May 3, 2012
Burrows has new twins
By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency
HELSINKI - They don't look like twins.
But to Alex Burrows and Brent Sutter they do.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is Henrik. Jordan Eberle is Daniel. Or the other way around. I can never tell them apart.
"I'm used to playing with two world class players," said Burrows of the Sedins.
"These two are a little younger, but they're going to be every bit as good one day as the twins. It already feels good playing with them after one practice.
"I'm used to playing with players like them, guys with tremendous skill who like to look for each other. I'm used to that. I'm used to going to the net and taking a checker with me to help it work," he added.
Coach Brent Sutter telegraphed the change after Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins looked significantly less effective playing with Teddy Purcell of Tampa Bay in Canada's second pre-tournament game in Switzerland than they did with Dallas Stars' Jamie Benn in the first one.
"Burrows has the grit. And he's used to playing with some pretty skilled players in Vancouver," said Sutter.
"I think he'll be the best fit for them. He understands who he is as a player. He has bite. He gives them that grit. He goes into the corners, plays the boards and goes to the net."
Thus Burrows was removed from the ÔMutual Lack of Admiration Society Line' with Anaheim Ducks Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
"All I could think of when I heard Burrows and Perry were going to be on a line together for that last pre-tournament game in Switzerland was that I hoped they wouldn't be going after each other on the ice wearing the same sweaters," said Getzlaf of the two players in the league who detest playing against each other more than just about anybody in hockey.
Getzlaf showed up here and discovered Benn was his new linemate with Perry.
So RNH and Eberle will open the world championship playing with Burrows Saturday against Zdeno Chara and Slovakia.
Twitter reaction to the move of Burrows to play with Edmonton's Calder and Lady Byng trophy candidates was not nice.
¥ "That is blasphemy!"
¥ "I just threw up I my mouth a little bit."
¥ "He better not teach our young guns to bite and pull hair."
¥ "Say it ain't so. Can't Kevin Lowe veto that?"
¥ "If that's Brent Sutter's idea of a joke, it's not very funny!"
¥ "Props to anyone who can keep their food down after that news."
¥ "At least it's not Ryan Kesler teaching them soccer dives."
But all is well with Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins.
They both say they only dislike him on general grounds that he's a member of the Vancouver Canucks.
"We kinda dislike all the Canucks about the same in our rivalry," said Eberle.
The second-year Oiler who produced 76 points this season including 34 goals to go with RNH's 18-goal 52-point season to tie for the rookie scoring title despite not playing 21 games, makes the point that they'll spend more time on the ice with Burrows Friday in the Hartwall Arena than they have any night in an NHL rink.
"We usually play against Manny Malhotra's shutdown line,"
Nugent-Hopkins said even if there was the ongoing sort of stuff which exists between Perry and Burrows, it's the kind of thing you check at the dressing room door.
"You have to come together as a team. It'll be fine."
Eberle said he believes it could be a lot better than fine.
"He has the perfect dynamics to play on our line," said Captain Clutch, the hero of a 2-1 win in Fribourg Sunday, scoring with less than a full second to play to send the game to overtime before scoring the only goal in the shootout to win it, bringing up memories of late-game heroics for Team Canada at the world junior.
"Burrows plays in-your-face hockey and goes hard to the net. He brings the edge to our line that Nuge and I can't bring," said Eberle.
"He brings a lot including a pretty good shot."
And if you make a study of Burrows since he joined the group, it's hard to find a player who seems to be more thrilled about finally wearing the Team Canada uniform than he seems to be.
"Boy it's nice," he said.
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