The Paper Feature: Winners and losers of Alex Burrows’ broken jaw

The Paper Feature will run every Wednesday in the Vancouver Sun’s print edition, as well as online here at Pass it to Bulis. (It’s called the Paper Feature for what we hope are obvious reasons.) 


After his 49th shot on goal failed to get past a goaltender, you have to assume Alex Burrows headed back to the bench, thinking, “There’s absolutely no way that this can get any worse.”

And then Chris Tanev hit him in the side of the face with a puck.

Burrows left the game, blood pooling in his mouth, and got what he thought was a lucky break, with the doctor in Raleigh telling him that all he had done was bust up a couple of teeth. But on Monday night, a second opinion revealed that learned that he’d actually gotten an unlucky break. The puck had broken his jaw.

Suffice it to say, this is bad news for a number of reasons. But, as with all moments of misfortune, there are opportunities for a few folks to benefit. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers of the latest turn in Alex Burrows’ nightmare season.


See, because he broke his jaw. Now, it’s not always the end of the world — after all, Kanye West turned a broken jaw into a pretty successful rap career. Now he’s rich and insane.

But don’t expect Burrows to start rapping through the wire. And for a guy that comes into this injury with no goals, this really isn’t ideal. Just ask David Booth how difficult it is to bump a slump when you’re constantly dealing with injuries.

Even worse is that the injury prevented Burrows from enjoying a veritable seafood feast with his teammates in Nashville.

“I had like 10 crab cakes, lobster bisque and I had some linguini with tomato and ground beef sauce,” Burrows told Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy. “I had super-small bites because I couldn’t chew at all so I would stuff tiny pieces and just swallow them. So frustrating when guys around are having the big surf and turf.”


Burrows has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to Canucks fans. Sure, he may not be scoring now, but this is the guy that slayed the dragon, transmogrified into the third Sedin, and once scored hat tricks in back-to-back games.

Booth, on the other hand, has no such history with this team. Also, there’s a video of him killing a bear. He’s not getting the same love.

But Burrows’ season is showing just how difficult it can be to get into a groove when a) the bounces aren’t going your way and b) you keep getting hurt. This thing that Burrows has been going through? Imagine that but with more injuries and a lockout. That’s David Booth.

It’s more than just an empathy-creator, though. Burrows’ injury opens up a spot, and with Booth possibly rounding into  form, that should mean more opportunity for him. He may not skate with the Sedins, but someone will, and it will likely leave room for Booth on Ryan Kesler’s line.


How do you miss a broken jaw? Note to self: there are two Carolinas, and the doctors are better in the other one.


And not just because this is a broken jaw he can’t be blamed for. At the beginning of the season, John Tortorella spoke openly about giving Kassian a shot to steal Burrows’ job, in effect. He wasn’t able to do it, largely because stealing Burrows’ job means playing in such a manner that you look like an upgrade on the French-Canadian winger. Instead, Kassian has yet to prove he’s an upgrade on Dale Weise, whose greatest asset is his ability to do nothing of note and thus, never get punished, so he’s always available to move up the lineup when someone else is being punished.

But this could be another opportunity for the Kassquatch. Burrows’ injury should push him from the press box into the starting lineup, and once there, a few strong shifts could yield a second opportunity to take over Burr’s spot. Lord knows Tortorella loved that Santorelli-Higgins-Burrows line. If Kassian can do something — anything — with the Sedins, it’s entirely possible he could remain there once Burrows gets back.


Not just because we’ll be without Burrows for at least the next month, but because we’ll be without Burrows for the Bruins’ visit to Rogers Arena on December 14th. The Canucks probably could have used Burrows in this one. The man is a bona fide doo-doo disturber. It’s unfortunate that he’ll be in the press box for the game that’s most likely to have some disturbances. And he’s in absolutely no shape to bite Patrice Bergeron’s finger again. It’s a shame.


Looks like you’re gonna make it after all.


Originally, today’s paper feature was an article titled “14 ways for Alex Burrows to bump the slump.” Daniel wrote it on Monday morning. We learned about Burrows’ broken jaw on Monday night.



Tweet Podium

This feature takes a moment to recognize the best tweets of the week, because we’re online-type writers and Twitter is an online-type thing. If you see a great Canucks-related tweet, send us a link. Or plagiarize it and bask in its glory.




“Anything is possible.” — Kevin Garnett



A wild opening to the second period versus the Hurricanes yields yet another example of how easily spoiled Vancouver hockey fans can be.



In order to beat this goal slump, Burrows needs to go to the dirty areas. In this case, I’d say the dirty area is a volcano, with a virgin.




  1. Chris the Curmudgeon
    December 4, 2013

    Thing of note that Dale Weise can do: play a hard-working, high-effort NHL shift consistently.

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  2. Aaron
    December 4, 2013

    Agreed Chris. When you play as hard as you can and as well as you can game in game out its hard for you to be expexted to do more. That is why Weise never gets in trouble and is shifted around. That lack of effort is why Kassian and Booth have both been in the dog house.

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  3. Matt
    December 4, 2013

    That’s why Kassian has been in the dog house. Booth hasn’t lacked effort, but he was coming back from a groin injury and couldn’t skate well in his first game back – that’s why he was scratched for a couple more games. Since he’s been fully healthy he’s been busting his butt.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      December 4, 2013

      Agreed. Booth has been in the doghouse because he’s expected to contribute offensively as befits a $4 million player, not because he looks lost on NHL ice. The bar is a lot higher for Booth than it is for Kassian (as it should be), but not meeting their respective bars should get Booth 3rd line ice time and should get Kassian a comfortable seat up in the rafters or perhaps a plane ticket to upstate New York.

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  4. Brian
    December 4, 2013

    Even with Kassian, I’m not sure it’s exactly lack of effort. It’s more that he tends to have brain farts in the middle of his shifts.

    And, yes, you’re right…Booth doesn’t lack effort. He was obviously struggling with his skating after that latest injury.

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  5. cathylu
    December 4, 2013

    “Winner – Patrice Bergeron’s finger” – Hahahaha! That’s a good one!

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    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  6. Kenji
    December 4, 2013

    “Jocethetip” – a ha ha ha ha ha! Brilliant.

    I really must get into thsi “twitter” thing.

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  7. tj
    December 4, 2013

    I think poor Tanev should be somewhere on this list. He must feel like a loser, at least. Or feel very very badly about it. Flipping the puck can be dangerous both physically and penalty-killfully.

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  8. ikillchicken
    December 4, 2013

    “Kassian has yet to prove he’s an upgrade on Dale Weise, whose greatest asset is his ability to do nothing of note and thus, never get punished, so he’s always available to move up the lineup when someone else is being punished.”

    That’s unfair. Kassian has easily proven to be an upgrade on Weise much of the time, just not consistently. He’s going through a rough patch right now for sure but for a good stretch he was playing pretty good hockey and even scoring some goals. Unfortunately, that seems to have gone to his head and he’s gotten extremely sloppy but I think a couple games demotion will get him back on track.

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