Breakdowning Alex Burrows’ 3-0 goal against the Wild

Breakdowning is a semi-regular feature on PITB wherein we take a single play from a game and break it down into its constituent parts to analyse it in detail. It’s also only three letters removed from being “breakdancing,” which is purely coincidental. Or is it? It is.

Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild was rife with wizardry, as the Sedins were in on three goals during the game, each of them magical. The first was a give-and-go that incredibly used the entire width of the ice and the second was off a sweet little tape-to-tape saucer pass from behind the net.

My favourite of the three, however, was the third goal, as it also involved the Sedins’ wizardous apprentice, Alex Burrows. The three of them managed to bewitch the Wild players into doing exactly what they wanted them to do, leading to a gorgeous goal by Burrows that sent Niklas Backstrom’s water bottle flying.

But why, exactly, were the Wild so befuddled? How did the Sedins and Burrows manage to score this fantastic goal?

Let’s start by identifying our players and the situation they’re in. Alex Edler has just turned the puck up ice and the Canucks are on the rush through the neutral zone. Things don’t look too bad for the Wild: Spurgeon and Scandella, who lead the Wild in icetime, are the two defencemen back and Gillies is on Daniel Sedin on the backcheck. They seem to be in good shape to handle the rush.

By the time the Canucks reach the Wild blueline, however, things have changed. The three Canucks have performed a simple criss-cross, but it seems to completely baffle Gillies, who has somehow let Daniel escape him. All is not lost, though: he just needs to skate hard to backcheck Daniel, as Scandella has Henrik and Spurgeon is watching Burrows.

Huh. That certainly doesn’t look like Gillies is backchecking Daniel. In fact, it looks like he’s going after Henrik, who Scandella has already moved towards. That doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea.

Turns out that it wasn’t a good idea. As soon as Henrik notices that Gillies has made a monumentally stupid play, he immediately feeds it to Daniel, who moves in with Burrows on a 2-on-1 against the 22-year-old Spurgeon. To his credit, Spurgeon knows the pass is coming. To his discredit, he has no idea when, and begins turning to check Burrows before Daniel has even passed the puck. So Daniel — stay with me here – doesn’t pass the puck.

At least, he doesn’t pass it right away. Instead, he toedrags it around Spurgeon who, having already committed to Burrows, awkwardly twists himself into a pretzel to try to get his stick in the way of the new passing lane that Daniel Sedin conjured out of nothing. That thing I circled there, the thing that Spurgeon is facing completely away from? That’s the puck. You usually want to be able to see where it is when you’re a defenceman.

Backstrom actually reads this play rather well; as Daniel passes it, he’s already sliding over to attempt the save off of Burrows.

Unfortunately for Backstrom, it’s not just anyone on the receiving end of that Daniel Sedin pass. It’s Alex “Apprentice Wizard” Burrows. The result? A popped water bottle. In the words of Magnitude: “Pop pop.”

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11 comments

  1. Zach Morris
    December 20, 2011

    Next road hockey game, I’m trying this.
    Thanks, PITB!

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    Rating: +8 (from 10 votes)
  2. J21
    December 20, 2011

    Rife with wizardry indeed. Last night’s game was off the charts in terms of “pretty goal quotient” (quite literally, since dividing 4 by zero gives you infinity… and I feel that would be off the charts).

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    Rating: +18 (from 18 votes)
    • Qris Johnson
      December 20, 2011

      You fool! You divided by zero! OH SHI-

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      Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
  3. Tengeresz
    December 20, 2011

    I love this feature as much as I loved that goal (that is: a LOT).

    Even though I’ve been watching a lot of (and a playing a little) hockey my whole life, the speed and skill of the game is too much to fully appreciate at first viewing. The reason we call it wizardry is that we literally can’t see everything that happens at full speed; we just see the result.

    Beer does not help.

    Reading your breakdowns does help. Knowing the details that made the magic happen adds to my enjoyment of the game, much more than just watching replays and highlights.

    Keep up the good work.

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    Rating: +30 (from 30 votes)
  4. tCL of OTP
    December 20, 2011

    This feature, along with IWTG and Drance’s numbers, really differentiate this blog; please keep up the great work – this is a terrific feature.

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    Rating: +21 (from 21 votes)
  5. Justin
    December 20, 2011

    Loving the tags on the pictures, especially burrows’ “oh man this is going to be great” and “ohh soo great”! Lololol sooo good!!!! Please don’t stop being witty and hilarious otherwise I think I’d stop enjoying hockey as much as I’ve enjoyed it thus far

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    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
    • peanutflower
      December 20, 2011

      “no one cares about you.” That’s my favourite. No one cares about you, but just watch what we’re going to do to your team mates. haha. This is hilarious. It just makes the Sedins and Burrows seem all that much more talented when it’s explained like this.

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      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  6. PITBFan
    December 20, 2011

    The only thing I love more than your normal PITB columns are your Breakdowning PITB columns. They make my head explode!

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    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  7. Kevin
    December 20, 2011

    The third goal was pretty, But the wizardry in the first goal was overlooked – Henrik bewitched all three Wild defenders into forgetting that he was there, so he could glide over to the net for the tap-in.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 20, 2011

      Totally. I think there’s some confusion over which of them is supposed to take Ryan Kesler, and they both do. But that confusion is the result of A WIZARDLY SPELL.

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      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  8. Kate
    December 20, 2011

    Haha ‘waterbottle’. I was watching on a mediocre stream trying to figure out what that was til Shorthouse filled us in. Is it me or is there more Jan in your headers now? His friendly little smile popping in makes me smile too.

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