Heart of a Canuck

If you were to look up the definition of what it means to have the heart of a Canuck, it would be a pretty long description of numerous virtues embodied by players of the Vancouver Canucks past or present that outside of their fan base, are not always seen by those on the outside.

A small sample of those descriptors: Determination. Sacrifice. Motivation. Driven. Perseverance. Leadership. Dedication. Mentor. And the list goes on, but these are indicative of not just how the player is on the ice but also off of the ice within the community.

Some players exhibit one or many of these qualities throughout their time with the team and beyond. And then there are some that embody everything that having a heart of a Canuck means from the moment they join the team to the time when they retire or are traded to join another team. Players that have embodied this quality over time include: Orland Kurtenbach, Pat Quinn, Trevor Linden, Markus Naslund and yes the Sedins. One that to the outsiders was always and still at times seen as pest to his opponents but to Canucks fans will always be on that list is: Alex Burrows.

Alex Burrows was an absolute class act in his time here. From the outside, that side of Burrows was not always seen. His name was synonymous with pestering his opponents. In Vancouver he is synonymous with constantly proving his critics wrong, playing any spot in the lineup that coach put him, breaking streaks, becoming the third Sedin, slaying dragons, and helping to end the stigmas surrounding mental health. He gave his all for his teammates, every single game, every single shift and off of the ice as well. He gave everything to this city.

This past week when Alex Burrows returned, Vancouver had a chance to express our thanks to a player who always has and always will embody what it means to have a heart of a Canuck.

He’s with the Senators now, but even in his leaving, he made sure that Vancouver also benefited from the trade. His last act was one in which once again he put his team first, as he always has done from day one. From undrafted to becoming the heart of a team and turning an entire city into believing that dragons were meant to be slayed.

Burrows was not the first player to have these qualities and as he grew into the inspiration that he has become, he had some incredible mentors in the Sedins and Trevor Linden. He also over time became a mentor to the younger players coming into the Canucks system and paved the road for what it means to be a professional on and off of the ice.

This year the Canucks have some veterans and some great young players on the team. Some of those players spent a lot of time mentoring Burrows, being mentored by him, learning from him and some never played one game with him, but they all know of him or have heard his story from him or his former teammates. His story is one that anyone can relate to, undrafted, too old, never meant to make it or have any sort of longevity and yet here we are more than 12 years later talking about his continuous legacy.

Players like Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen, Sven Baertschi, Brock Boeser can all look to the example of Alex Burrows if they ever need inspiration of what it looks like to give your everything to the sport, their team and the city. They can look back at Burrows, and up to players like the Sedins to know that while it’s not an easy road, if they commit to it, they will inspire more people than they could possibly imagine possible.

To have a heart of Canuck, it’s not always an easy path, but it is one that will always inspire others. And if you see this Burr, this is just a reminder that to Canucks nation, you will ALWAYS be a Canuck. Thank-you endlessly for everything you did during your time here and still continue to do as you keep playing.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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THANK-YOU, BURR.

Dear Alexandre Burrows,

Thank-you, hardly seems enough for what you gave this city for 12+ years, but I’m going to try. First things first, please know that you never once for a second ever let me down.

Fans from across the league never really knew just how lucky Vancouver Canucks fans were to have you as a part of the team. The road wasn’t any easy one, but you stayed the path. From a ball hockey champion, to the Quebec Major Junior League, to the AHL to the NHL. From a rookie looking to make his mark to a seasoned veteran, you did it all and you did it with incredible grace.

822 games over the last 12 years in Vancouver, you have embodied everything that it meant to have the heart of a Canuck. You were never meant to make it to the NHL, let alone play on the top line for an extended period or score a franchise dragon slaying goal or become a pillar within the community and mentor for the younger players.

At the beginning no one was sure of what kind of impact you could or would go on to have in an NHL lineup. Most people saw you as tenacious with innate ability to get under the skin of your opponent and didn’t see the potential beyond that. Somehow, I think both Marc Crawford and Alain Vigneault always knew, and when AV made that seemingly crazy decision one fateful February day, to put you on a line with the Sedins, it gave people pause. And the rest as they say, is history. He was right, they were wrong, and you continued to prove all your critics wrong every single day.

You never let the negativity in. You rose above it all, every step of the way. You always did whatever was asked of you by the coaches or management. You were and are the consummate professional on and off of the ice. And when called upon to help carry on Rick Rypien’s legacy with mindcheck and help raise awareness about the importance of mental health, you were there. You gave everything you had with every shift on the ice and every moment you gave to the community in your tenure with the Vancouver Canucks.

