Tuesday, February 21, 2012


If you heard former Nux coach Marc Crawford on Team 1040 today you must have appreciated his honesty when he admitted that even after seeing Burr in a couple camps and at the NHL level as a regular he didn't feel Alex would ever reach this milestone.

Here he is, 500 games later, undrafted former ball-hockey player with two full years in the ECHL who thought of giving up the game before he, in his eyes, had reached the apex when he finally earned an AHL contract.  Given the history, I doubt Burrows' himself truly felt he would play 500 NHL games, this quickly and with this much offensive impact nonetheless.

Soon he worked his way from the Moose to splitting time between the press box and fourth line, earning time with fellow youngster Ryan Kesler as an agitation penalty-kill duo, and through some extreme fluke on to the top producing line in the NHL.

We've all heard about his accomplishments since joining the Twins on the Nux top line, but what's most impressive is the fact that he is, in that time, the fourth highest scoring player in the league 5-on-5.  He doesn't get the top powerplay unit time with Hank and Dank, yet he still produces.  He is given credit for his speed, helping the twins score off the rush, and also for his grit, creating open ice and keeping the forecheck alive, but few credit the intangibles that really make him the player he is.  The type of player, unlike the countless others to suit up with 22 and 33 in blue and green, and make a positive impact.  The fact that he does it on even strength brings me to my argument: The Burr/Sedin relationship is symbiotic.  What good are the Twins even strength?  This team as a whole 5-on5 is sub-par.  You don't need any more proof than the result of last years' Stanley Cup Finals, when the whistles went away and the Nux offense dried up.  Burr's value to this team and to his linemates is immeasurable, and his continual lack of props is baffling.

Everyone remembers what Burr was before he joined the Twins line, but few remember what they were like without the feisty French Canadian.  The year Burr was shuffled on to that unit the twins each had 82 points playing all 82 games, still considered soft perimeter players; their talents, an enigma, wasted on so many big slow wingers.  Enter Burr, and the duo become world-beaters, taking turns leading the league in points - why doesn't Burr get credit for increasing Henrik and Daniel's point production?  I think it should be the other way around.

It goes without saying Burr is the best bargain in the league, and he might just get his props come contract talk time.  He's a UFA after this season, with the Twins each having an additional year left on their contracts he sure holds a lot of leverage.  If he doesn't get paid and leaves the twins side they may as well not even play 5 on 5, and you can bet they want him to stay until their next pay-day too, because they of all people know what Burr means to their bottom line.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Internal Cap, Internal Schmap

So, let's say you're Henrik or Daniel Sedin, and Mike Gillis asks if you'd be ok with Rick Nash and his 7.8 million dollar cap coming to town, what would you say?

This seems to be the big objection, and it made sense, when innitial reports that Vancouver was not one of the five teams that Nash would consider, however, since then we have heard that if Schneider is in play Vancouver is an option.

What the Sedin-sympathizers are forgetting is the gian elephant already in the lockerroom, that of Roberto Luongo and his retirement contract.  If I were in the Twins' shoes, I'd probably have a bigger problem with Lou's long term deal than Nash' bigger money deal.

Also very important to consider is the fact that Nash is arguably worth more.  He has lead the league in goals, scored 40+ twice, 30 or more 6 times, all on one of the leagues' worst teams.  That's twice as many 30 goal seasons as the Twins combined.  His points totals may not be there, but he is younger, and, arguably the best one-on-one talent in the league, with a plethora of other skills to back up his salary.

Also, he negotiated that contract with a small market team with lots of cap space and no stars.  Henrik and Daniel probably realized they could've gotten 8 mil from any cellar dweller with cap space, but they chose to stay here because they want to win - so why object to adding Nash if you could?  He could be the missing peice!

The other big objection to adding Nash is the cost.  Cory Schneider would most definitely be involved, and most feel we'll need two goalies.  But, in reality, Schneider is a waste because AV won't use him when he should, and Nash will be about as big a ticket as the Schneider chip could possibly punch.

If I wake up tomorrow and Cory Schneider, Mason Raymond, a prospect and two first rounders are headed to Columbus for Rick Nash I'll be the fourth happiest man in Vancouver, behind Henrik, Daniel and Mike Gillis.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What if.....

Hello Canuck fans.  As we approach my favourite national holiday, the NHL Trade Deadline, anticipation grows and grows to a boiling point.  Last year Nux GM Mike Gillis slipped a couple deals, that at the time appeared to be complimentary, in at the 11th hour.  Max Lapierre and Chris Higgins ended up being instrumental parts of a Cup Run that fell just one game short.  He chose not to make a blockbuster swap which probably would've included either, or both, Cory Schneider and Cody Hodgson, who are now two of the teams best players.  This year, they might not be spaired, and the Vancouver fan base may just get that big-name player alot sooner than February 27th as well.

Rick Nash is being shopped.  Full on.  If this is true, he won't be on the shelf for long, and with injuries mounting and a month or so of uninspired played by his team, Gillis is likely preparing his best and highest offer, and it will have to be a high one.

If Nash is being shopped, 29 other teams in the league will throw their hats in the ring, and their are some pretty nice hats available.

Chicago has a plethora of young talent, as do the the Kings, but the major player has got to be Toronto.  Leaf GM Brian Burke has assembled the deepest collection of young talent in the NHL, particularly on the blue line.  A player like Nash, under contract no less, isn't often dealt, and you can bet he'll fetch a lot more than what Doug Wilson paid to scoop Joe Thornton from Boston.  Howson can shoot the moon with Burke, and he'll happily empty the cupboards, but does the potential to add both parts of a top D pairing, two top six forward prospects and picks beat out Gillis' trump card: Cory Schneider?

The Leafs have more quantity and quality in all departments, except net, and if there is oen position that can take you from cellar dweller to playoff threat, it's goalie, and, if there's one goalie to do it, it's Cory Schneider.

In the next 24 - 72 hours Cory Schneider could be headed a little closer to his home, along with a prospect and pick or two, and this move still allows the Nux to hold on to the best third line centre in the league, Cody Hodgson.

If Howson asks for Schneider, prospects and picks, Gillis has to do it.  What does keeping Schneider do anyway when we have already seen he won't get the playing time he deserves.