Photo Credit: s.yume/Flickr

Canucks' Burrows on Team Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics?

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Alex Burrows (Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

The opening ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are set to take place on Friday, February 7, 2014 and the first preliminary games will take place the next day—just under one year from today.Various media outlets and commentators have offered their take on what they think the Olympic team will look like. Will there be any Vancouver Canucks on the team?

The Canucks had one player on the 2010 team that won gold in Vancouver and that was goaltender Roberto Luongo. Despite backstopping Canada to a gold medal, there are no guarantees that he will on the team this time around with the emergence of other Canadian goaltenders like Carey Price and Cam Ward.

Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who is signed to the end of the 2013-14 season, will presumably be in the mix once again this time around.  Kingston, Ontario native and Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith is a long shot candidate. He had a breakout season last year posted 38-18-10 last season with a 2.21 goals against average and .930 save percentage.

Will Luongo even be a Canuck next year? It sure looks doubtful. One player that will be here next year is winger Alexandre Burrows, who may be a darkhorse candidate for the 2014 team due to his defensive prowess.

On past Olympic teams, Team Canada has carried a “defensive specialist.” The 2002 team had Michael Peca, the 2006 team had Kris Draper, and the 2010 team had Brenden Morrow and Patrice Bergeron.

In international hockey, teams are permitted to dress two goaltenders, eight defencemen, and 12 forwards—allowing four defence pairings and four forward lines. However, North American-coached teams tend prefer to dress the traditional three defence pairings and four forward lines with an extra forward and defenceman.

In the gold medal game of 2010, Bergeron was used exclusively as a defensive player. Since he was the extra forward, he played only 3:12, but was a key contributor in the faceoff circle and on the penalty kill.

Burrows can be that key contributor on the penalty kill and can be used in any role on the team. He is equally effective on left wing and right wing, on the first line and fourth line, and can be a net presence on the power play. This season, Burrows has shown that he can even play a bit of centre.

There are many gears and faucets to Burrows’ game. On the first line, he can complement skill and on the fourth line, he can be a hardnosed, physical presence. He is without a doubt one the best complementary forwards in the league, but his reputation won’t help his chances of making the team.

Burrows will have to compete with the likes of Jordan Staal, Mike Richards, and Bergeron to make the team. It is a long shot, but not out of the realm of possibilities.

 

Photo Credits: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports and s.yume/Flick

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Tags: Alex Burrows Roberto Luongo Vancouver Canucks

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