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Livin' the gongshow dream

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

Without even knowing it, Alex Burrows was wearing the most appropriate hat possible.

During media availability Monday afternoon, Burrows was sporting a jet-black cap, one featuring simulated hockey tape on the front with GONGSHOW, the brand name, along the left side of the peak, and LIVIN’ THE DREAM above the plastic adjuster on the polyester mesh back.

Burrows is nearly three weeks into fatherhood; his wife Nancy gave birth to the couple’s first child, a beautiful five pound girl they named Victoria, at 9:10 p.m. on April 27th at B.C. Women’s Hospital.

Victoria came into the world less than 24 hours after her dad scored arguably the biggest goal in Vancouver Canucks franchise history rifling a puck past Corey Crawford to finally sink the Chicago Blackhawks.

That moved Vancouver into the Western Conference Semi-Final, but in between series Burrows became a proud papa.

He joked, a few days after Victoria was born, that the roller coaster of emotions may have induced birth, but having a baby during the busiest time of the year is no laughing matter.

Hence the gongshow.

“It’s been a little crazy,” laughed Burrows, who married Nancy, his longtime sweetheart, last summer.

“I have a great wife and she knows how important the playoffs are to me and she really understand that. To have the baby at this time, she knows she’s the one that has to take care of her most of the time and I try to help out with diapers and stuff when I can."

Anyone with children out there knows of the false adrenaline that comes with becoming a parent. For the first two weeks, sleep isn’t necessary. It’s truly bizarre. It’s like the sandman goes on vacation and Zzzzs don’t need to be strung together.

Then week three hits, your body realizes it hasn’t gotten any rest in over 14 days, and shuts down. You sleep when the baby sleeps, which is roughly 30 hours a day.

Understandably, that can’t happen if you’re helping the Canucks compete in the NHL Playoffs for hockey’s most coveted prize.

Oddly enough, Burrows has shown no signs of slowing down this post-season. Vancouver’s second goal of Game 1 of the Western Conference Final was proof of that.

With 13 minutes to play in the third period, Daniel and Henrik Sedin twirled through centre ice before Hank chipped the puck along the boards. Burrows turned on the afterburners as he darted over the blueline to beat Dan Boyle to the puck.

Burrows surprised even himself with the jump he had and he was in tight on Antti Niemi in a split second, but at an awkward angle. Passing on the shot, the Canucks forward spotted Kevin Bieksa inside the right faceoff circle and he zipped the puck past the San Jose Sharks keeper.

Since becoming a dad, Burrows has a goal and two assists, alongside 18 shots, as his offensive jump has been as good as any Canucks of late.

“I don’t know if that has anything to do with it, but he’s picked it up for sure,” said Henrik Sedin, of the boost in Burrows’ game coinciding with Victoria being born.

“He played well early on too, but for him and for us, if you don’t show up on the scoreboard, it’s not good enough and he’s really picked it up. He got a lot of confidence from that seventh game against Chicago where he scored the overtime winner. From then on he’s been tremendous for us.”

Burrows admitted that although “he’s a better father than a hockey player,” Nancy has been doing the heavy lifting by waking up throughout the night to tend to Victoria's needs. That has allowed Burrows to continue giving the Canucks everything he’s got.

He'll need all the rest he can get in the weeks to follow as there remains a lot of work ahead this post-season both for the Canucks and Burrows, who is now wearing two hats.

Hence the livin’ the dream.

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