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.

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