them, they had a winger that could do what all the others before him could not: think like them. While he was not as skilled as them, he could read the plays, and learned how to anticipate their moves, helping create distractions when they needed it, and being open when they drew defenders away.
His penalty killing was ferocious, and was always a threat to score short-handed. He had great wheels, and left us with a fond remembrance of some great breakaway goals. And in OT, he may be remembered as one of the best this team’s ever seen. The great thing about the NHL playoffs is the OT heroes aren’t always the best players. Guys like Bob Nystrom became household names by scoring big goals in OT. Alex Burrows was like that, scoring maybe not the biggest OT goal in team history, but definitely the most dramatic, and most emotional.
Here’s a look back at some of the best moments of a guy who should be in the Ring Of Honour when he hangs ‘em up.
At the end of the day, Burrows secured his place in Canuck history. We know what he meant to the team, and all you need to do is ask the Sedins how they feel about their former linemate to realize what he meant to this team. Thank you, Mr. Everything. You gave us your all, and we will never forget that.