Canucks and Beyond

Always a Burrows Fan

09/11/2008 at 5:31pm EDT

Alex Burrows is open to talking about a contract extension but it’s liable to cost the team a few extra bucks this time. From Elliott Pap in the Vancouver Sun:

Burrows is scheduled to make a bargain basement $525,00 - and cap hit of only $483,000 - this season. It’s the third and final year of a deal he signed when he was a fringe player.

He moved beyond that status in 2007-08 with 31 points and a team-leading plus-11. His point total placed him sixth among Canuck forwards. His 19 assists were fifth best. His 179 penalty minutes easily topped all Vancouver skaters.

He’s big league now after battling his way up from minor league Greenville, Baton Rouge and Columbia in the U.S. south.

Burrows’s story is one of my favorites, his journey into the league seeming so unlikely only a few short years ago. But I also have another attachment to Burrows—he was the first NHL player I ever had the pleasure of interviewing in person.

It was about two years ago after an absolutely disastrous Canucks/Oilers game that I caught up with him in the Canucks locker room.

While most of the players dealt with the crush of press as quickly as possible and then got out, Burrows stayed in the room long after, talking through some issues with a trainer.

I remember feeling pretty uncomfortable about approaching him for the conversation—aside from being a bit nervous, it was also clear that the entire team was in a hellish mood, the game easily being the worst I ever saw them play in person. But I pushed on and asked if he’d be up for an interview, and he very graciously stopped and gave me all the time I needed.

Here’s the segment that crossed my mind today, from that 2006 conversation:

Alanah McGinley: How do you deal with it mentally after a game like this?

Alex Burrows: Well it’s tough. You think about it, you lay in bed and you think about it. You’ve got to tell yourself to keep working. It’s been like that all my life… It’s not easy, we’re not always getting the bounces, but if you keep working hard the hockey gods are going to come on your side.

Alanah: You strike me as a player that enjoys playing to the fans and this bad luck might be getting to you in a personal way.

Alex: Yeah, a little bit for sure. I haven’t scored a goal in 28 games, but you’ve just got to keep working. Like I said, the bounces aren’t going our way right now.

Alanah: Are you happy in Vancouver?

Alex: Oh yeah, I love it. It’s a great city.

Alanah: Just got to find a way to make it work out?

Alex: Exactly!

Well, I’d say he certainly found a way to make it work out. As one of my favorite players, I hope he gets a deal done with the Canucks.

And as my first interview subject in GM Place, I have to admit that I’ll always have a soft spot for the guy who was so nice to the unknown hockey blogger chick. :)

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