If April 9, 2016 was Alex Burrows’ last game as a Vancouver Canuck, it was a fitting curtain call for one of the Canucks’ greatest players. Burrows always had a flair for the dramatic, and found himself at the center of some of the most important moments in franchise history. Here are ten of my favourites.
10) November 22, 2008: Kid Line Brawl
Alex Burrows was a part of a real culture change for the Canucks, a real youth movement that energized the fanbase. Some might forget the brief “kid line” that stuck together for awhile in 2008, with Burrows, Ryan Kesler, and Jannik Hansen. In this moment, the Kid Line took on a part of the Canucks recent past: Matt Cooke.
9) April 15, 2009: Saying “Give Your Balls a Tug” and “Kelly’s a Great Gal”
As much as Burrows would become associated with the Sedins as time went on, his first partner in crime was Ryan Kesler. The two were accomplices in annoyance for many years, with this beaking of David Backes their undisputed best collaboration. This may seem immature, but the Canucks were an immature team at the time. This was all a part of growing up.
8) February 14, 2008: Fighting Brian Rolston
My favourite part of this era of the Canucks were how close they seemed as a team. Burrows was a major part of that. In this moment, he proves himself as a teammate. Brian Rolston hits Willie Mitchell from behind, right after Mitchell had returned from a spinal injury. Burrows showed no hesitation in dropping the gloves with the larger Rolston and defending his teammate.
7) March 27, 2006: First Hat-Trick
This was the turning point in Burrows’ career. Up until this point, he looked like a guaranteed career 4th-liner. He had shown some offense in the AHL and had a few nice goals to his name with the Canucks, but nobody thought of Burrows as a potential top line winger. This hat trick might have started to change minds about Burrows, and he continued to beat the odds as he has his entire career.
6) June 8, 2011: Fighting with Tim Thomas
The Canucks have had many rivalries come and go over the years, but the short rivalry with the Boston Bruins is probably the most intense in franchise history. The Canucks got under the skin of the Bruins, and the reverse was also true. That’s why nobody in Vancouver was upset to see Burrows take a few shots at Drew Carey-doppelganger Tim Thomas. If only he got a few more in before being tackled.
5) June 4th, 2011: Game 2 OT Winner
“Alex Burrows has done it again!” If you’re a Canucks fan, then chances are good that this is the exact moment you believed that they could win the Stanley Cup. Burrows’ gutsy effort 11 seconds into overtime exemplified the very best of the 2011 Canucks. At this point, they seemed unstoppable.
4) April 9th, 2016: Last Goal?
The goal that inspired this list. If these 10 moments show anything, it’s that Burrows has an uncanny ability to step up in big moments. Some call it clutch, some call it luck, some call it destiny; but whatever it is, Burrows has always had it. When Burrows was selected to take the shootout in what may have been his last game as a Canuck, it was almost certain he would score. It just wouldn’t have been very Burrows-like if he hadn’t. Speaking of Burrows-like, he took the opportunity to pay tribute to his fallen friend, Luc Bourdon, proving once again that Alex Burrows is one of the greatest people to ever wear a Vancouver jersey.
3) October 9, 2008: The First Arrow
(Couldn’t find the goal itself, so enjoy the entire game’s low-def highlights)
One can’t talk about Burrows’ potential last goal without remembering his first firing of an imaginary arrow. The Canucks franchise was rocked by the tragic death of Luc Bourdon in the summer of 2008, and the season opener next year was understandably emotional. Burrows, a close friend of Bourdon’s, was one of many visibly shaken Canucks during the pre-game ceremony. It would have been completely acceptable if the team had played poorly after such an event, but again, that wouldn’t have been very Burrows-like. The Canucks beat the Flames 6-0 and Burrows scored two goals, which prompted his now infamous “bow and arrow” tribute to Bourdon.
2) February 3, 2009: Carolina Stick/Slumpbuster
The Canucks were in an awful slump, and the 2008-09 season was starting to look like a bust. The team had lost eight straight games, and had given up two leads against the Hurricanes. Worse, the Canucks had taken a penalty with less than three minutes remaining. Then, Kesler chipped a puck ahead to a dashing Burrows, who used a signature backhand to put the Canucks ahead. Burrows seemed to know what an important moment this was, trying (and failing) to break his stick over his leg in celebration. “How do you spell relief? It starts with a B.”
1) April 26, 2011: Slaying the Dragon
The easiest choice by far. What more can be said about this? Burrows slayed the dragon. As always, when the Canucks needed a hero, Burrows was there. The happiest moment in Canucks history.