Sports Hockey

Canucks literally go viral while trading fan favourite Alex Burrows

By Steve Burgess

The Canucks traded Alex Burrows to the Senators on Monday. (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images/Files)

The Canucks traded Alex Burrows to the Senators on Monday. (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images/Files)

You've got to give the Canucks credit. Not many teams having such a mediocre season succeed in going viral. But the team went old school with some actual retroviral infection this week, losing a whack of players to the mumps. Contagious players — they ought to provide a great tactical advantage. Who wants to touch them? No need for bodychecks — just start coughing as they head up the ice, or have some nasty-looking Kleenex sticking out of their gloves.

But it's too late for such innovative strategies. The Canucks are pretty much out of the playoff race and the trade deadline is here. So the team's ranks are being depleted by more than just disease. With more possible trades pending, Canucks fans are saying goodbye to the devoted Alex Burrows.

In his career, Alex Burrows got zero breaks and gave zero bleeps. He was never drafted by an NHL team. It's not just that he worked his way up from the Frozen Puddle League — he became a star.

Who loves Alex Burrows? Absolutely nobody, except his coaches, teammates, and fans. In a league full of champion trash talkers Burr was the biggest compost pile of them all. He was the Joker, Heath Ledger version. There were times he took it way too far, as when he had to apologize to Patrick O'Sullivan for a taunt that referenced O'Sullivan's history of abuse by his father. But he could also get a guy to come unglued by bugging him about a potato farm (Google Aaron Downey). In a perfect finale, Burrows' last goal as a Canuck came earlier in February against Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner. First Burrows aggravated Lehner until the goaltender lost his marbles and attacked him. Then he scored on him, leaving an enraged Lehner barking at the moon as he celebrated. A Burrows masterpiece.

On the ice he was a jerk and a pest. But no Canuck was more loyal to the memories of Luc Bourdon and Rick Rypien, and he supported great causes too. Many Canucks fans turned on Ryan Kesler after he left for Anaheim. That will never happen with Burrows. He will be guaranteed a Vancouver downpour of love anytime he visits.

So goodbye, faithful Alex Burrows. You have served the Canucks well. One last favour — next time the Sens play the Leafs could you maybe give Auston Matthews the mumps? It's a new strategy we're trying.