In just a few days time, Alex Burrows will take his place in the Vancouver Canucks ring of honour. And I can’t help but to take a look back at his Canuck career from the beginning. His story is one of legend, one that proves utter determination and dedication pays off. From undrafted and a player that was never supposed to make it to a fourth line pest to a first line winger with the Sedins to absolute legend status.
When I first started to really get into hockey and in depth into the Canucks, I started learning about not just the main team but all of their affiliates, learning as much as I could about each aspect of the organization. That meant trying to watch not just the Canucks games, but also trying to watch as many of their affiliate games as was possible.
Back then, their AHL affiliate team was the Manitoba Moose and I still remember the first time I heard about a player named Alex Burrows joining the team. For me, even from the beginning he stood out. To his opponents, he was known as a pest but to me there was something special about this undrafted player finding his way in the lineup and endearing himself to his teammates. Did I have any idea of the massive impact he would go on to have with the Canucks in the years to come? No, but there was something about his unwavering determination that was beyond admirable.
I remember it crystal clear when he was recalled by the Canucks in January 2006. It didn’t take long for him to become an irritant to his opponents and for the him to endear himself to Canucks fans. Those first few seasons he established himself as a solid 4th liner and quality penalty killer and fan favourite. He had a knack for timely goals BUT no one could have predicted what would come to be his incredible hockey story.
I don’t think anyone could have predicted the numerous clutch goals or his future first line winger status when Burrows first made his debut. There was something special about watching Burrows each time he took to the ice, he gave it his all every single shift he was out there. Wherever he was inserted into the lineup, he seemed to thrive, especially when no one thought it possible.
It’s no secret that the Sedins had A LOT of different wingers on their line over the years, but there were none that they had the seamless chemistry with like Burrows. Did ANYONE have the inkling that it would be sustainable in any way when AV threw Burrows on their line that fateful February 2009 game?! No, but oh how FUN was that to watch develop. He put up points and opened up the ice for the twins in such a way that no other line ever did. It was truly magical, to see the “triplets” dominate for a few years.
Just one example of MANY triplet highlights:
Then there are a few clutch goals that I can’t help but think of every time I think of Burrows.
The infamous streak breaking goal versus Carolina:
Series sweeping goal in the dying seconds of OT:
Everyone’s favourite dragon slaying goal is something that will always be particularly special:
To me, Alex Burrows will always be a Canuck. On December 3rd, he will take his rightful place in the Ring of Honour.
Merci pour tout, Alex. Nous nous souviendrons toujours de vous en tant que Canuck. (Thank-you for everything, Alex. We will always remember you as a Canuck).
BURRRRRRR, it’s cold in here, there must be some ALEX in the atmosphere! And on December 3rd, one more time, there will be.
Forever a player who defied the odds and made the most of his opportunities. Forever our dragon slayer.
As always, until next time, nuck said.