Friday, September 24, 2010

Every Goal Alex Burrows Scored Last Season

And so, we come to the end of the Every Goal series.
It's incredible to think of last season as Alex Burrows' breakout season when he scored 28 goals the season prior. That said, last year was his breakout season, as the Wayne Gretzky of ball hockey increased his points totals (35 goals, 32 assists) after a season of surprising output (28 goals, 23 assists) that everyone thought was a fluke. Alex Burrows proved last season that he was the real deal, and if that wasn't enough, the former ECHLer became a household name following his private assassination by Stephane Auger, his public assassination by Ron Maclean, and the ensuing controversies. On a more positive note, he was also our team-leader in goal-scoring, a major dressing room presence, and a large part of Henrik Sedin's Art Ross and Hart trophy wins. In short: Alex Burrows cemented himself as the Canucks' identic nucleus last season. Here are all 35 goals he scored in 09-10.

1. Oct. 1 vs. the Calgary Flames
Alex Burrows works so hard on every play, so desperately, you'd think he didn't have a four-year contract. That said, he knows why he got that contract: he plays like this all the time. For much of this clip, Burrows is in front, shrouded by all-four bright red jerseys of the Flames penalty-kill. He fights for rebounds like a drunk, surviving the worst gang-beating this side of Henrik Sedin and the LA "Rodney" Kings, and even scoring the goal while Dion Phaneuf has him in a headlock. This is why Alex Burrows is (wait for it)... my favourite player.

2. Oct. 7 vs. the Montreal Canadiens
In which Burrows is the clean-up man on a failed piece of wizardous sedinerie of the highest order. "Not sure what Henrik was thinking going to the bankhand there," Ferraro says, speaking for all of us, but it works out in the end. Consider that Price does well to cut off Daniel's sharp-angle shot, or he might have been the goat in a top ten Sedin highlight on this one.

3. Oct. 11 vs. the Dallas Stars
For people that claim Burrows is just a tap-in artist or a Sedin-brand pylon, I submit this clip as evidence. Burrows benefits from some excellent passing here, but he shows impressive patience and lovable coyness when he takes the pass, then far side around Turco, who is trying to get over and cover the short side. It's subtle, but it's a heady goal-scorer's goal.

4. Nov. 5 vs. the Minnesota Wild
One might be forgiven for thinking Burrows is playing croquet here, as he slides the puck through a slew of feet (slewfoot!) to score the empty-netter. Burrows is also the one that clears this puck out of the defensive zone, as well as the one who regains control of it when he knocks it out of mid-air with his glove. It's a nice effort for an empty-net goal.

5. Nov. 26 vs. the Los Angeles Kings (at 0:27 of clip)
One of the many set plays of this line. Daniel jumps off the draw and switches wings with Burrows. Henrik wins the draw back to Daniel, coming across behind him, while Burrows muscles past his man and beats him to the net. In the confusion, a seam opens up, and Daniel hit Burrows with a cross-ice pass for the tap-in. If I recall correctly, they pulled this off a few times last season. Watch it a couple times. Daniel and Burrows know exactly where they're going from the moment they line up.

6. Nov. 28 vs. the Edmonton Oilers
Here's a highlight reel goal. Daniel and Henrik again work wonders with their passing, and the pass to Burrows down low put him alone in front of the net. The problem? He's facing the wrong way and the puck's on the wrong side of him. Burrows' control as he spins and cuts to the net is great, as is the second effort once his first attempt to stuff the puck home is denied.

7. Dec. 2 vs. the New Jersey Devils
Fantastic Sedin passing is kind of a given for any of these clips, but I like Daniel's sudden choice to spin and fire this one towards the net. Totally unexpected, even though he's typically the shooter. Burrows is where he usually is, right in front of the net, and he tips this one past Brodeur.

8. Dec. 3 vs. the Philadelphia Flyers
This is a lucky goal, but here are the reasons you could argue otherwise: as usual, the Sedin passing is of an extraordinary caliber just for Daniel to get a shot off. Burrows is a huge part of that, however. He usually is, though his excellent passing skills don't get much press. His major contribution to this goal, though, is where he is and who he's with. That's Pronger he's got tied up in front of the net, and any time Pronger's on the ice and he's too preoccupied to check a Sedin, an angel gets its wings. Alex Burrows just might be that angel.

9. Dec. 5 vs. the Carolina Hurricanes
Yet another highlight reel goal. We often talk about Henrik's remarkable passing, but that has as much to do with speed and weight as precision. Here he lobs one into the zone, knowing Daniel will be the first one onto it. He's right, and as Daniel comes out from behind the net, he centers it to Burrows. The puck gets tipped into the air, but Burrows shows some great hand-eye coordination and bats it in. I remember this game. I was way too bummed at the Canucks' crappy showing to be as blown away by this goal as I am now. Such is the inherent value of the Every Goal series. Out of context, this goal makes me happier than it ever could have.

