Terrified by Shane Doan making him expendable, Alex Burrows signs extension

Earlier today, News 1130 terrified Canucks fans with the possibility that the Canucks might not re-sign the beloved Alex Burrows. It must have terrified Burrows too, since only 3 hours later, the Canucks signed Burrows to a 4-year contract extension worth a total of $18 million, according to reports from Dan Murphy on Twitter.

Burrows has played his entire career for the Canucks and has shown a lot of loyalty to the team that gave him his shot in the NHL. Coming off a 28-goal, 51-point season in 2008-09, Burrows gave the Canucks a hometown discount, signing for 4 years at $2-million per year. He rewarded the Canucks by becoming one of the best bang for the buck players in the NHL, scoring 89 goals over the first three years of that contract.

It wasn’t just the quantity of goals, however, it was the quality. Burrows scored important goals for the Canucks, none bigger than his game 7 overtime gamewinner in round one of the 2011 playoffs, finally sending the Canucks past the Blackhawks after being bounced by them in the previous two years. It was that tendency that endeared him the most to Canucks fans.

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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.

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Alex Burrows scores goals, hugs goalies, is the best

Alex Burrows has scored his second goal in as many games since returning to the Team Canada lineup after his injury in the first game of the tournament. While it was a nice goal, it was just one of eight that Canada scored on Kazakhstan, who couldn’t repeat their gutsy effort from their overtime game against the US. It was probably too much to ask of the Kazakhstan to handle the US and Canada on back-to-back nights, and the game got silly in the third period as Kazakhstan simply looked worn out against Canada’s superior depth.

Fortunately, Burrows didn’t just score a goal. He also played a solid two-way game, seeing ice time in all situations, and was named the Best Player of the game for Canada. Even better, his wife, Nancy, and one-year old daughter, Victoria, were in attendance and got to see the whole thing.

Oh, and Burrows hugged Kazakhstan goaltender Vitali Kolesnik in the middle of the game.

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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.

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Spitballin’ on sweeping Kings, Kesler’s shoulder, and Skittle Burrows

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few quick topics.

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Video: Alex Burrows taunts Mike Richards’ alleged affinity for partying

Alex Burrows is one of the league’s most renowned (and some might say reviled) chirpers. He’ll say almost anything to get an opponent off their game, including bizarrely personal stuff for which he clearly does research. He’s admitted to checking his opponents’ statistics before games. You’ll recall his and Ryan Kesler’s taunts to David Backes back in 2009, which included mentioning Backes’s wife by name. And he once got Detroit Red Wings’ enforcer Aaron Downey worked up by making fun of the Downey family potato farm.

That in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of his taunts to Mike Richards was similarly tailored. After Richards laid the Canuck winger out with a big, open-ice hit in the dying seconds, Burrows went after Richards at the next stoppage. As the linesmen separated them, Burrows took a jab at Richards’s reputation as a partier by dragging his finger under his nose. Twice.

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Video: The Canucks give parenting advice to Mason Raymond, first-time father-to-be

After a suffering a gruesome back injury in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, Mason Raymond began skating again just this past October. But skating wasn’t the only strenuous activity he returned to in the early fall: around that same time, he also sired a firstborn.

The Raymonds are expecting their first child, a boy, in about a month, which means now is the time to be accruing as much knowledge as possible about their impending parenthood. With that in mind, the ever-helpful Derek Jory took to the Canucks’ locker room to elicit some advice for the first-time father-to-be.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Columbus Blue Jackets, March 17, 2012

The Columbus Blue Jackets are like Dan from Dan in Real Life (or any other advice columnist from the movies): they can help everyone but themselves. Are your superstars struggling to score? Has it been awhile since your best defenceman wowed everyone? Has your team looked listless for weeks? Well, then you’re in luck, because the Blue Jackets are in town to get your game back on track. They’ll encourage you, set you up to succeed, and even play alongside you, gosh darn it — they want you to do well.

Columbus was exactly what Vancouver needed Saturday night: a beatable opponent. Granted, the Canucks still weren’t perfect, but if there’s one thing you don’t have to be to beat the Blue Jackets, it’s perfect. In the end, the secret to beating Columbus is simply to “score one more goal than them,” as Kevin Bieksa so succinctly put it in the postgame scrum. And that’s what the Canucks did. I watched this game.

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Did the Canucks cross the line with their celebration in Detroit?

It was the quintessential Alex Burrows moment. The game on the line, he found himself with the puck on his stick, skating in alone on the opposing goaltender. And, like he does so often in such situations, the Canucks’ winger converted, unsurprisingly, by way of the backhand move he employs so regularly we call it “Blue Steel”.

I asked him once if he worried that goaltenders were wise to it.

“I’m sure goalies have seen clips of it,” he said. “Personally, I think if I execute it like I can, it’s a tough move to stop.” Clearly, Burrows trusts the backhand shelf like Gordon Bombay trusts the triple deke.

