Alex Burrows is new centre of attention

 

 
 
 
 
Fans watch as Vancouver Canucks' Alex Burrows takes part in a practice on the first day of the NHL hockey team's training camp in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday January 13, 2013.
 

Fans watch as Vancouver Canucks' Alex Burrows takes part in a practice on the first day of the NHL hockey team's training camp in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday January 13, 2013.

Photograph by: Darryl Dyck, THE CANADIAN PRESS

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VANCOUVER - When the going gets tough, head coach Alain Vigneault juggles his lines.

Alex Burrows knows this as well as anyone, but even he must have been a little surprised about where he has ended up after Vigneault's latest shuffling of the deck.

Burrows, who can't remember the last time he spent any meaningful time at centre ice, will be there Wednesday night when the Canucks complete a season-opening three-game homestand against the Calgary Flames.

"It's not a big deal," Burrows said Tuesday. "I know the game, I understand the game. There's an adjustment, but it's still playing hockey. You still have to work hard, play well defenisvely and skate. That is probably the biggest difference, that you are skating a little bit more."

After his forwards scored just two goals in the Canucks' first two games, Vigneault is attempting to kickstart the offence. Zack Kassian, who spent much of Sunday night's game against Edmonton with the Sedin twins, will be there again tonight. And Burrows will centre what is a new second line with Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen.

"There's an adjustment period, for sure," Burrows said of the move to centre. "But it's not a time to over-think things. It's a short season and it's just a matter of getting some wins. I just have to go out there and play well in both zones, be responsible defensively, and try to provide some offence.

"That's how I see it. I don't try to over-analyze things. It's just a matter of the coaching staff feeling that this is a change that might help our team. I'm all for it and will try and get my work boots ready and get to work tomorrow night.

"When I played with the twins we're all over the place most of the time. It's a matter if I am first back I go low and I kind of like playing down low anyways. It's just a matter of making sure that the reads are good and that I talk to my linemates and we are on the same page. I'm sure we will be all right."

Vigneault also does not seem concerned at all about Burrows making the adjustment to centre.

"You know, Alex is one of our smarter players as far as being able to play both ends of the rink," Vigneault said after Tuesday's practice. "He is real smart at understanding the rules and responsibilities of different positions. He can play left, he can play right and in our opinion he can play centre and I think he is going to do a good job for us."

Burrows' biggest challenge could come in the faceoff circle. He won only one of five draws in Sunday night's 3-2 shootout loss the Oilers.

"I think I can surprise guys," Burrows said. "I think if I work hard and get some help from my wingers, it shouldn't be too much of an issue. I don't say I will be Manny (Malhotra)-like, but if I get 50 per cent I will be happy with that."

ICE CHIPS: With Jordan Schroeder centering a new third line with Dale Weise and Mason Raymond, Maxim Lapierre will drop down Wednesday to play on the fourth line with Malhotra and Aaron Volpatti. . .Andrew Ebbett will likely be the healthy scratch up front. Vancouver is expected to go with the same three defensive pairings used in its opening two games.

bziemer@vancouversun.com; twitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
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Fans watch as Vancouver Canucks' Alex Burrows takes part in a practice on the first day of the NHL hockey team's training camp in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday January 13, 2013.
 

Fans watch as Vancouver Canucks' Alex Burrows takes part in a practice on the first day of the NHL hockey team's training camp in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday January 13, 2013.

Photograph by: Darryl Dyck, THE CANADIAN PRESS

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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