Burr was announced as the Canucks Bill Masterton trophy nominee and this article in the Vancouver Province by Ben Kuzma about his nomination is beautiful. This is why he is a fan favourite in Vancouver. More than just his recent career play with the Sedin twins. Guys like Burr are why I fell in love with hockey. He’s a class act through and through and deserves every minute of his success. The parts where he talked about Luc Bourdon and his girlfriend Charlene Ward made me tear up. When he explained his season couldn’t have happened without the help from current and former teammates, I smiled, because that’s just the kind of guy Burr is. Still humble. It’s reassuring to know that he’ll be there for Taylor Pyatt as well. He’s a good guy to have on your side.
Like a hot potato, Alex Burrows was quickly passing credit to others Thursday.
Informed that he’s the Bill Masterton Trophy nominee as the Vancouver Canucks player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the game — based on an overwhelming vote by the local chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association — the feisty winger wondered what all the fuss is about.
“I know what the trophy means,” said a grateful Burrows.
“It’s about perseverance and passion for the game and sportsmanship, too. But I don’t know about that one. I guess that’s okay. I haven’t been suspended in over four years. I know I’ve got to play hard within the rules, but there are a lot of candidates in this room who could have got it. But I’m really happy.”
Burrows tried tossing praise to Trevor Linden, Roberto Luongo, Willie Mitchell and Ryan Kesler for being influential in his heart-warming rise from agitating checker to surprise scorer.
He tried to say how dedicating the season to his late best friend Luc Bourdon — and being of great support to Bourdon’s girlfriend Charlene Ward — has been a driving force.
He tried to say how thinking of Bourdon before every game and twice having significant two-goal games meant a higher power is at play in all this.
It’s what Burrows didn’t say that speaks of his pride as player and compassion as a human being.
It’s not just a meteoric rise from bubble boy at training camp two years ago to his current career season as the unlikely catalyst to spark Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
It’s not just 11 goals in 15 games last month or even consideration as a Olympic team training-camp invitee this summer.
It’s so much more.
Take Bourdon’s girlfriend. Burrows talks as passionately about making sure she has support as talking about the Canucks’ push to a Northwest Division title and Stanley Cup championship. Immersed in incredible grief, Ward still finished a tough first year in her quest to become a doctor.
She speaks daily with Burrows’ girlfriend, Nancy Roy, and visits several times in the summer.
“She passed first exams even through all the hard times instead of just packing it in for a year,” marvelled the 27-year-old Pinecourt, Que. native. “We try to help her out through the challenging times and make her feel better.”
A heavy heart weighed on Burrows to start the season.
Then he scored two goals on opening night following a Bourdon video tribute and did the defenceman’s signature bow-and-arrow celebration.
And when Burrows had two goals after signing a four-year, $8 million US contract extension, he knew what was going on.
“Luc was looking down on us and giving us a big 6-0 victory and I know he’s helping me achieve big things,” said Burrows.
“I really do think there’s something special around here.”
Burrows has been special. Since being promoted to the Sedin line on Feb. 10 at St. Louis, he has 25 points (15-10) in 25 games.
He has a career-high 27 goals and 49 points and has four shorthanded goals.
And he’s now getting power-play time, too.
“He never gave up and that says something about his personality and his character,” Kesler said of how the undrafted Burrows rose from ECHL afterthought to NHL mainstay.”
And, as you would expect, Burrows tosses the praise right back to Kesler.
“This is a guy who got me through all this,” said Burrows. “He always shows up. You just follow his footsteps and make sure you’re going because he’s going.”