For seven seasons, the Sedin twins became triplets. It was with Alex Burrows by their side that Daniel and Henrik had most of their best seasons in the National League. Now an assistant coach with the Canadian, the Quebecer believes that the induction of the two Swedes into the Hall of Fame is "so deserved".
• To read also: Sad to see the anchor of the Canadian leave
Burrows had been studying the Sedin brothers' game for four years when one evening in February 2009, with the Vancouver Canucks trailing the St. Louis Blues 3-2, head coach Alain Vigneault decided to pair him with the two prolific scorers for the third period.
“I first thought it was a mistake, laughed Burrows on Tuesday in an interview with Le Journal. But I scored and we won, so this trio was born. »
Until then, the snarling style striker had been a regular in the third unit. But in practice and during matches, he enjoyed studying the play of the twins, who were already established stars.
They took the blame
They were “two exceptional players”, underlines the native of Pincourt, in Montérégie, who is still in contact with the Sedin today.
“Also, for athletes with so much talent, they never had a big ego,” he adds. They have always been there to support me, encourage me. They were also not afraid to take the blame on themselves. »
Because in appearance, everything separated the Sedin from Burrows, a player never drafted in the NHL and who made his classes in the ECHL.
Daniel was selected second in the 1999 auction by the Canucks. Henrik was called up a rank later. They would go on to finish their careers with over 1,000 points each.
The Quebecer has amassed 409 points in 913 games with the Canucks and the Ottawa Senators.
In front of the net
He knew how to complete their yet tightly knit duo.
"I started playing with them at the right time," Burrows points out. The first three or four years of my career, it wouldn't have worked. I would have often been in their legs. »
“After seeing them play with several players during the first years, he continues, I saw how they created their offense. [...] I knew where I could fit: I had to give them the puck as often as possible and put myself in front of the net, with my paddle on the ice! »
The strategy worked. With Burrows by his side, Henrik had a 112-point season. Daniel, one of 41 goals. And, of course, it was alongside the twins that the Quebecer had the best offensive seasons of his career.
Greetings in Swedish
Four years after the Sedins retired, Burrows still has their “tic-tac-toe games” in mind. He also remembers their last match. He had stayed up late to listen to her.
He also remembers that the brothers had taught him a few words in Swedish.
"Most of them aren't the kind of things I can repeat," he laughs. But they also taught me the basic, “Hi, how are you?” and every morning, we greeted each other like that. »
In Roberto Luongo, Alex Burrows will see another of his longtime Vancouver Canucks teammates make his debut as immortals in November in Toronto.
A feat of arms that makes him particularly happy, since the enthronement of his former guardian means that another Quebecer is admitted to the Pantheon.
For the assistant coach of the Canadian, who played with the Montrealer from 2006 to 2014, Luongo represents "the absolute competitor".
"He hated losing and always wanted to find a way to win," Burrows points out. On ice, of course, but also in everything we did, whether it was playing cards, table tennis, in the football pools... You had better be ready, because Roberto had always want to fight. »
He wanted the cup
Burrows adds that beyond his competitive spirit, it was Luongo's desire to evolve that allowed him to become the fourth winningest goaltender in National League history (with 489 wins).
“He was always looking to improve. When he arrived in Vancouver, I was a young player, but he was already an established star, and he wanted so badly to win a Stanley Cup for the Canucks, ”explains the former forward.
“Lou” also had a “unique” sense of humor, which mirrors the posts he makes through his Strombone Twitter account.
The two Quebecers therefore had a lot of fun together during these eight years in the West. But Luongo quickly got serious again when the stakes were high, Burrows points out.
“He was so funny, a bon vivant. But when the time came to play and compete, we knew that Strombone was no longer present. We were focused and we had a job to do. »