Burrows scores his first ever goal for Team Canada (in ice hockey)

The last time Alex Burrows scored a goal for Team Canada, he wasn’t wearing skates. Burrows was one of the best ball hockey players of all time, renowned for his offensive skill and on-ice vision, to the point that he was apparently called “The Goalmaker” by his ball hockey brethren.

On Friday morning, he made another goal happen, the first ever in his international career in ice hockey. In his first game since suffering a head injury against Slovakia, Burrows scored Canada’s first goal of the game, turning the tide against a Finnish team that was dominant early on home ice.

Burrows was the last forward added to the Canadian roster, likely for his ability to play a strong defensive role while still having solid offensive instincts and skill. He played both roles perfectly against Finland.

Since he was coming off an injury, Burrows played limited minutes, particularly early in the game. Since teams are allowed to dress 13 forwards and 7 defencemen in international play, Burrows rotated with Teddy Purcell and Andrew Ladd on a fourth line with Ryan O’Reilly. In addition, Burrows took the shortest shifts on Team Canada, averaging just 31 seconds per shift.

Burrows’ first shift didn’t come until 6 minutes into the game, after Finland opened the scoring on a Kyle Quincey turnover in the neutral zone. He took just a couple more shifts in the first period, skating briefly on the penalty kill and taking a start in the defensive zone that his line transitioned into a scoring chance that Burrows put wide of the net. He played just 1:30 in the first period and said in a first intermission interview on TSN that he “felt great.”

If that is all that came of this game for Burrows, Canucks fans could be thrilled that he was healthy and playing without any ill effects. But Burrows wasn’t done.

Down 2-0 after the first period, Team Canada needed a spark. Burrows came out with O’Reilly and Ladd, a line that could provide that spark with their physicality. Instead, O’Reilly sent the puck behind the net to Burrows, Ladd went hard to the net to take the defenceman out of the play, and Burrows wheeled out in front, unimpeded. Burrows made no mistake. His shot was perfectly placed, one foot off the ice, off the post, and in.

Unfortunately, the only available video is from TSN and their videos are not embeddable. You can see the goal starting at the 1:45 mark of the TSN highlight package.

We tend to reiterate Burrows’ humble beginnings a lot here on PITB, because his story is truly remarkable. He started as an undrafted ECHL player who starred in ball hockey during the off-season. He just scored a goal for Team Canada against Finland, last year’s World Champions and bronze medal winners at the 2010 Olympics.

Canada had major discipline issues in this game, taking 6 penalties. On one of them, Jussi Jokinen restored the 2 goal lead just 2 minutes after Burrows got Canada on the board. Canada tied up the game, however, by the end of the second period on goals from John Tavares and Jeff Skinner. Skinner’s goal was a beauty, as he got Kari Lehtonen down with a fake shot, before pulling the puck around the net with a backhanded wraparound.

Burrows ice time increased throughout the game as his puck pursuit and strong defensive play gave coach Brent Sutter plenty of reason to trust him. He played 2:55 in the second period, then 3:56 in the third, as Canada went up 4-3 on a one-timer from Evander Kane. Most importantly, Burrows was on the ice for 2 shifts with less than 2 minutes remaining to help seal the victory.

While Burrows played just 8:21, he was an essential part of Canada’s victory and showed that he belongs on the national team. With his strong performance at both ends of the ice, it seems likely that he’ll get more ice time throughout the rest of the tournament, particularly in tight games where his defensive responsibility will be highly prized.

Just to recap: Alex Burrows, who the rest of the NHL seems to see as an agitator who is just lucky to play with the Sedins, scored a fantastic goal for Team Canada.

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16 comments

  1. Nee
    May 11, 2012

    Huzzah!

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    Rating: +27 (from 27 votes)
  2. Abby
    May 11, 2012

    “Alex Burrows, who the rest of the NHL seems to see as an agitator who is just lucky to play with the Sedins, scored a fantastic goal for Team Canada.”

    He’s so much more than an agitator, and he’s proven it.

