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Canucks coach defends Burrows

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  June 5, 2011 08:32 PM

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The Bruins team and fans are irate at Canucks forward Alex Burrows for biting Patrice Bergeron as the two were tangled up near the goal in Game 1. Then Burrows nearly singlehandedly beat the Bruins in Game 2.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault vehemently defended his player in a press conference at the TD Garden early Sunday evening when asked how he expected Burrows to respond to Bruins fans during Game 3 Monday night.

"Well, I expect him to respond the way he's done all throughout the year and how he did [Saturday] night," he said. "I mean, he's going to focus on what he needs to do on the ice. He's going to play the same way, which is very intense, physical. He's a great hockey player.

"He scored 35 goals last year. The coach didn't put him once on the power play. Imagine if I would have put him on the power play,'' he added with a smile.

"For me, I just think that Alex gets the game. He understands not only the game on the ice, but he understands the game off the ice. I think that's why he's been able to make himself into a very good hockey player. He was one of the hardest workers I had when I had him in Winnipeg. Came here to Vancouver, and he just kept plugging away, kept working at his game. He's a great example of, you know, if you stick with it and you work at it, things will come around."

Vigneault also talked about the physical nature of his team and the series plus a reference to what he called a cheap shot by Rich Peverley of the Bruins in Game 2.

"I think if you look at the stat sheet at the end of the day, we're hitting as hard as they are. If you look at the stat sheets throughout the playoffs, we're the team that's got the most hits. That's part of our game. Kevin [Bieksa] didn't get hit, he got a cheap shot in the back of the knee [by Peverley], so that's totally different. He went down because of something that obviously you don't want to see in the game. But at the end of the day, we know that they're a big, physical team. We can play a speed game, but we can also play a physical-type game, which I think we've shown throughout the playoffs."

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