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you and thank-you again for 12 incredible years of dragon slaying, the ever persistent pursuit of your dreams, and inspiring so many more to never give up. I wish you all the best in Ottawa, but remember, that you will always be our dragon slayer. You made Luc Bourdon proud. You made your coaches proud. You made your teammates proud. You made this city and Canucks fans around the globe proud.

And to THIS fan, you will always and forever be a Canuck. When I have felt like giving up, all I have had to do was think of how you always kept pushing forward despite the odds and I would be reminded that when you tune out the negativity, anything is possible. Thank-you doesn’t seem quite enough but it’s what I have to offer. Thank-you for everything, BURR.

Sarah E.L.

BURR Is The Word.

He’s a pest. He’s an agitator. He’s a fourth liner. He’s a penalty killer. He’s a grinder. He’s spent time as the third Sedin. He’s loyal. He’s a leader on and off the ice for his teammates. He irritates his opponents and drives opposing fans crazy. He’s stolen the hearts of Vancouver Canucks fans near and far. He’s the dragon slayer. He’s Alex Burrows.

Is this the end? Going back to mid-season last year, countless media and “experts” have either been calling for an Alex Burrows trade or announcing that his career is near it’s end. To be completely truthful, most never thought he would make it this far: 817 games in, 384 NHL points and all with the Vancouver Canucks.

VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 24: The Edmonton Oilers play the Vancouver Canucks during their NHL game at Rogers Arena January 24, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI/Vancouver Canucks photo)

VANCOUVER, CANADA – JANUARY 24: The Edmonton Oilers play the Vancouver Canucks during their NHL game at Rogers Arena January 24, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI/Vancouver Canucks photo)

Undrafted, ball hockey champion and a near unmatched absolute determination paved the way for a hockey career that no one could have predicted. From his willingness to play wherever called upon in the lineup to his tenacity to his timely goals to his determination every step of his career thus far, he has cemented himself in the Vancouver Canucks history books.

His determination to keep pursuing his dream is part of what drew me to loving this team and this game. Those who don’t follow the Canucks regularly do not fully understand Alex Burrows.

And last night in Buffalo, he reminded everyone league wide just how influential he can be in the lineup for his team. He led the charge getting under the skin of his opponents, spearheading the French connection and getting the game winning goal. It was vintage Burrows, playing like it was 2010 or 2011.

I know just how real the possibility is that he could be traded this year or moves on to join another team in the off-season. I know that hockey trades happen every year and are a part of the business side of the game.

Yes, he may very well end his career on another team but right now, he is still very much a part of the Vancouver Canucks. And I plan on enjoying every moment that he has left with Vancouver whether that means up to the deadline, the end of the season or a different day. These may be the final days of his time with the Vancouver Canucks but that will not deter me from supporting him every step wherever his career leads him.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

A Very Burrows Tale

Yes, I know I am a few days late with this post, but here it is.

Alex Burrows was never supposed to make it in the NHL, let alone last more than 800 games or spend time as a top line winger with the Sedins as one of their most productive line mates.

VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 24: The Edmonton Oilers play the Vancouver Canucks during their NHL game at Rogers Arena January 24, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI/Vancouver Canucks photo)

VANCOUVER, CANADA – JANUARY 24: The Edmonton Oilers play the Vancouver Canucks during their NHL game at Rogers Arena January 24, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI/Vancouver Canucks photo)

A player that many labeled lucky to be here and a pest to his opponents early on in his career and no one ever thought he’d be a top line winger. With his tenacity on the penalty kill, ability to drive his opponents crazy, an innate ability to break streaks and score timely goals, Burrows captured the hearts of the fans. Pure determination has driven him far in his career.

He’s heard it every year that perhaps he’s not good enough and perhaps he should be sent packing and every year he comes back proving his critics wrong. He’s faced adversity at nearly every turn and yet keeps pushing forward. He’s become synonymous with breaking streaks. That dragon slaying goal against Chicago will forever remain one of my all-time favourite moments. You could feel the emotion across the city when that puck crossed the line.

And yes, I know that that was in the past and that many believe his best days are behind him and the team should let him go. And yes, I know that this post will not change anyone’s mind, but I hope it opens them enough to see the immense value that Alex Burrows has had to this franchise.

He started from the bottom and worked his way all the way up from a rookie to a now seasoned veteran. A rookie that has now become a leader for the younger generation and a voice of experience to his teammates. Burrows is not just a leader on the ice but also off the ice. He has embraced the community off the ice with the myriad of Canucks charities and has become an advocate for mental health awareness. Alex Burrows has proven time and time again, that no matter what your critics say, if you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Player Profile: #14 Alex Burrows

Today's Profile: #14 Alex Burrows

Today’s Profile: Alex Burrows

Alex Burrows professional hockey career did not begin like that of most of his teammates. He took the undrafted route from ball hockey, to the ECHL, to the QJMHL, to the AHL, and finally to the NHL. Seriously this guy’s story could be a movie with its humble beginnings to his current first line status.

