Like Judy from “Family Matters”, Alex Burrows is best known for going upstairs. (Okay, maybe not best-known. You might remember him from such shenanigans as biting a guy, kneeing a guy in the groin, pulling a guy’s hair, getting revenged upon by an official, or taunting Mike Richards by miming a little recreational drug use. But after those incidents, Burrows’s forehand-backhand-roof deke totally has to be one of the first things that comes to mind.)
Burrows’s trusty forehand-backhand deke, which he uses so often we’ve taken to calling “Blue steel”, has resulted in some of the clutchiest clutch goals in Canucks’ history. Streak-breakers versus the Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings come to mind, but those are just two of sixteen times Burrows has turned on the red light with blue steel in his NHL career, according to blogging newcomers Bure’s Triple Deke.
But the gents at BTD didn’t just count them up: they compiled them in your must-watch Youtube video of the day.
Yeah, it’s pretty effective.
Now, Burrows can score with other moves. In a shootout loss to the LA Kings on January 17th, for instance, he scored by weaving left to right on Jonathan Quick before going forehand. Of course, it’s still a little strange when he doesn’t use the move, so after the game, I asked him if he had chosen to go off-book because he thought goalies might be getting wise to it.
He said it didn’t matter if they were. “I’m sure goalies have seen clips of it. Personally, I think if I execute it like I can, it’s a tough move to stop.”
Burrows isn’t just being overconfident. Cory Schneider, who usually plays goal, agrees.
“When you get a lefty coming down on you, when he comes in on his off-side, you have to protect low blocker because a lot of lefties like that spot,” he said. “I think Burr is not afraid to shoot there either so you if you are cheating to his backhand, he can keep you honest by either going there or going five-hole. So he sells that low blocker shot well and you have to commit to it. But I think, above all else, he gets his backhand up. He’s able to elevate the puck and a lot of guys don’t have that ability and they kind of put it right into your pad. But Burr is always able to get it up two or three feet in a place where it’s hard to get.”
In other words, it’s a great shot, and the only way to be sure you can stop it is to commit to stopping it. But that’s easier said than done when there are other options.
“The best moves require two options,” said Kevin Woodley of InGoal magazine. “What Burrows has is he keeps it on the forehand so long and he approaches with speed. Goalies have to honour that shot. They can’t cheat. We all know what’s coming, but they can’t cheat too much, or he’ll be able to shoot stick side.”
But it all comes back to that shot.
“Now, the whole key to why he scores is he gets it up on the backhand. As a goaltender, at that point, it’s a pretty low number of guys in the league that would be able to make a fast enough rotation and recovery push to get their whole body across to match the speed with which he’s approaching and brings it across on his forehand to the backhand. You’ll never be able to slide your whole body across, so basically, all you’ve got is that pad… If you can get it over that 11 inches, you’re set. Some guys will be able to stack a glove on it, but that still leaves 24 inches of net and Burrows is pretty good at getting it over even that.”
Woodley added that, in order for the move to be truly effective, “eventually, you have to show the other option.” Keep that in mind the next time you’re upset with Burrows for mixing it up.
s/t to Canucks Army for the tip, and Elliott Pap for being a team player.Tags: Alex Burrows, blue steel, The YouTubes