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.Tags: Alex Burrows, Burrows, Team Canada, World Championship