Welcome to the back half of Alex Burrows’ entry in the PITB Every Goal series. Yesterday we looked at goals 1-13 in Burrows’s 2010-11 season. Today we’ll look at goals 14 – 26, and you’ll see all sorts of crazy things: ridiculous passing plays, odd-man rushes, that backhand move that always works for some reason, more hustle than a Cassidy video, and empty net goals galore. Galore! And if, for whatever reason, you don’t fully understand what Alex Burrows brings to the Canucks, you’ll have a pretty good idea by the time you’re finished.
It would be a mistake to assume that Burrows is just a tap-in artist or a pylon for the Sedins to bank pucks off of, and it’s the mistake that Chris Phillips and Mike Fisher here. Burrows’s 14th of the season — and 5th in 6 games — comes when, after a series of passes between Burr and Henrik along the wall, Fisher gets fed up and gets between them like a kindergarten teacher breaking up a scuffle. Then, assuming that Burrows has no other option but to move the puck to Daniel, Chris Phillips vacates his post in front of the net to cut off said pass. However, this decision generously leaves Burrows with a free path to the goal, and he tucks the puck therein.
Burrows continues his early February hot streak here, scoring his 100th career goal the same way he scored most of the previous 99: on a feed from Henrik Sedin’s spring cottage in the trapezoid. You’d think, by now, the down-low defenders would know not to vacate the posts, so what’s Corey Perry doing? The mistake comes when he takes a quick look to see where Alex Burrows is. It’s not the look that does him in, however, but what he sees: Burrows, usually directly in front fighting for space, is actually on his way out of the area. Seeing this, Perry decides it’s okay to chase, but, as soon as he comes around the side of the net, Burrows darts into the open area and Henrik sends his pass out the other side. Nice bit of mind-effery from Burr. Also, take a movement to appreciate Daniel Sedin’s pass to set Henrik up perfectly behind the net. What a bank. That’s all I need to see to know one should never ever go mini-golfing with the Sedins.
Burrows is the recipient of another pretty pass in tight for this powerplay goal, but for once it’s not the Sedins. It’s Mason Raymond, who shows off some fancy stickwork in close before threading the puck through to Burrows for the tap-in. Raymond’s a fairly skilled dangler, when he wants to be. I just want him to want to be more often. Manny Malhotra’s backhand pass to set him up isn’t too shabby, either.
Burr scores the empty-netter in the same game with some hard work in the neutral zone, beating Mark Giordano to the puck twice to put the game away. The first time comes when the puck lands between them in the neutral zone, and Burrows hacks the puck towards the boards. Then, he takes advantage of Giordano’s leisurely turn, sprinting onto the puck and again hacking it away, this time towards the open goal. That’s some quality hacking, Burr. Angelina Jolie’s got nothin’ on you.
Here’s another empty-netter courtesy of some hard work, as Burrows ices a game versus the Los Angeles Kings with a pretty backhand from centre ice. He does well to gain the red line while avoiding the check of Jack Johnson, going wide and keeping his legs moving to create some distance.
Not only does Burrows put this one off the corner of the post and in, but he brilliant fights off Dany Heatley to do it. At this point, these goals are automatic, but Burrows’ chemistry with the Sedins isn’t magic — it’s the result of hard work. We were at this game and, down by the glass for the pregame shootaround, we noticed that Burrows has one practice drill unique to him: after everyone else is done shooting, two of his teammates camp out in the trapezoid and feed him puck after puck while he races to put every one top corner. Gee, why do you think he does this? It was incredible to see the drill have such a direct payoff. Also of note: as usual, Daniel Sedin’s pass is ridiculous. He waits for Douglas Murray to lunge at him, then puts the puck between Murray’s skates and right onto Burr’s stick. And he doesn’t have to worry about Dany Heatley stopping the pass; he’s too busy swordfighting Alex Burrows with his back to the play.
Burrows reaches 20 goals for the third consecutive season by finishing off a strong shift in the offensive zone, redirecting Daniel’s “point shot” past Miikka Kiprusoff. I put “point shot” in quotes because it’s clear from the reverse angle that Daniel shot wide, with the tip fully in mind. It’s a pass. Watch Burrows get shaded well outside the crease by Matt Stajan, only to dart back in once Stajan thinks the job is finished. It’s like killing a housefly with the back door open.
Another day, another goal from the crease for Burrows, who bangs home a rebound on the backhand after Henrik Sedin’s one-timer is stopped by Brian Elliott. Watch the sweet spin move Burrows makes on John-Michael Liles to gain inside position on in the crease. Seriously, who does that? Great play by Dan Hamhuis on this goal, as he fires a point shot off the faceoff, then chases down the rebound, takes it around the net, and sets up Henrik for the initial shot.
Burrows’s checking ability makes him the ideal winger to ice for those empty-net shifts late in games, which is why this goal is Burrows’s third empty-netter of the season. Uncharacteristically, the shot comes from his own side of the center — well inside the Canucks’ blueline, even — but Vancouver’s on a penalty kill. Apart from the hair-pulling, biting and groin-spearing, he’s a consummate professional.
I’ve marveled at this goal a number of times — namely, right after it was scored and also when we named it the second best instance of Sedinery from last season — but it’s perfection still surprises me every time I see it. This passing play, which goes around the net, from Daniel to Henrik to Burrows, takes one second. One. Second. And yet there’s so much to marvel at: the way Daniel draws Shea Weber behind the net by standing perfectly still until Weber charges at him; the way he moves the puck past Weber, to Henrik, with a no-look bank pass; the way Henrik uses Ryan Suter’s stick as a ramp for his backhand saucer pass; the way Burrows bats it in out of mid-air. Wondering why it’s so hard to score on the Nashville Predators? Because this is what it takes.
Or this. Here’s the first showing of Alex Burrows’s patented backhand deke, a staple around these parts. Burrows famously used this same deke to break the Canucks’ 10-game winless slump three seasons ago, and he uses it here to break a 1-1 tie late in a game with the Predators. It’s a great pass by Daniel to thread the puck through Weber and Suter to spring him, but the best pass of the play is Henrik’s no-look backhand to Daniel.
Burrows often benefits from the perception that he’s just an enabler for the Sedins, especially on two-on-ones, where it’s assumed he’ll pass off to whichever Sedin he’s in with. Not unlike his fourth goal of the season, in which he catches Miikka Kiprusoff cheating on an expected feed to Daniel Sedin, Burr surprises Devan Dubnyk here, snapping a shot far side, underneath the blocker. Dubnyk was likely thinking pass.
Burrows’s final goal of the 2010-11 season didn’t get nearly the press it deserved. On first glance, it looks as though Daniel Sedin’s wrist shot merely deflects off Burr and into the goalmouth, where the Canucks’ winger taps in it, but that’s not entirely accurate. In truth, Daniel’s Sedin’s shot is actually a waist-level pass, and this is a heady and well-executed set play that takes advantage of Burrows’s ability to catch and drop pucks for quick shots. We took a full post to examine this goal the day after it was scored, and we suggest you take a look.
Previous entries in the Every Goal 2010-11 series:
Tags: Burrows, burrows can catch, Every Goal 10-11, featured, Wizardous Sedinerie