Burrows scores for Canada in disappointing quarter-final loss to Slovakia

For a moment, it looked like Alexandre Burrows’ incredible story was going to have another amazing chapter. In Canada’s must-win quarter-final against Slovakia, Burrows scored his third goal of the tournament, putting Canada up 3-2. It looked like it might stand up as the game winner and carry Canada to the semi-final.

Instead, a series of poor decisions cost Canada the lead, then cost Canada the game.

Canada got in a hole in the first period. After a solid kill of an early Getzlaf penalty, led by two great clears and a takeaway at the blueline by Burrows, Tomas Kopecky opened the scoring for Slovakia with a tip in front of the net. Miroslav Satan extended the lead to 2, knocking down the puck with his hand, then batting it past Cam Ward.

Evander Kane scored before the end of the first to keep Canada close, then Jeff Skinner tied the game with a powerplay goal. All the momentum was going Canada’s way, until Skinner took a slashing penalty. After a brief 4-on-4, Burrows came out for the penalty kill and ended up playing for the entire kill as Slovakia kept the puck moving well around the zone, but couldn’t beat the penalty killers and Cam Ward.

Understandably exhausted after the long, energetic shorthanded shift, Burrows missed a shift with his regular linemates, Andrew Ladd and Ryan O’Reilly. He made the most of his next shift, however.

After Ladd made a strong move off the boards, he put the shot on net with Burrows screening. The rebound deflected to the sideboards, where Kris Russell moved down from the point and swung the puck back on net. Burrows outbattled his check, Rene Vydareny, and shoved the puck past goaltender Jan Laco for his 3rd goal in 4 games.

The camera once again found Burrows’ wife and daughter in the stands, this time sitting next to Elisha Cuthbert, who is, of course, best known for being Dion Phaneuf’s girlfriend. Apparently, she also acts.

Burrows came out with O’Reilly and Ladd to start the third period against Slovakia’s top line, as Brent Sutter looked to prevent Slovakia from tying the game. It was, however, the scoring lines that made the mental errors that gave Slovakia the opportunity to win.

First, after a fantastic and patient shift by Canada’s top line, Evander Kane attempted to force a pass in front of the net with no one in the slot to receive the pass. Slovakia went on the counterattack: Tomas Tatar backed off the Canadian defence with speed, before dropping the puck to Milan Bartovic, who got two chances on Cam Ward, scoring on the second.

Then Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took an undisciplined boarding penalty in the offensive zone with less than 5 minutes remaining. Burrows took the first shift on the important penalty kill and Canada managed to survive the 2 minutes. That’s when Ryan Getzlaf went knee-on-knee with Juraj Mikus, earning a 5-minute major and a game misconduct. While he clearly disagreed with the call, it was a blatant knee-on-knee that forced Mikus from the game.

Having to play the remainder of regulation shorthanded would have been bad enough, but Michal Handzus made it worse by scoring immediately, tipping Andrej Sekera’s point shot past Ward.

Despite Canada’s best efforts in the final minutes, including Burrows, who was one of the players put on the ice shorthanded to try to tie the game, Slovakia held on. For the third straight year, Canada has been eliminated from the World Championship in the quarter-finals.

While Alex Burrows can certainly be happy with his individual performance in this game, as he proved he belonged at this level and scored three times in limited action, he won’t be happy with the result. Canucks fans are well aware of how Burrows always puts the team first and this wasn’t the result Team Canada was hoping for.

I would say that I hope Burrows gets another chance at the World Championship, but that would be a lie: I hope that he never has the opportunity to play for Team Canada in this tournament again, thanks to year-after-year of long playoff runs by the Canucks. If the Canucks get knocked out early again in the future, however, Burrows should certainly get a call from Hockey Canada, as he has more than proven himself.

(Alexander Nemenov, Getty Images)

Tags: , , ,

17 comments

  1. jim
    May 17, 2012

    Burrows showed he belongs in the discussion for Team Canada in 2014. He doesn’t have a guaranteed spot by any means, but if Brendan Morrow can make the 2010 team, Burrows has a shot for 2014.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +59 (from 59 votes)
    • Abby W.
      May 17, 2012

      Can I double or triple ‘thumbs up’ this?

