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Article Question/Answer- Alex Burrows the Ultimate Survivor


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Definitely worth the read. Burrows will always be my all time favourite Canuck. Not to mention some interesting comments in regards to Jake 
Alex Burrows walks off the ice after a game against the Oilers.

Alex Burrows walks off the ice after a game against the Oilers.Jeff Vinnick / PNG

“I’m still around.”

In those three words, Alex Burrows tried to summarize and justify his wild rollercoaster ride the last four months when it appeared his days as a long-serving Vancouver Canucks winger were numbered. The first hint came in early March when he was told by the coaching staff that younger players were a roster priority. But he wasn’t moved at the trade deadline and wasn’t bought out last month.

Jim Benning said Alex Burrows is "part of our group" next season.

Alex Burrows will enter his 12th season with the Canucks, making him the ultimate survivor.

And when Canucks general manager Jim Benning was asked if the 35-year-old National Hockey League survivor would be part of any off-season transactions, his reaction was quick, concise and somewhat confusing: “No,” he said. “He’s going to be part of our group.”

“It means a lot,” said Burrows, who has a no-trade clause in his contract. “It means I can still be an asset to the team and still help the young guys and be a good leader in the room.”

The commitment seemed surprising because the aging winger has a year left on his contract at a $US4.5 million salary cap hit, but $3 million in actual salary. That’s a lot for a role player who spent the majority of last season on the fourth line and the penalty kill and had but nine goals in 79 games. Burrows was a good mentor to the kids and his enthusiasm for the game never waned, even when his ice time was reduced, and perhaps there’s value in that.

So, what really gives?

No owner likes paying players not to play. Winger Chris Higgins, 33, was bought out of the final year of his $2.5 million contract last month for $1,666,667 million and $833,333 will be applied to the cap in each of the next two seasons. A Burrows buyout would have meant giving him $2 million to leave. It would have also put $2.5 million on the cap next season and $1 million in 2017-18, a total just $1 million lower than his cap this season. So, if he still has game, you can justify the loyalty to some degree.

Then again, the Canucks are deep on the right side with Loui Eriksson, Jannik Hansen, Anton Rodin, Emerson Etem, Jake Virtanen, Derek Dorsett and Burrows. Rodin and Burrows can play left wing, but Benning is trying to trade for a winger with size, grit and scoring ability to match up better in the Pacific Division. That could mean moving out at least a winger to make that happen.

This much we know for sure about Burrows. The undrafted agitator is far removed from 35 goals with Henrik and Daniel Sedin in 2009-10 and some of the most memorable playoff goals in franchise history. But he’s always been loud and proud and but is no angel. His gift of gab and the occasional jab has landed him in hot water and those aren’t the attributes you want to pass on to impressionable young players. It’s a thin line between gamesmanship and the code.

VANCOUVER, CANADA - OCTOBER 22: The Minnesota Wild play the Vancouver Canucks during their NHL game at Rogers Arena October 22, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

Alex Burrows said “it meant a lot” to not be bought out by the Canucks last month.

Burrows has been quiet this off-season, but The Province tracked the winger down after a workout in Montreal for a Q&A:

Q: After a March 5 game-day skate in San Jose, you seemed resigned to the fact that the Canucks were going in a younger direction and even your willingness to serve as a mentor next season was falling on deaf ears. What happened?

A: “Everything happens for a reason, I guess. It’s one thing about getting old and having a team that’s rebuilding, retooling, or whatever you want to call it. There are so many worse things in life than being a healthy scratch or they put a young guy in the lineup ahead of you. My wife is healthy and my kids are healthy and it puts things in perspective. I just put it that it’s life and trusted that if I kept doing the right things that I would be OK with it — that I could live with it. That’s how I approached it at the end of the year.”

Q: There’s no such thing as a sure thing in this business. Things change. Management has made a commitment, but you could be moved in a trade scenario or at the trade deadline. How does that affect your ability to enjoy every day?

A: “That’s the approach I had last year. I want to have fun, but I want to compete. I still feel I can play. My body is really healthy right now and I really don’t have any hip issues like I did in the past. I really feel if I can come to camp and earn a spot, I can be a good factor. I can see myself playing with Hank (Henrik Sedin) or Bo (Horvat) or (Brandon) Sutter, and if I can be on one of those three lines, I know I can contribute in a positive way.”

Q: Henrik and Daniel Sedin called out the kids late last season for a lack of total preparation. You applauded the concern. How can you help in that respect so there’s not a sense of entitlement?

A: “I think it might have been an eye-opener for them how hard the league is and how good it is. You’ve got to focus all your energy on preparing and playing well and being a real pro about it. I talked to (Ben) Hutton and he had a great experience at the worlds and that will be helpful. As for Jake (Virtanen), he’ll get it one day — hopefully sooner than later. Hopefully, he’s putting in the work and I know guys see him in the gym at the rink every day.”