10. Dec. 12 vs. the Minnesota Wild
Blah blah, incredible passing, but here's the difference this time. Rather than being parked in front of the net, Burrows sneaks into the open area at the faceoff dot, and when he receives the pass, he shows off that great wrist shot of his. Incredible that it took 10 goals to see Burrows score on a wrist shot. I thought he did that more often. Note the good job Shane O'Brien does to protect the puck. He's actually very good at that, both when he's trying to take it out of the defensive zone and when he's trying to keep it in the offensive zone.

11. Jan. 2 vs. the Dallas Stars
I like this empty-net goal because Burrows scores it by going to an area where he can receive the pass. There's another of his assets: he thinks the game well and knows where to go. He'll always get his fair share of empty-netters, too, because he's one of the best players to have on the ice when you're trying to close out a game. Lastly: you may not think much of this goal, but it's the first of 15 he scores in the month of January. Suffice it to say, he was an NHL player of the month that month.

12. Jan. 5 vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets
Part of me thinks Henrik meant to wrap this around on the backhand and lost control of the puck, but I know better. (Recall: if it's unthinkable, it was on purpose.) He meant for this to be a pass, which is incredible. Burrows is right there and this goal is a beauty.

13. Jan. 5 vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets
This short side back-pass is another set play by the Sedins. It's used regularly by others these days, but, like that slap-pass on the powerplay, it was wizardous sedinerie before it became textbook.

14. Jan. 5 vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets
Derek Brassard plays the goat here, as this 2-on-2 becomes a 2-on-1 the moment he forgets the principles of basic coverage. Burrows breaks to the net hard at the precise moment Brassard looks away, and Kesler feeds him with a pass. Ironically, while Brassard looks terrible on this goal, Burrows comes out of it looking like Bobby Orr. This is his first hat-trick goal in two nights.

15. Jan. 7 vs. the Phoenix Coyotes
By now, Burrows and the puck had become one (like this song), and it's no wonder that this one squirts free to him. He roofs it.

16. Jan. 7 vs. the Phoenix Coyotes
I love this goal. I love it because it's a broken play and it shouldn't be so fluid, but that's how this line can be sometimes. Even off a broken play, it looks planned. Burrows doesn't just rush to the net here either. He goes slowly, making sure he's always ready for the pass, and sure enough, when Henrik centers it to Daniel, Daniel touches it to an open Burrows for the goal. People have said anybody could score 30 with the Sedins, but not that many guys are going to be in the right position to receive half these passes.

17. Jan. 7 vs. the Phoenix Coyotes
Earlier in the Every Goal series, Skeeter talked about a goal that Wellwood scored with "something akin to authority." That was a little shot at the little guy, who is beloved around here despite shortcomings such as his inability to bear down on a shot. Kyle, if you're out there, this is how you do it. Burrows murders this puck into a wide open net for his second hat-trick in as many nights.

18. Jan. 11 vs. the Nashville Predators
This is the same play as the Nov. 26th goal. Burrows has a little more trouble getting to the net, which delays the inevitable and forces Daniel to pass it from a worse angle, but the result is exactly the same.

19. Jan. 11 vs. the Nashville Predators
On the power play, a rare off-mark pass from Henrik gets tipped right to Alex Edler, who one-times it. Alex Burrows, doing that thing where he parks in front of the net (it beats skating, which he's still kind of crummy at) tips it on the way through to take the credit. Note: if it's there to take, you should always take the credit, especially if you're a time-traveler.

20. Jan. 13 vs. the Minnesota Wild
Burrows starts this play, then goes directly to the net, where he tips home a Sami Salo blast. Should we be surprised he gets a stick on this one? Of course not; it was January.

21. Jan. 16 vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins
Burrows' second shorthanded goal of the month (he would get five total, with four coming in that magical January) is really similar to the one he scored against the Carolina Hurricanes last season to end a 10-game winless streak. He pokes the puck free on the penalty kill, goes in alone, and makes his signature move to the backhand. It's his bread-and-butter, and we love him for it.

22. Jan. 20 vs. the Edmonton Oilers
What do you say about a goal like this? The passing is incredible? Burrows is in perfect position? All those things are true. It amazes me that tic-tac-toe passing plays of this sort have become commonplace in Vancouver. We really are lucky.

