Wintering in Winnipeg

ADAM WAZNY -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

Alexandre Burrows has a second chance in his 2004-05 season, and he's not going to fritter it away.

Hoping to spend his winter in Winnipeg playing with the Manitoba Moose for a full year of American Hockey League action, the tenacious winger came to training camp with every intention of making the club.

After all, 73 points in 64 games with the Columbia Inferno of the East Coast Hockey League last season meant the Pincourt, Que., product was ready.

Or so everyone thought.

"He didn't have the camp that I was expecting," head coach Randy Carlyle said after practice yesterday.

MADE AN IMPRESSION

Given what he knew and heard about the player, Carlyle was surprised by Burrows' showing in the camp, but what shocked him even more was the up-front attitude the young player demonstrated upon hearing he was being sent down.

That candor made an impression on Carlyle.

"He had some credible comments that stuck with me," he said. "He told me he was disappointed about the opportunity he had in camp. The reason he was here was that he was an elite East Coast league player looking to take the next step.

"In training camp he didn't do it, and he'll be the first to tell you that."

OK. Let's ask him.

Alexandre, did you drop the ball on this season before the season even started?

"I didn't have my best camp, no question," Burrows admitted, grateful for another look. "But I felt like I didn't get a really good look at my game. I struggled, maybe trying too hard to make a good impression, and I understand why I was sent down.

"Now it's like a second chance to show I can play at this level."

Burrows was given an opportunity for redemption on Oct. 29 -- the date of his recall -- and scored his first AHL goal against the Utah Grizzlies on Nov. 4. Last week in Cincinnati he potted another key goal in a 4-2 win over the Mighty Ducks.

If the amount of playing time a player gets is an indication of how a coach feels about a certain player, then Carlyle has been quite pleased with the hard work Burrows has brought to the table this time around.

In eight games the head coach has rewarded the 23-year-old with some quality ice time -- something the winger didn't get on two separate call ups last year.

"I had five shifts total," Burrows recalled. "Now I'm playing a regular shift which is a lot better than coming up and watching a game. It feels some good to be out there and get some chances."


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