Burrows quickly established himself as a pest to his opponents. In his early days with the Canucks he was not known for his timely scoring but rather his innate ability to kill penalties [particularly when paired with a certain #17] and get under the skin of the opponent.

In 569 NHL games, Burrows has tallied 294 points [152 goals, 142 assists]. It should be noted that the majority of those points have come during his time on the top line [242 points since the start of the 2008-2009 season].

Burrows was never supposed to make it in the NHL let alone play on one of the top scoring lines in the NHL. It was not until one fateful day back in February 2009 when the Canucks finally ended an 11 game losing streak [thanks to a SHG from BURROWS!] with playoffs looking near impossible, that Coach Vigneault decided to experiment with his lines the following game. Burrows was pulled from his usual checking role late in the game and put on a line with the Sedins…a seemingly questionable choice BUT guess what? It worked. The Sedins and Burrows clicked and quickly became one of the highest scoring lines in the NHL as they led the team in offense down the stretch that helped the team secure their Division title and a playoff berth. He finished the year with 28 goals.

When Burrows first began his run of success with the Sedins, he was being paid a league minimum salary of $500,000. Prior to the 2009 trade deadline, all the experts predicted that he would be traded as he was in the final year of his contract BUT instead he signed a 4-year contract extension [$8 million—a $2 million annual salary].

Heading into the 2009-2010 season brought a lot of questions wondering if Burrows could repeat the late season surge he had when playing the Sedins the year before or if it was simply a one off. It was not a one off…he led the team in scoring with 35 goals that season [including hat tricks in consecutive games!]. Since that fateful February 2009 day, he has been a staple on the top line with the Sedins while also playing BIG penalty kill minutes on the top PK unit with #17.

Most fans, probably never would have pictured him playing on the top line with the Sedins when the pesky Quebec native joined the team BUT most will agree that he has fit in with the Sedins like no other player…even better than the Anson Carter experiment.

Here’s a few highlights to remind you of his timely goal scoring history:

Alex Burrows scores his 2nd hat trick in consecutive games:

Alex Burrows, streak breaker at your service! Just as he broke the Canucks 11 game losing streak in 2009, he breaks Detroit’s 23 win streak at the Joe Louis Arena in 2012:

And of course one cannot forget one of the best goals in franchise history! Alex Burrows, dragon slayer at your service:

One must also remember that whenever Burrows scores a goal and shoots an arrow in his celebration, it is in tribute to his late friend Luc Bourdon who will forever be a Canuck. #gonebutnotforgotten #wemissyouLUC #LB28

It’s like I said earlier, Alex Burrows NHL career did not begin like many of his teammates and should he WIN the BIG game one June, it would be a perfect story book ending; if a film were ever made to chronicle his hockey career.

Burrows has played with the Vancouver Canucks for his entire NHL career, and will hopefully finish his career with the team. He has had a knack for scoring some big goals for the team: the goal that broke the 11-game losing streak in 2009, the goal in that swept the St.Louis Blues in the 2009 playoffs, the goal that finally slayed the dragon known as the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011, the goal 11 seconds into OT in game 2 of the 2011 SCF, and the goal that broke Detroit’s win streak in 2012 and more that we have yet to see.

“Burr, it’s cold in here, there must be some Alex in the atmosphere…”

#BURRRR #heshootshescores

Cannot wait for Burrows and the rest of the team to return to the ice creating new highlight reel moments that will delight us, drive us crazy and start many many debates among fans and experts.

#isitoctoberyet

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

And now we wait…

United they stand. Unfortunately not together with the players on one side and the NHL on the other side. Now if only they could be united together. The NHL and NHLPA wrapped two days of CBA talks yesterday in NYC. 283 players were present for the meetings.
According to the Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul “the players are unified in this round of CBA talks and that he worries about the fans. There is a time when the fans will get fed up and both sides should probably apologize to them.” As with any war of words there is a difference of opinion between the two sides. One is adamant that there is a way for a solution and one is adamant that in order for change to occur is means putting the season on hold.  Fehr  says that the the players stand united. My favourite Fehr statement of the day “a lockout is a choice, not a requirement.” Bettman says that the owners also stand united. They all apparently have voted unanimously to lockout the players September 15th if indeed there is no new CBA in place. Question: did they really vote unanimously or did Bettman do a little leaning to force his preference? Did you also hear Bettman’s claim that the players solidarity is WHY the league lost an entire season in the last lockout? So question for Bettman….who’s solidarity will he blame this lockout on…the players or the owners? Well there is rumor of limited talks happening at some point today between the NHL and the NHLPA….but will they be able to gain any middle ground? We will have to wait…

In the mad dash scramble to the ever closer impending lockout many teams will be looking to lock in players to extensions before the expiration of the current CBA. Many teams have taken part in the last minute dash…everyone wants their intangibles locked in beyond next season while the current CBA still exists.

