-- After calling Alexandre Burrows
a lucky man because he gets to play with the Sedins in their prime, the twins' first linemate in the NHL said he doesn't harbor any jealousy that he only got to play with them when they were baby-faced newbies trying to make it in a brand new world.
"I wouldn't be able to play on their line now," Trent Klatt
told NHL.com in a phone interview Friday afternoon. "Burrows is a far superior player than I ever was."
Burrows is definitely good enough to play with them now, but that's partly because he's worked to get there and because the twins are so much better than they were when Klatt was the third man on the line.
"We've had some great linemates before, but if you look at our first years, we weren't even close to where we are now," Henrik said Friday. "Alex is fitting in really, really well and he's made us better players. A guy like Trent Klatt
was tremendous for us, but we were 19 years old, 20 years old and we were not very good players. Right now we're better and Alex makes us better."
For his part, Burrows said all he does is make sure the twins get the puck on their stick and have room to work with it. It helped him score 15 goals in the final 29 games in 2008-09, a career-best 35 in 2009-10 and 26 more this season.
Burrows had 35 goals over his first 259 NHL games. He has 76 in 183 since debuting with the twins on Feb. 12, 2009.
"There is only one puck on the ice during a game and you have to make sure they get the puck as many times as they can. That's what I do," Burrows said. "They're going to make plays that nobody in this League can do. They're really spectacular and I just try to open some space for them.
"It's about law of averages -- if they get the puck 20 times in a game when they have space compared to games where they have it only five times, there is a better chance that they are going to make plays. That's what I try to help them do, and it seems to work."
Klatt couldn't be as effective as Burrows, so he helped the twins in a different way. Because he was already a veteran by the time the twins showed up in Vancouver, Klatt said he had to assume more of a mentor-like role with them.
"What I tried to tell them and show them is how to prepare and be a professional both on the ice and off the ice," Klatt said. "I had already figured that part of it out."
Klatt said through his mentorship role he was also able to learn from the twins. Now he tries to help find and assist players as a scout with the New York Islanders
"They made me a better player and a more well-rounded person because I don't think I had ever been in the position before to be a mentor," he said. "I learned how to do that with them."
In some ways the twins have taken on that mentorship role with Burrows, who has kept his same competitive edge while losing some of his between-the-whistles shenanigans since coming on board with Henrik and Daniel.
In fact, two years ago, Burrows' biting incident with Patrice Bergeron
in Game 1 would have been about par for the course for him. Now it's viewed as an out-of-character move.
"He had a role when he came into the League as a third- or fourth-liner, an agitator," Daniel Sedin
said. "He's been getting away from that, which I like. I don't think he needs to do those kinds of things because he's too good of a player to do that."
Burrows said he learned how to play with the Sedins by watching them play with Markus Naslund
, Anson Carter
and Trevor Linden
"Nasy was very good at moving the puck well them, and really good on the rush game," Burrows said. "I liked Anson Carter
's game, going to the net, creating net traffic, getting open in the right position. Obviously I think Trevor, too, was a big key when he played with them for a little bit, just the way he was able to calm them down and have poise around the net."
Burrows tries to mix all of that into his game. The twins believe he's doing a fine job.
"Before, some people, coaches and media, they wanted to put a big guy with us that just goes in front of the net and stands there, but a lot of times when we've played with those guys teams have played us 4-on-2 down in the corners and we haven't had the third guy to pass the puck to," Henrik said. "Now Burrows plays exactly the way we play. He goes in, puts the puck in an area where we know it's going to be. He's really easy to play with."
Klatt sees that every time he watches the Canucks. Deep down he may wish that he had the chance to play with Henrik and Daniel now as opposed to a decade ago, but he's also honest enough to say it probably wouldn't have worked.
"My only hope and prayer to play with them was when they were that young," he said. "Now they have better players to play with than they had with me."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl