It wasn’t just an­other game for Alex Bur­rows

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - SPORTS - BRUCE GAR­RIOCH

VAN­COU­VER — The ex­pec­ta­tion was Alex Bur­rows would be wel­comed back with open arms Tues­day night at Rogers Arena.

This wasn’t just any other night or any other game for the Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors’ winger, it was his chance to re­turn to the place he called home for 12 NHL sea­sons with the Van­cou­ver Canucks and the be­lief was a video to hon­our his ca­reer with the club dur­ing the first tele­vi­sion time­out was go­ing to be emo­tional.

Make no mis­take, Bur­rows, 36, made his im­pact felt here which is why this night was go­ing to be spe­cial.

“I had a chance to talk to him this morn­ing and he seems ex­cited. It’s go­ing to be a spe­cial night for him for sure and for the guys in this room who played with him,” said Canucks winger Daniel Sedin after Tues­day’s morn­ing skate.

Sedin has plenty of re­spect for the way Bur­rows carved out his ca­reer with the Canucks after go­ing un­drafted and spend­ing three sea­sons in the East Coast Hockey League be­fore earn­ing an AHL deal with the Van­cou­ver or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“He started out as a fourth-line guy (in 2005-06) and he did ev­ery­thing he could to stay on this team and be good for this team,” Sedin added. “That’s some­thing you have to re­spect and that’s some­thing you want to see from guys nowa­days _ (play­ers) that do ev­ery­thing they can to stay in the lineup.

“He moved up. He started on the fourth-line, moved up to third and then we (Daniel and his brother Hen­rik Sedin) got a chance to play with him as well and had a lot of suc­cess. A big part of that suc­cess was him.”

The Sen­a­tors ar­rived in Van­cou­ver Sun­day af­ter­noon so the play­ers could try to get ad­justed to the time change and that al­lowed Bur­rows the op­por­tu­nity to catch up with some of his ex-team­mates Monday for din­ner which is why he will be happy to have this game be­hind him so he can turn the page.

“This city means a lot to me. It has a spe­cial place in my heart,” Bur­row told a huge me­dia scrum in the Ot­tawa locker room. “I caught up with a few guys (Sun­day) night and once the puck drop it’s go­ing to be busi­ness-like. We need these points and that’s why we’re here.

He ad­mit­ted the trib­ute would be emo­tional for him.

“A lit­tle bit,” Bur­rows said. “I spent 12 great years in this city and this team meant a lot to me. I’m sure (the video) is go­ing to be spe­cial to me but at the same time once it’s all over I need to fo­cus on my game and help­ing my team win.”

Nat­u­rally, his former team­mates were bug­ging him be­cause they were go­ing to get the chance to play against him for the first time since he was dealt to the Sen­a­tors at last Fe­bru­ary’s trade dead­line. Winger Jake Vir­ta­nen ex­changed barbs with Bur­rows by text mes­sage.

“It’s be great to see Burr. I texted him last night and said I’m com­ing after him. He replied with some things I prob­a­bly can’t say,” said Vir­ta­nen with a smile.

In Van­cou­ver, Bur­rows’ ac­tions spoke louder than words. He gave ev­ery­thing he had ev­ery time he pulled on the No. 14 jer­sey for the Canucks and peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ated his work ethic. It was a big rea­son why he earned the right to play with the Sedin twins on the club’s top line at one point in his ca­reer.

“He meant a lot to this or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Daniel Sedin said. “Not only on the ice, but off the ice as well. He did so many great things in this com­mu­nity and meant a lot to the young guys on this team.

“I think he set a great ex­am­ple for how to act inside and out­side the locker room.”

Bur­rows was try­ing to take it all in stride but he wasn’t sure what it was go­ing to feel like to skate here in an­other uni­form.

“I don’t know what it’s go­ing to be like. My main fo­cus will be to play a nor­mal game and try to for­get all my old friends on the other team and that jer­sey on the other team,” Bur­rows said. “I’m just go­ing to try to fo­cus on try­ing to help my team win. It might be hard, but that’s what I’m go­ing to try to do.”

That may have been eas­ier said than done for Bur­rows.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.