Speaking of intangibles. One of my very favourite #Canucks….ALEX “Mr.clutch” BURROWS has signed a 4-year  $18 million extension[an annual cap hit of $4.5 million] with the Vancouver Canucks. Remember how this guy was never supposed to make it to the ECHL let alone the AHL? Or when this guy was had his first 28 goal campaign and he was making $500,000? One day someone is going to write his biography…and hopefully it includes another run at the cup or two. Congratulations Alex Burrows! You have more than earned the new contract!!!

http://video.canucks.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=0&id=111580&cmpid=embed-share-video

BURRRRRRRRRRR…it’s cold in here…there must be some ALEX in the atmosphere!!! #Canuck4Life #ForeverACanuck #BURR #14

Will you believe that Shane Doan and the never ending off-season drama continues with a contract today?! He WILL sign a new contract and announce his FINAL decision today. Rumor has that it will be Phoenix[most likely]. UPDATE: SHANE DOAN has [surprise, surprise] signed a 4-year $21.2 million deal to stay in Phoenix. Wow. He took the entire summer down to the 11th hour to make a decision that EVERYONE knew was most likely to happen. Congratulations to Phoenix for allowing Doan to play his entire career for the ONE franchise…that does not happen for every player. So…now that Doan’s staying in the desert…does this mean the Canucks go after Jason Arnott [short-term…1-2 years]?

In the land of things that are so predictable, we are down to 1 day. 1 day before Bettman and the owners make the announcement of the looming lockout official. And now all we can do is wait. Wait for what we all know is coming when the gavel is thrown down tomorrow.

Please stand by. The regularly scheduled season will begin when Bettman says so and not a moment before…

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Canucks & Burrows talking + BEAM me up SCOTTY extended in Philly + Cherry Commentary

The Vancouver Canucks Assistant GM Gilman has been quoted saying that YES they are in the beginning stages with Burrows agent to get him re-signed beyond next season long-term. Burrows has positioned himself in a place of receiving a well deserved raise (he has scored 26 or more goals in each of the last 4 seasons…MOST of those were even-strength goals as he gets limited if any power play time with the Sedins & Kes being the #1 power play unit. Rumor has that the Canucks are also looking to lock up Edler with an extension beyond next season…#23 has been becoming more & more consistent the last few years…he put up 49 points(incredible saying as no one was supposed to get those type of numbers except Ehrhoff…fascinating tidbit: last year Bieksa also hit +40 points with a total of 44 points & Hamhuis hit 37 points….our top 3 offensive D combined for 130 points…that’s sensational!). Let’s get Burr signed quickly, MG & then Eddy too!

Rumor has it that the San Jose Sharks in trouble….reports have come out that they lost $15 million last season despite having sold out every home game. We’ll have to wait and see how accurate those reports are and how it will affect the franchise, if at all.

While the Philadelphia Flyers have a fading blue-line…they have secure one of their most exciting forwards in signing Scott Hartnell to a SIX-year extension[$28.5 million with an annual cap of $4.75…extra note:BURROWS could request that type of $$ but he probably wouldn’t]. Way to go Scott, the contract was well earned…this guy scored 37 goals last season!  Hartnell is always fun to watch…one of my favourite moments was watching him in the ALL-Star game last year and he kept razzing Phaneuf  or him & Lupul commentating while they were mic’d up so the viewers could hear.Plus that guy has a habit of scoring some clutch goals…like another gritty player I know(#14 in green & blue)! Solid signing Philly! Now they just need some help on the defense.

In the world of CBA negotiations, the ever colourful Don Cherry[you either love the guy &his suits or you hate him] is back at it, giving loud commentary regarding the NHL. He has stated that he believes its a shame that there is going to be a lockout as both sides have yet to come to a new agreement, however he predicts that it will only last two months. Could we have a lockout and hockey in November? People may not always like what Don Cherry has to say, but this guy has NEVER been afraid to call them like he sees them and in this comment…he could very well be correct. While the idea of a lockout is disturbing to me and many other hockey fans…I would take a shortened season any day over NO season. Let’s hope that should there be a lockout, that is a very brief work stoppage. The next round of CBA meetings are set to resume Wednesay between the NHL & the NHLPA and both sides will have to give a little in order to make a new CBA a reality.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.