Building the Herd – Tim Burrows

#?? Tim Burrows

Position: Forward

Born: Wolfsburg, Niedersachsen, Deutschland

Announced as signed: Basingstoke Gazette, 11th July

Doug Sheppard said the Bison would be running 11 forwards and announced who the final two members of the roster for 2013/14 would be by announcing the last two signings at the same time, the first being British forward Tim Burrows.

I’m looking forward to the move down to Basingstoke, and meeting everyone when it kicks off in September. Hope the fans are looking forward to the new season as much as I am.” said Burrows speaking to BOTW earlier today.

Burrows, 23 is a product of the Telford junior system having made his début for the Trojans under 19 side just over 10 years ago when he was 13. In his 3 outings in 2003/04 he scored 1 goal and an assist. Burrows made 10 appearances at under 19 level the following year registering 2 assists. In 2005/06 alongside his Trojans appearances, he was given his EPL début by then Tigers coach Claude Dumas as he dressed for one game.

The following season, Burrows split more time between Trojans and Tigers. At u19 level Tim scored 16 points (9+7) in 11 games whilst also appearing in 20 games for the senior side tallying his first senior goal as well as 3 assists. The split carried on through 2007/08; Burrows only appeared in 7 under 18 games for the Trojans but scored a massive 21 points (12+9) which made him the third top scorer on the Trojans that season. The two players who scored more than him played around double the number of games. For the Tigers, Burrows appeared in 23 contests scoring 1 goal and 1 assist.

After that season, a place at university led to a change of scene for Burrows as he headed south to Wales and signed on with the Cardiff Devils ENL side. Burrows would spend 3 seasons with the ENL Devils from 2008-2011 and was a regular offensive contributor. Over the three seasons in the ENL, Tim made 90 appearances, scoring 52 goals and 71 assists for a total of 123 points. In 2010/11 he was the 2nd top scorer with a 53 point season. In his final campaign with the ENL Devils, he guested 3 times in the EPL for Telford scoring 4 points but he also got his first taste of EIHL action. When Ben Davies left the Devils for the Bison, Burrows was asked to fill Davies’ hole in the roster and delivered. He made 14 appearances, scoring 2 goals and 1 assist and his high quality of play was enough to earn Burrows a full time contact with the EIHL Devils for 2011/12. In 52 contests, Burrows scored 2 goals and 11 assists for 13 points with only 4 PIMs and was part of the side that lost in the playoff final at Nottingham.

Last season saw a homecoming for Tim as he returned to Telford full time. Despite the Tigers not having a season to write home about as they missed the playoffs again, Burrows had a breakout season scoring 21 goals and 20 assists in 54 games for 41 points which made him the second top scorer on the team.

I caught up with Tim earlier today as he was kind enough to answer a few questions.

You’ve come through the Telford system as a junior, rejoined it as an adult and it’s a unique club especially with Tiger Tracks running it. From a player’s perspective, what’s it like being a Tiger in terms of the on and off ice side of things?

It obviously meant a little more to me playing for Telford as I grew up there and as a youngster I saw playing for the Tigers as my initial goal. Last season was a fantastic chance for me to improve my game in numerous areas because of the large amounts of ice time I was given which was a big plus. Off the ice was tough at times, it’s no lie that the Tigers struggle financially and it did affect me in ways I didn’t foresee but I won’t go into details. Either way the fans are a real credit and plus point to the club. Tiger Tracks has produced a very passionate core of fans who will no doubt do the team justice again this coming season.

How did the move to Basingstoke come about?

Doug called me a few weeks following the Coventry playoffs expressing his interest and set out what he was planning to build for next season and I liked the sound of it.

You move down with Tomas Karpov who joined the Tigers late last season? What can we expect from him?

Karps was a massive addition to Telford half way through the year. I would say playmaking is his natural game but he definitely showed his ability to score. He’s hard working too which is good to see from an import and has quite a few tricks up his sleeve which the Bison fans should be pleased about.

Any ideas as to how Shep will use you at the start of the season?

I think I will start with Karps but it will all depend on how I perform as to what role I take on. I think it was Doug’s wish to play three equal forward lines so it will come down to who plays best with who.

Some pundits and fans say the Bison look weaker than last season. Thoughts?

I’m hardly going to say Basingstoke look weaker but in all honesty I think the Bison do look stronger. Naturally I focus on the forwards; we have three very strong, even lines which will all be as strong as the other no matter what combinations of forwards are played together, with impressive youngsters keeping everyone on their toes.

Describe your game to those who haven’t seen you.

My game isn’t out and out points. I will look to improve on my totals from last season and score as much as I can but I also take a lot of pride in my physical game and enjoy having a role on the penalty kill with my speed probably being my best asset.

Does anybody remember back to February and March of this year? It was a topsy-turvy world as out of nowhere and despite the playoffs not being mathematically possible to achieve, Telford went on this crazy run of good form and started knocking off teams. Freed from the pressure of trying to qualify for the playoffs, the team seemed like a weight had been lifted and fans from around the league sat up and took notice a bit. People kept making the same mistake; they slept on the Telford Tigers and it cost teams points. That is what I think will be the issue with some people when they read about this signing; they’ll see we’ve signed a guy from Telford and sleep on Tim Burrows.

Burrows was a big part of the attack for that Telford team across the entire season and yes that doesn’t sound that amazing to some people but make no mistake, the lad can go. The numbers across his career prove that he can and to score 40 points on a rock bottom team can only bode well.

Burrows is in the mode of all players Tom Watkins signs; he’s really hard working which is a good start. We have a guy who will do the hard graft, go in to the corners and work the puck out. He’s said that he takes real pride in his physical game but let’s look at the attributes that the Bison arguably lacked last season, can we apply them here?

Bison lacked that edge sometimes in front of goal and Burrows is coming off the back of a 20 goal EPL season at 23. Bison need a higher end British player and he managed to score 40 points on a team that won 13 out of 54 games though that’s your own call as to whether you consider that at the top end.

Does he add to the depth of the squad? Last season in clutch situations, Sheppard shortened the bench at times to just 7 forwards due to injuries or circumstance which saw players overplayed. Burrows is not at the level of Greg Owen yet but by the same token Burrows can still be used across the top 6 and if something happens and he has to be used in a 3rd line roll there are people who can slot in higher up the order. Burrows is still very much on the upswing in his career and is going to be getting good ice time on a good team so the sky’s the limit at the moment.

There are problems that could arise naturally. Being a forward on a team looking to challenge for the title is a different prospect to playing on a team in Telford’s position of challenging for the playoffs. Burrows remains an unknown commodity in Sheppard’s systems which have seen some young players flourish (Melachrino, Wynn) whilst others haven’t fared as well (Smith). There’s always that period of adaptation for players; new town, new team mates, new ways of doing things but there’s no reason to believe that Burrows won’t fit in and be an asset for the Bison.

Who he plays with though will be interesting; it’ll be interesting to see if the line combinations Graham Merry suggested in the Gazette come to pass but I’ll focus more on those tomorrow when we discuss the other new boy.

Welcome to the Herd, Tim. No sleeping to be done here.

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