Burrows reaches pinnacle quickly

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

A broken nose nearly two months ago prevented Alexandre Burrows from making his NHL debut.

But Burrows, who led the Manitoba Moose in scoring before he was recalled to take the place of Rick Rypien, got a second chance to make his first impression on Monday night as the Vancouver Canucks dropped a 4-1 decision to the St. Louis Blues at the Savvis Center.

"Exactly, I thought it might have been my only chance when I broke my nose that day," Burrows said yesterday from Dallas. "I got another chance, and I was pretty fortunate. I'm really happy. It was pretty fun. I didn't make any mistakes, and I got a few shots on net. I played hard and finished my hits. Unfortunately, we lost."

Burrows, who suffered the broken nose Nov. 12 after taking an elbow to the face from Cleveland Barons forward Craig Valette, took 16 shifts and earned seven minutes and 23 seconds of ice time, playing mostly with Trevor Linden and Ryan Kesler.

The pride of Pincourt, Que., was on the ice for a goal scored by former Moose captain Nolan Baumgartner, but it was waved off because the referee said Burrows had his foot in the crease and interfered with the goalie.

"It could have been a great call if it's on your side, but it's a bad call when it goes against you," said Burrows, who has flourished with increased ice time under Moose head coach Alain Vigneault.

Late in the game, Burrows got into a scrap with Blues defenceman Dennis Wideman and came out on the losing end.

"He pushed me after the whistle. I pushed him back and we started throwing (punches) right off the bat," said Burrows, who signed a two-way contract with the Canucks on Nov. 10. "It wasn't my best fight, but I wanted to show I wasn't going to back down."

Burrows, 24, got word from Moose general manager Craig Heisinger on New Year's Day that he had been recalled, and he had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. on Monday in order to catch his first flight en route to St. Louis.

"I was pretty tired actually, so I had no trouble sleeping on the plane," said Burrows, who has 30 points in 33 games with the Moose this season. "I was pretty excited, but I was focused on what I had to do, which was work hard and play my game."

By the time the morning after had arrived, Burrows was able to appreciate what it meant for him to make his NHL debut, since it looked like he could be an ECHL lifer just two years ago.

"It's a great feeling," said Burrows, an undrafted winger who spent three seasons in the ECHL before becoming a regular with the Moose last season. "It went pretty fast. A couple years ago I was in the Coast, then the AHL and a couple of days ago I got the call to play in the NHL. It's only one game. It's pretty neat, but I've got to keep working hard and prove that I can play at this level on a regular basis."

Canucks head coach Marc Crawford had good things to say about Burrows and compared his style of play to current Canucks forwards Matt Cooke and Jarkko Ruutu.

"He's good on the forecheck, and he's a pretty intelligent player," Crawford told Vancouver reporters covering the team in St. Louis.

Burrows is expected to suit up again tonight against the Dallas Stars as the Canucks continue a four-game road trip.


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