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Alex Burrows tries not to think about shoulder problems

For the previous three seasons, Vancouver Canucks power forward/pest Alex Burrows kept getting better and better, especially from a stats perspective. He went from 12 goals and 31 points in 2007-08 to 28 goals and 51 points in 08-09 to 35 goals and 67 points last season.

Burrows had one thing going his way in those seasons that he lacks right now: remarkable health. In fact, before this season, he missed only one regular game in the last four seasons.

The talented forward missed the first 10 games of this season after recovering from shoulder surgery, but it seems like it’s taking longer than that for him to rebound to full form.

You can read about his troubles here, which includes a first paragraph that features Gordon McIntyre’s bizarre choices explaining how Burrows is struggling with the mental side of his comeback.

Like Seinfeld’s, um, libido playing chess with his brain, or that Pizza Pop commercial where the stomach chases the girls out of the thinking organ, Alex Burrows is having a to-and-fro with his grey matter.

Stomachs chasing girls? What? Moving on …

“I’m getting closer,” he said after skating on a line with the Sedins again at Tuesday’s practice. “Obviously it’s going to be a process. As long as I keep working hard, things are going to happen.

“I feel my legs are getting better every game.”

In 10 games, Burrows only has one goal and two assists for three points. He went through eight of those contests without a single point. The Canucks are currently on a four game losing streak and ceded their Northwest Division lead to the Colorado Avalanche this week. Chances are, if Burrows gets his game together, he might just lift his team along with him.

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.