Jimmy Howard soon learned why, as Burrows executed the move perfectly, leaving the Detroit Red Wings’ goaltender on his belly and putting the puck up high to give the Canucks the come-from-behind win. It was the second time in Burrows’s career that he had broken a meaningful streak with the move, so it wasn’t surprising to see him make reference to the last time in his celebratory gesture: to signify the broken streak, he feigned breaking his stick over his knee.

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Breakdowning: Fire drill on the penalty kill in Nashville

The Nashville Predators don’t seem like an offensively-gifted hockey team. Built from the net out with an emphasis on defence and one of the lowest payrolls in the league, they simply haven’t sunk a lot of money into big offensive talent. You would think this lack of high-end scoring punch would be especially apparent on the powerplay.

Nope. The Predators have the second best powerplay in the NHL, behind only the Vancouver Canucks. And, given the way the Canuck powerplay has performed recently, the Predators might actually be the best team in the league with the man advantage these days. On Tuesday, they showed exactly why that might be the case, making one of the best penalty kill units on one the best penalty-killing teams look completely foolish.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Nashville Predators, February 21, 2012

This game was meant to be all about Alex Burrows, as it was the 500th game of his career. For someone who started his professional career scoring just 32 points in 66 games in the ECHL, it’s a tremendous achievement. He worked his way into the Canucks lineup by being an agitating checker, but has become a sparkplug, top-line forward alongside the Sedins.

The Predators ruined everything, however, by not letting Burrows score 5 goals so someone could win Safeway’s Million Dollar Score and Win. So Burrows instead celebrated by getting under an All-Star’s skin, just like old times, taking Shea Weber off the ice with a coincidental roughing minor when the Canucks were down by one. It was a savvy move, but his teammates couldn’t take advantage. His 500th game was ruined, but I still watched it. I watched this game.

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Pass it to Comics: Burrows and Marchand are very different players

Pass it to Comics is a regular collaboration between PITB and cartoonist Chloe Ezra, whose Tumblr page, Blue Soup, is a must-follow for any Canuck fan with an appreciation for quirk. Today, we investigate the difference of opinion between those in Vancouver and those in Boston.

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I had hoped that Gate-gate (so dubbed by Thom Drance), the controversy that sprung up Sunday night when Maxim Lapierre put Ottawa Senators’ forward Jesse Winchester through the Canucks’ unlatched bench door, would fizzle out before it really got started. However, it hasn’t. On Monday, Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch made it an issue, putting voice to the idea that Alex Burrows had unlatched the door intentionally, what for shenanigans, and deserved suspension.

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Here’s a pair of video interviews from last week at the Fan Zoo’s Fan Appreciation Day, in which Fiona Forbes and Michael Eckford of Urban Rush chat with Alex Burrows, Cory Schneider and Maxim Lapierre. Both clips are humorous, relaxed, and definitely worth a watch.

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Alex Burrows just got Keslurked

We’ve been a little spoiled by the level to which Ryan Kesler has taken the Keslurking meme of late, what with the Canucks’ centre going meta and victimizing his own interviews and family photos. With the level to which our expectations have risen, it stands to reason that an old-school, subtle Keslurk — the sort in which the man is hardly noticeable — might go unnoticed.

That’s what happened last night, during Alex Burrows’s Hockey Night in Canada postgame interview. Rather than dominating the frame, Kesler’s interview bomb involves little else but a barely perceptible peer from behind a curtain.

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In last night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, the Vancouver Canucks were down by one goal nearing the end of the second period, when Marco Sturm earned a small portion of his $2.25 million contract by forcing an offensive zone faceoff with 24 seconds left. Unsurprisingly, Alain Vigneault sent out his top line of Burrows and the Sedins in hopes of getting a late goal.

Since the Oilers were at home, they had the last change and Tom Renney could send out whoever he wanted. He smartly chose his veteran second line of Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff, and Ryan Jones. Horcoff was the Oilers’ best man in the faceoff circle and took the majority of the defensive zone draws: so far, so good. He then made a baffling decision. For his defensive pair, he sent out his bottom pair of Andy Sutton and Corey Potter. This was not a good idea. Let’s explore why in pictures.

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There weren’t many, but one of the highlights of any contest between the Vancouver Canucks and the Nashville Predators was the interaction of former teammates Alex Burrows and Shane O’Brien. Prior to the games, the two chirped each other in the media, and during games, they couldn’t keep from one another. Any time they shared the same ice, the two mercilessly hacked and slashed at each other’s shins, tripped and crosschecked with impunity, and often required intervention from the officials. Even then, they waved and shouted at one another over the linesmen’s shoulders. To the layman, these two were enemies. But a closer look revealed their wry smiles — the laughter as crosschecked one another along the base of the spines, the mirth with which they took each other’s legs out.

In other words, Burrows and O’Brien aren’t enemies. They’re frenemies. See, for instance, the photo above, which demonstrates both the competitiveness and the closeness between the two. Sure, there’s a facewash going on, but there also exists a delicate dance.