    I saw a tweet by someone during the game today to the effect that they weren’t going to cheer for Team Canada because Burrows was on the team. He still gets a bad rap regardless of how he plays, which is too bad because he has proven himself as more than just an agitator.

    I love his Cinderella story of humble beginnings. Hopefully one day that’ll come full circle and he’ll be the undrafted Quebecois with his name on – you know.

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    Rating: +38 (from 40 votes)
  3. Kit
    May 11, 2012

    My Blackhawks fan girlfriend emailed me to tell me about the goal, because she is awesome(despite her questionable taste in hockey teams).

    So thrilled for Burrows. Now he just needs his name engraved on that shiny silver thing that shall not be named.

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    Rating: +22 (from 22 votes)
    • Steven Ray Orr
      May 11, 2012

      Just to clarify, we’re back to being superstitious right? After these last two years, I don’t know whether I need to knock on wood or proudly decree whom will drink from Lord Stanley’s Cup.

      I blame the Stanchion.

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      Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  4. Brent
    May 11, 2012

    Nice to see, so happy for Burrows!

    Unfortunately, it won’t shut up most of the haters, cause they…..well they just have to hate.

    Lets hope he gets a bit more ice time and scores some more! Hope he kept the puck.

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    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  5. Canucksgold
    May 11, 2012

    Way to go Burr! He is my favourite player, despite his bad rep. Burrows deserves every success for all his hard work and overcoming adversity.

    Thanks PITB for reporting– made my day!

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    Rating: +15 (from 15 votes)
  6. Peanutflower
    May 11, 2012

    Well, honestly, why does Alex even have a bad reputation anyway? It’s all part of a mass mainstream media brainwash, I swear it is. If someone stuck their fingers in my mouth I’d sure be chomping down in reflex. Alex MF Burrows deserves to have his name on that bright shiny thing, yes, he does.

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    Rating: +22 (from 24 votes)
  7. sarah
    May 11, 2012

    YAY! So happy for Burr! Love that guy. I’m going to have to change in the my Burr shirt as soon as I get home.

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  8. bearspaw
    May 11, 2012

    Awesome game! The announcers were talking about how much Burrows wanted to be there, that lots of others would have gone home instead of working through the concussion protocol. He’s the kind of player you want on your team, proudly wearing the Hockey Canada jersey and playing for his country. Thanks for a great post PITB. Go Team Canada!

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    Rating: +26 (from 26 votes)
  9. bea
    May 11, 2012

    I screamed so loud when he scored that goal. Not just because Canada was down 2 goals but because Alex Burrows scored his first goal for Canada. So proud of him.

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    Rating: +16 (from 16 votes)
  10. AJ
    May 11, 2012

    I could not wait to see you score a goal and you did. You made us all so proud. The goal was awesome and the first in the game that gave the team some life. You deserve to be on the Canadian Team. Bring back a medal. Go-Alex-Go!

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    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  11. Dan D
    May 11, 2012

    I don’t have anything new to add, I’m just super-excited for Burrows! Way to go!
    Thanks for posting about this!

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    Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
  12. tom selleck's moustache
    May 11, 2012

    “Just to recap: Alex Burrows, who the rest of the NHL seems to see as an agitator who is just lucky to play with the Sedins, scored a fantastic goal for Team Canada.”

    Love this line. Making Team Canada, coming back from injury, then scoring a goal while letting his hard work and ethic win the coaches’ trust (hmm, where have we seen this before?), it’s great to see and I’m really happy for him.

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    Rating: +20 (from 20 votes)
  13. Karen
    May 12, 2012

    This was the moment I was hoping/waiting for. I have been a huge Burrows fan from his first season with the Canucks. Loved the story, loved her personality and never-quit work ethic. What a deserving honour for him. BURRRRRR!

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  14. CanuckHero
    May 15, 2012

    Burrows ice time increased throughout the game #hardhittinganalysis

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
    • Daniel Wagner
      May 15, 2012

      Oh gosh, that does sound dumb. I meant that he received more ice time each period. Sheesh.

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      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)