Q: You probably can’t train at age 35 the way you did at 25. What’s the onus on your off-season preparation. Is it strength work, speed work or a combination?

A: “We’re doing a lot of strength days, but we’re doing two or three speed days a week. That’s probably the difference. We used to do at least two days of upper body and now just one. Everything is focused on speed and agility. Hopefully I can have quicker legs coming out of turns and stops and think the game better. You see all the young guys now, their speed is at such a high level. You try to get as close to them as possible.”

Alex Burrows played with Erik Gudbranson at the world championship.

Alex Burrows played with hulking defenceman Erik Gudbranson at the world championship.

Q: “You’ve played against Loui Eriksson and Erik Gudbranson. They answer needs for scoring and toughness, respectively. How much of a difference can they make?

A: “Eriksson is a good two-way guy and he brings it and has been around. He knows how to score and he’s very effective around the net. He doesn’t cheat for his chances and has a lot of poise with the puck. I played at the worlds with Gudbranson and he’s a massive kid. He’s got a little bit of Jovo (Ed Jovanovski) in him, too. The younger Jovo who wasn’t scared of anybody and just wanted to hurt guys and be a leader. It will be an adjustment coming into a hockey crazy market, but as a Canadian kid, he’ll thrive under that pressure.”

Q: Milan Lucic went to Edmonton in free agency and Troy Brouwer landed in Calgary. The division was already big enough, so how are the Canucks going to go stride for stride and hit for hit with the big boys?

A: “It won’t be easy. Those are great players and I know some fans would have liked to see them in a Canucks uniform, but I like our team right now. We have a mix of youth and older guys and everybody is really hungry. That was the message when we talked as a leadership group at the end of the year. Next season starts now and let’s try to get an advantage because we missed the playoffs. Let’s get in the gym now and make sure we’re prepared. I’m anxious to see how it all pans out at camp.”

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Honestly glad JB didn't buy out Burrows.  A healthy #14 can still contribute in many ways  and I hope for a really good season from Alex.  He won't get his number retired, but a good choice for the ring of honour.  

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Best case scenario, he realizes this is a contract year and what he does /doesn't do this season may decide if he stays in the league after this year.  15-20 goals wouldn't be impossible imo.


Worst case scenario, he duplicates his season from last year,  there's no takers at TDL,  and he parts ways with the team next spring. 


LV may take a gamble on him possibly?


Regardless,  he's always been a warrior for this club. 

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Burrows should not only play out this year, but, re-sign for a fair value and retire a Canuck in a couple years.  He is not only a Canucks legend, he is one of the greatest long shot, diamond in the rough, home grown player development success stories in the history of the league.  I would like to see him involved mentoring the farm team at some point, ala Baumgartner.

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I think this needs to be filed under "intangibles" but look how happy Burrows is for Virtanen in this clip:



There's a couple of other moments I noticed during the season where even if these kids are the ones edging him off the team, Burrows seems legit stoked for them when they succeed. A lot of guys out there would not have the same attitude.

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21 minutes ago, sonoman said:

Honestly glad JB didn't buy out Burrows.  A healthy #14 can still contribute in many ways  and I hope for a really good season from Alex.  He won't get his number retired, but a good choice for the ring of honour.  

He is responsible for one of the single best playoff moments in Canuck history...and we're the only team he's ever played for in the NHL. I could totally see it. 

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I like how he called out Jake a bit in this article but also stated that his friends see Jake hitting the gym everyday so at least it seems like Jake is getting physically prepared but I do hope he gets mentally prepared. Considering how he is a "slow starter", he most likely will have a better season next year. During his juniors, he had a bad rookie season and then the next few years, he exploded which caused him to have such a high draft rank. 

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It's interesting the Canucks are monitoring Yake Wurtanen and Emerson Etem workouts and diet this summer.


This is a big summer for both but especially Etem since he is older to solidly his spot in the lineup as a regular and beat out Dorsett.


He needs to play with consistent energy.


As for the big Fin he is struggling to keep his weight in check last I saw him in some pictures and Gudrbarnsson introduction video.


He looks kinda chunky. Could be the new Wellwood or Kessel if he doesn't get his diet and workout game right.

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As for Jake (Virtanen), he’ll get it one day — hopefully sooner than later.

Ahaha, that made me laugh out loud :P Burr's always been known for a bit of an acid tongue. I honestly did not care for him at all when I first started watching the Canucks, and this was back during his dragon-slaying heyday. With that said, he's grown on me quite a bit in the last couple years. In spite of his pest-like antics on the ice (even I was embarrassed/annoyed at times), I see Burr now as a very sweet, genuine guy. I truly believe him when he says he loves what he does, and you can see the gratitude in his behaviors and appreciation for how fortunate he's been. I'm happy to have him likely finish his career here.

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