Speaking in an article he penned for the Players’ Tribune, Burrows gave thanks to the Canucks organization and the city of Vancouver after spending 12 seasons there, stating that the team turned “a lucky break into a lucky life” for him and his family.
“As someone who came from nothing and then played 12 years for this franchise, I still kind of can’t believe it happened,” said Burrows. “But I’m so glad it did. Please don’t forget about me — and please, if you get a chance, make sure to pass along some words of mine to next year’s rookies. Just give them the following message: Wear that sweater with pride. And don’t let anybody take it away from you.”
Burrows played in 892 games for the Canucks in the regular season and playoffs, but he still remembers his first day with the team to the last detail.
“I entered the locker room… and it was like I must have been hallucinating,” admitted Burrows. “Like someone was playing a trick on me, and had created a version of ‘being on the Vancouver Canucks’ that matched up exactly with my fantasy of what it would be like. Like, there was Trevor Linden, putting his gear on. There were the Sedin twins, putting on a clinic in the pregame soccer warmup. There was Markus Naslund, there was Todd Bertuzzi, there was Brendan Morrison — the West Coast Express — looking up at me, giving me a nod.
“There was an actual NHL team, in the locker room of an actual NHL arena, getting ready for an actual NHL game. It was like, Are you kidding me?”
The now-35-year-old scored some memorable goals in a Canucks uniform, but few will be remembered as fondly as his overtime winner against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2011 playoffs. Vancouver led the first-round series 3-0, but Chicago fought back to win three in a row to force a Game 7. Burrows claims that he and former Ryan Kesler were not nervous before the game at all. In fact, they were confident that they would advance.
“I remember it so vividly,” said Burrows. “Ryan Kesler and I, sitting in his car, driving to the rink for that Game 7 against Chicago. There were no nerves, no tense silences. There was no talk of choking. There was just this, like… unexplainable conviction about it. Somehow we just knew. Man, we were going to win that game. We knew it.
“And we spent the entire car ride reminding each other of it.”
Burrows has been excellent in his first couple of weeks with the Senators, recording six points in his first seven games as they battle for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. Even though he’s enjoying his early success in Ottawa and was sad to leave Vancouver, the forward is hoping that his trade can help turn the Canucks into a contender again.
“I will still, in my own way, always have my heart in Vancouver,” Burrows said. “I’m leaving with too many memories to count, and an endless debt of gratitude, and the knowledge that I’ve found a city I can consider a hometown for life.
“And though it’s bittersweet, for sure — I’m leaving with the sincere hope that this trade will be able to help the Canucks build their future.”