Saturday, September 22, 2012

Alex Burrows: The backhand deke

It's as dependable as an NHL lockout every ten years or so.  If Burrows is skating alone across the blueline, the goalie will still be playing the shot by the time the puck's been roofed on the backhand.  Alternatively put by the Pass it to Bulis bloggers, "When Burrows challenges a man to a duel, he fakes a forehand slap before going backhand."

With his new four-year deal in hand, Burrows is Vancouver's most recent man of the hour in this current NHL off-season purgatory.  Over the course of his present four-year bargain, he has honed his backhand deke into near-legendary status among Canucks circles – on par with say...Naslund's wrister from the half boards or Salo's blueline slapshot.  Just wait til it happens against Mike Vernon in a playoff game and the internet will light up with blogs named in the goal's honour. 

The now-trademark move has been pulled off more times than logic really should allow, but exactly how often are we talking here?  Among his 149 regulation and shootout goals, no less than 16 times. 

Including the very first time he pulled it off, against Edmonton four years ago, here's every single one:



Of the 16 goals scored, 8 were in a shootout, 5 were short handed and 3 at even strength.  There were five instances this past season, 6 in 2010–11, 2 in 2009–10, 2 in 2008–09 and 3 in 2007–08.  The most telling breakdown of the 16 goals, however, is that every last one was crucial to the outcome of the game.  If it wasn't a shootout goal, Burrows either tied the game or put Vancouver ahead or within one (the lone exception being the Toronto goal in which he brought Vancouver within two), further cementing his reputation as a timely scorer.

Here's to 16 more breakaway dekes over the next four years...

-HC

*See the discussion regarding this post on the Canucks.com forums here.

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