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Do you want to watch half an hour of Alex Burrows playing NHL 12 against a member of EA Canada’s development team? Of course you do, because Burrows is talking. And when Burrows talks, you listen. Closely. Because otherwise you won’t be able to understand what he’s saying.

Yesterday was the launch party for NHL 12, and Burrows appeared at Best Buy in Vancouver for the midnight release of the game. Unfortunately, he’s not as good at the game as “Rammer,” though his opponent is, of course, a little more experienced with the game, having helped make it. Here are a few of the highlights from the video.

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Most would agree that the stars of the Canucks are Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, and Ryan Kesler, but Vancouver employs another impact guy who often goes unmentioned when discussing their crew of elite forwards.

That’s Alex Burrows, the versatile forward that makes a measly $2 million dollars but makes superstars better; the one that’s scored 89 goals in three seasons, kills penalties, and doesn’t have a single piece of baggage. The one whose promotion to the Sedins’ unit coincides suspiciously with the sudden onslaught of accolades they’ve received. The one that potted two overtime winners in the playoffs, including a series-winning stunner to complete the exorcism of the Chicago Blackhawks.

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Welcome to the back half of Alex Burrows’ entry in the PITB Every Goal series. Yesterday we looked at goals 1-13 in Burrows’s 2010-11 season. Today we’ll look at goals 14 – 26, and you’ll see all sorts of crazy things: ridiculous passing plays, odd-man rushes, that backhand move that always works for some reason, more hustle than a Cassidy video, and empty net goals galore. Galore! And if, for whatever reason, you don’t fully understand what Alex Burrows brings to the Canucks, you’ll have a pretty good idea by the time you’re finished.

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Alex Burrows had a fabulous season, and he didn’t get enough credit for it. Though he failed to top his career-high 35 goals from the season prior, he still potted an impressive 26 goals in a shortened season after missing the entire preseason and the first 10 games of the regular season while recovering from shoulder surgery. Granted, Burrows’s totals were overshadowed by the 41-goal seasons put up by both Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin, but it’s important to note that Alex Burrows did his damage without powerplay time: his 24 even-strength goals, one more than either Kesler or Daniel, led the Canucks.

One misconception that I hope to clear up during Alex Burrows’s entry in the Every Goal series is the notion that anybody could do Burrows’s job. It’s a cushy gig, to be sure, but a lot of guys have flunked out of it because it’s not an easy one to keep. In order to make himself a consistent passing option, Burrows has to stay one step ahead of the Sedins. Were this a simple task, there would be no such thing as Sedinery. Burr works his tail off to be in the right place at the right time, reading plays, fighting for space, going hard into corners and even harder to the net. In short: sure, his stat line benefits from the Sedins’ fabulous playmaking skills, but he makes things as easy for them as they do for him. Take in every goal Alex Burrows scored in 2010-11 and you’re sure to notice that.

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Regular Bulies likely know all about our occasional collaborations with Chloe Ezra, the artist, gifmaker, and wunderkind behind our favourite Canucks Tumblr account, Blue Soup.

Canucks Tumblr culture is weird and, as best as we can gather, so’s Chloe. But that’s why we like her. In the last two weeks, she’s drawn Vincent LeCavalier having his pool flipped by a poisonous Floridian llama, Henrik Lundqvist having his jersey stolen by a Swedish badger, and the comic featured here, in which Alex Burrows gains the dolphin powers necessary to play with the Sedins through an insidious deal with Aquaman.

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Despite losing the faceoff, the Canucks scored the fastest overtime playoff goal in team history on Saturday. Alex Edler created the turnover, Daniel Sedin provided the dish, and Alex Burrows supplied the finish, all in a mere 11 seconds. It all happened so fast that thousands of Canucks fans didn’t even see the goal. 11 seconds is not enough time for a bathroom break or to grab a snack from the fridge. But there are lots of things that can be accomplished in 11 seconds and it might help us understand how incredibly quick this goal truly was.

In 11 seconds…

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Alex Burrows’s three-point performance in Saturday night’s game 2 victory over the Boston Bruins catapulted the sparkplug winger into the Conn Smythe trophy discussion. Burrows now has two overtime winners in these playoffs, both on fabulous individual efforts. Heroism of that sort tends to get one noticed. But is Burr capable of winning a Conn Smythe that, in the event of a Canucks’ Stanley Cup victory, has Ryan Kesler’s name all but engraved on it? And even if Kesler somehow falls off the map in the Final, aren’t Henrik Sedin, Roberto Luongo, and Kevin Bieksa deserving as well?

It’s a testament to the Canucks’ remarkable depth that they have so many players who could, reasonably, win the playoff MVP, but that same depth is what tends to relegate impact players like Burrows to the background. It’s a shame because, truth is, Burrows has a case. Here are five reasons Alex Burrows could go home with the Conn Smythe.

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Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few topics that deserve mention.

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