It's refreshing to observe a veteran NHL player, on a one-way contract, actually competing earnestly for his job in the pre-season.
That's what checking winger Alexandre Burrows is doing with the Vancouver Canucks as he's pressured for playing time by up-and-comers.
Burrows came out hustling, hitting and fighting in Vancouver's first exhibition test Monday against the Anaheim Ducks, goading rising star Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks into a fight that saw Burrows expelled while fans roared their approval.
Far too often in the pre-season, veterans go through the motions, satisfied with merely getting into game condition and staying healthy.
Burrows had to scratch and claw his way to the NHL via the Eastern Hockey League. Now he wants to stay in the bigs as long as possible.
He can kill penalties, provide energy and even score the occasional goal, although he doesn't have the softest hands in the league. Vancouver fans will be satisfied with the effort for now.
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