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +12 (from 14 votes)
  2. Andrew
    May 17, 2012

    Despite Burrows’ skill, I think this tournament illustrates why he should be a second or third liner on the Canucks. He’s been very effective with the Sedins but they’ve also shown an ability to dominate with other linemates. If Burrows can use his unique combination of speed, skill and defensive tenacity against the other teams top lines and weaker defensive pairing he’ll provide more depth for the Canucks – provided they find a suitable for replacement for him on the top line.

    I wouldn’t see this as a demotion – a third line of Burrows/Hansen/Lapierre would take a regular shift, generate chances and get under the opponents skin. Canucks could role three defensively responsible, offensively capable lines.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
    • Abby W.
      May 17, 2012

      Mm, that’s an interesting idea. I’d love to see that played with during the season to see how it works. Where do you think Higgy would slot in if Burr took his place on the 3rd line? I’m guessing he’s not a 1st liner, so he probably gets back on the 2nd line with Kes and Booth?

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
      • Andrew
        May 17, 2012

        To be honest with you, I forgot about Higgins. The problem with Higgins on the second line is the lack of playmakers. I’d like to see Kesler take a turn with the Sedins (despite his faceoff skill, his lack of playmaking is becoming an issue that might be solved by moving him back to the wing) and the Canucks acquire a playmaking center for the second line (Lecavalier for Luongo? J/k). Or give Booth a longer look on the top line.

        Sedin-Sedin-Kesler
        Booth-Lecavalier-Higgins
        Hansen-Lapierre-Burrows
        Kassian-Malhotra-???

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: -2 (from 2 votes)
        • APCanucks7
          May 17, 2012

          I’ll start this with the fact I love Kesler and I think he should be able to bounce back next season as long as he gets completely healthy and fit before coming back. But I totally agree that he should be moved to the wing, if for no other reason to see how it would work. He is a goal scorer and not a playmaker. That is why I found it frustrating, that especially with 5 legit centres, they never tried Cody in the middle with Booth and Kes. The game has evolved to the point that he could play ‘centre’ in the defensive zone and ‘wing’ on offense. He doesn’t need to lay centre to be a beast on d. Jere Lehtinen won the Selke 3 times as a winger, Kes could do the same.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
          • Dave Robinson (@dcrwrites)
            May 17, 2012

            The problem with putting Cody in the middle with Kes and Booth on the wings is that Cody couldn’t play well in many of the situations in which Kes was deployed.

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  3. Nee
    May 17, 2012

    Bummer. I was hoping that I’d get to see at least one Canuck play for a little longer. : (

    I’m proud of Burr though. He did well for Canada.

    So…is it October yet?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +24 (from 24 votes)
  4. FatMatt
    May 17, 2012

    Canada should stop losing in the quarter finals.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  5. Chris the Curmudgeon
    May 17, 2012

    Rene Vydareny, now there’s an ex-Canuck prospect you don’t hear much about. Kudos to Burrows, now let’s hope he’s never ever playing in this tournament ever again. And kudos to you guys, for actually watching this sorry excuse for a tournament and putting up with the unlistenable voice of Dave Randorf.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +8 (from 10 votes)
    • Kenji
      May 17, 2012

      Heh, Frosty Forst used to call him Dave Randork, ‘accidentally.’ I remember Vydareny, saw him on the ice at UBC. Big shoulders, moved well. In camp, unfortunately, he showed that he does not really do the whole ‘defence’ thing, a liability for a defenceman.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  6. sarah
    May 17, 2012

    To be fair, Elisha Cuthbert is really funny on Happy Endings.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
    • natevk
      May 17, 2012

      Agreed. Also, I’d say she’s best known for the Girl Next Door and being Jack Bauer’s daughter than for dating Double Dion but whatever. I met her last year at the WHC’s in Slovakia, she was really cool.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • Daniel Wagner
        May 17, 2012

        That part was definitely tongue in cheek.

        VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  7. the real bob
    May 17, 2012

    I usually call these 3rd period meltdowns, the “Brent Sutter Syndrome”

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  8. peanutflower
    May 17, 2012

    Burrows was great. He certainly deserves a look for 2014, that’s for sure. But to be fair, the Slovaks are playing for their national hero. I’m sure Pavol is in the front of every Slovak players’ mind in every game. Demitra was Slovakia’s Gretzky by all accounts and this will be the first tournament in a long time that he’s not playing, although I could stand to be corrected on that. That kind of intangible is pretty hard to beat.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
  9. Tom
    May 18, 2012

    Nice story.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +2 (from 4 votes)