Breaking up is good to do

GUTS McTAVISH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

History tells us that any time a famous duo splits up it isn't always a bed of roses for both parties.

Take Sonny and Cher, for example. One minute they're the hottest duo on TV, then before you know it, one's lying in a morgue while the other's polishing her Grammys and Oscars in a thong.

Fortunately there are exceptions to the rule and Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows are just that. Come April, we may look back and say the decision to split up the team's most consistent duo may have been the rallying cry that put this team back on a fast track to make the playoffs. It could also have been the move that saved Alain Vigneault his job.

The benefits of this split up are numerous. Mats Sundin now has one of the best fore-checking wingers in hockey to get him the puck. Pavol Demitra looks like he's suddenly five years younger. The Sedins may finally have competition for the team's No. 1 line.

But to me, the biggest upside in all of this is Kesler himself. Finally he can showcase his offensive abilities and believe me he has them. He is becoming one of the best two-way players in the NHL. Selke, anyone?

Alexander Burrows is now the undisputed leader of the Canucks' third line and he has embraced that role, and proven to himself and everyone else that he is a valuable asset to this team. It's now up to management to make it a priority to resign Burrows, who is certainly in line for a healthy raise. Nothing short of locking him up for three or four years will suffice.

There is no doubt Bobby Lu is the leader of this team but he is certainly no match for Kesler and Burrows as the emotional leaders. That's something that seemed almost frowned on during the stoic Naslund regime.


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