Alex Burrows believes he'll return to the Canadian lineup before the end of the IIHF World Hockey Championship.
“I sure hope so,” Burrows said Tuesday after skating for the first time since suffering a concussion in the tournament opener.
The Vancouver Canucks winger was knocked woozy when he accidentally collided with two Slovaks last Friday. However, he hasn't experienced any headaches or other symptoms linked to post-concussion syndrome while being kept under close observation by team doctor Brian Benson.
Burrows wore a bright yellow jersey during Tuesday's practice at Hartwall Arena that served as a reminder for teammates not to make any contract with him. He appeared to have plenty of energy while spending a full hour on the ice.
“I feel fine right now but you never know with these kind of things,” said Burrows. “It's tough to predict, sometimes guys feel symptoms later. Hopefully I'll keep feeling fine and be able to play towards the end of the tournament.”
Protocol dictates that he sit out Wednesday's game against Switzerland — he needs to experience some on-ice contact first — but coach Brent Sutter is hoping to have Burrows back against the host Finns on Friday.
“He's getting close,” said Sutter. “There's an element that Alex plays with that you'd like to have on your hockey team. He's a smart player and he's played in big games.
“It will be nice when he gets healthy again.”
Burrows doesn't have much of a concussion history. He missed one game during a 2007 playoff series with Dallas after a similar incident — “The same thing, (I was) wobbly for a little bit and I felt fine the next day,” said Burrows — and has otherwise avoided head injuries.
The Canucks have been in contact with Hockey Canada since Burrows suffered the injury and all involved seem to be preaching the need for caution during the recovery process.
The 31-year-old Burrows is the oldest player on a fresh-faced Canadian team at the world championship and made his international hockey debut against Slovakia. There seemed to be plenty of optimism that more appearances will come soon.
“It's nice to be back on the ice with the boys,” said Burrows. “It was a lot of fun and it's another step in the right direction. Hopefully, it stays that way.”
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