23. Jan. 21 vs. the Dallas Stars
Here's another thing the Canucks did more than a few times last season: they stole the puck from a goaltender trying to play it and put it into the empty net. A goal like this is the best argument against the trapezoid there can possibly be. Goalies who play the puck--even the best ones--typically make mistakes. Let them play it as much as they want, at their own risk. Poor Alex Auld. He's maybe the best bald player in Canucks history (sorry Jan), but he still kind of sucks.

24. Jan. 30 vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs
Didn't we see this goal two clips ago? Speaking of sucky goalies, this is Vesa Toskala getting beaten on Burrows' patented deke to the backhand. You'd think, by then, goaltenders would know that Burrows did the same move almost every time, but maybe they did and Toskala's just terrible.

25. Jan. 30 vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs
Burrows third empty-net goal of the season is a lot like his first two. He shoots the puck toward the net, and because there's no goalie in it, the puck goes right in. Textbook. It's only fitting that Burrows' 15 goal-month would begin and end with an empty net goal, or that this last one would be shorthanded to boot. Understatement: Burrows had a pretty good January. Understatement of the year: Tanner Glass is not a third-line player.

26. Feb. 11. vs. the Florida Panthers
Back to those Sedin passing plays. In this clip, Burrows fights to get to the front of the net and receive a Henrik Sedin pass, and when I say "fights", I mean fights. Kyle Wellwood might say he's under more pressure than Atlas. Oh Wellwood, you just love Ayn Rand, don't you?

27. Mar. 2 vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets
Speaking of Kyle Wellwood, here he is, making a beautiful pass to get it to Burrows in front. As usual, Burrows is taking a beating in front just to be there.

28. Mar. 3 vs. the Detroit Red Wings
More wizardous sedinerie. This one comes on the rush, as Henrik drops for Daniel and goes to the net for a give-and-go. He's cut off on a great defensive play by Johan Franzen, but Burrows beats Stuart to the net and redirects the pass over Howard. Burrows' tip here is money. Note: tips should be money, not scratch & win tickets. A waitress friend told me a guy tried that once. Not cool.

29. Mar. 5 vs. the Chicago Blackhawks
Here's another incredible goal that underwhelmed and was forgotten because it came in a game where the Canucks were getting creamed. Look at the effort by Daniel on this play to accept this stretch-pass. From there, he gets it to Burrows who rips it past Niemi.

30. Mar. 9 vs. the Colorado Avalanche
This is the second goal of the season to go in off of Alex Burrows' thigh, this time on a Christian Ehrhoff shot from the point. What's up with Alex's thigh? It's a goal-scoring machine. Consider that the side of Alex Burrows' butt scored one less goal than Pavol Demitra last season.

31. Mar. 13 vs. the Ottawa Senators
Burrows' fifth shorthanded goal of the season (and his third on a breakaway) is different from the others in that he goes forehand. Look at LeClaire cheating to the other side, thinking that's where Burrows' is gonna pull it. You only get this much space on the forehand after people scout your backhand. Burrows is a dangerous player.

32. Mar. 16 vs. the New York Islanders
Burrows scores here on a centering feed from Daniel Sedin, but it's more than a tap-in, as he cleverly pulls the puck to the backhand to open Roloson up. Daniel's pass is a thing of beauty, but I almost forgot to mention it because I see it so bloody often.

33. Mar. 24 vs. the Anaheim Ducks
This is an incredible goal, but please, keep in mind that we've seen it a bunch of times. The turnover behind the net, the centering pass to Henrik, and then the spinorama pass to the goal scorer. This time, the goal scorer is Burrows, who has more empty net than the disciples of Jesus, who fished all night and caught nothing before Jesus showed up the next morning and told them to throw their net on the right side of the boat. Everybody remember that? No? Seriously, was I the only person who paid attention in Sunday School? Good grief.

34. Mar. 27 vs. the San Jose Sharks
I like this goal because it's the exact same play that Burrows and the Sedins have done twice this season. It was prettier then, with Daniel as the winger who curls behind Henrik and Burrows the winger breaking to the net, but the result is the same. Daniel is trying to break to the net and pick up a tap-in goal off a rebound, but he gets slowed up. Lucky for him, Burrows' shot gets through somehow.

35. Mar. 30 vs. the Phoenix Coyotes
Burrows' career-high 35th goal of the season is befitting of a 35-goal scorer, as he streaks down the wing and wires a slapshot past Brzygalov. It is a thing of beauty and a beautiful capper to an incredible season. Here's hoping that Burrows can produce similar numbers this year.


  1. Burrows is by far my favourite player also. I remember his first nhl goal (if you could find a clip of it, I'd be eternally grateful as it seems non-existent), where he skated by the net after his original shot and just refused to give up on the rebound even though he was essentially behind the net. I loved the heart, hustle and grit. He's personable and hardworking and he's got the skill set of someone who's honed his game, there's nothing not to love.

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