Hockey Correspondent and Occasional Shakespeare Character, White Cover Magazine
Imagine this Sidney Crosby taking that first period face-off in the finale of next year’s Sochi Olympics. He looks to his left and sees Brad Marchand. He looks to his right and sees Alex Burrows. And then, he smiles knowing nobody on his line will get bullied, picked on, or pushed around by any other possible contender in that ultimate game.
The beauty of two players like Marchand — who plays every shift at the highest possible speed and can put pucks past goalies as easily as anyone in the NHL — and Burrows — who was known for being an agitator but should now be remembered as one of the smartest forwards and premiere penalty killers in the game — is that they won’t buckle and they won’t be damaged by a different game on a different surface.
When the checking gets tighter against the United States or Finland, players like Giroux and Crosby and Stamkos will find themselves stymied. Not Marchand and Burrows.
(*Just look at the goals at the top and bottom of this article… those are nicer and more intimidating than anything Sidney Crosby has ever done, and they apply perfectly to an Olympic-style elimination game.)
When the game picks up its pace against Russia or Sweden, and when puck control is at a premium, Burrows and Marchand will be quick enough to lead the attack, strong enough to bang in the corner, and feisty enough to thwart everything an opponent throws their way.
Imagine Burrows and Marchand attacking the Sedin Twins or hounding Malkin and Ovechkin all the way up and down the ice.
Pavel Datsyuk can dance around someone who plays the same as he does. He won’t get away with is against either of these sh*t kickers.
Marchand and Burrows are impervious to slumps. They don’t need to score to be effective, but they can when given the opportunity. Marchand scored five goals in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, and Alex Burrows has two playoff series-winning overtime goals. Sure, they have occasionally taken stupid penalties, but they have never lost anything for their respective teams. Marchand is a Stanley Cup champion, and Burrows was only one game away from the same.
In a week-long tournament, the stars go through ups and downs. They don’t score and they have to adjust on the fly.
Why not take two players who can play their style any time they want and at all times they want?
Brad Marchand and Alex Burrows would guarantee Canada a gold medal in 2014.