For love of game - and a Cup
Vancouver Canucks' Alexandre Burrows (R) hits Colorado Avalanches' Brett Clark during first period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, British Columbia, March 15, 2009. (REUTERS)
Over the past few weeks, Alex Burrows has been given many titles.
He's been called the unsung hero, he's been called the team MVP, and he's been called the best bang for the buck.
But, the most notable recognition for Burrows has to be his love for this sport.
"Winning is always why we play this game," said Burrows. "Everyone is laughing and smiling and we're working hard for that good feeling."
By now, everyone has heard the rags-to-riches story of Burrows' hockey career.
From ball hockey in Montreal to not being drafted into the pros, the Pincourt, Quebec native clawed his way onto the No. 1 line for an NHL team.
Just a couple weeks ago, he was rewarded with an $8-million contract to stick with Vancouver for another four years.
But considering that Burrows would have probably made more on the free-agent market come July, it was his desire to win a Stanley Cup that factored into him re-signing with the Canucks.
"We can't be too greedy when it comes down to paycheques," said Burrows. "Look at Detroit, they could have guys out there that could make lots more money than what they're making right now but they're taking a bit less to win a [Cup] and hopefully guys will do the same in our locker room this summer."
That says a lot about the 27-year-old's loyalty. It also says a lot about his value to the Canucks right now.
Over the past 18 games in which Vancouver has won 14, Burrows tallied 11 goals and 17 points.
And no one would have expected the former fourth-line checker to come close to 30 goals with 14 regular season games remaining.
"I have no doubt in my mind that he will continue to get better," said longtime Canuck Mattias Ohlund. "He came from nowhere three or four years ago, and showed that you don't have to be a high draft pick to make it into this league. That's important for a lot of young hockey players to see."
It just makes this Burrows' lovefest in Vancouver so much more fitting.