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Alex Burrows' return from shoulder surgery up in the air

Aug 20, 2010, 2:55 PM EDT

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alexburrows1.jpgThe breakout season Alex Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks had in 2009-2010 was a revelation for the team. Success in the NHL sometimes comes at a price and for Burrows that price was having to undergo shoulder surgery back in June. The prognosis for his return to the Canucks lineup, however, means he might not hit the ice for the Canucks until December as Brad Ziemer from PuckWorld discusses.

Burrows had surgery to repair a torn labrum back in early June. The Canucks aren’t saying when Burrows will be ready to play, but this type of injury generally requires anywhere from four to six months of recovery time.

“At this point he’s working through his therapy program, he’s progressing and he’ll be evaluated again closer to the start of training camp,” assistant general manager Laurence Gilman said Thursday.

The Canucks are not making Burrows available for media interviews. But it  seems unlikely that Burrows, who led the Canucks with 35 goals last season, will be ready for the regular-season opener on Oct. 9. And if he’s not, that leaves a big hole among Vancouver’s top six forwards.

Not just a big hole, a gaping hole that affects the Canucks in all facets of the game. From even strength play to the power play to shorthanded, Burrows is a huge performer for them and a guy they now count upon highly. Filling from within could be tricky and while Mikael Samuelsson would figure to move up to the first line with the Sedin brothers, who slides up from there could prove to be interesting.

Ziemer mentions that Sergei Shirokov or Jeff Tambellini could fit in that slot but this could be a situation where the rumor about Tomas Fleischmann possibly being dealt for Kevin Bieksa comes into play. Fleischmann would plug in nicely on a line with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond and provided a more balanced offensive attack for the Canucks. While Fleischmann won’t do all the things Burrows can do, he’d at least help stem the loss of offense from the lineup.

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