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X-Factor: Burns Brings Added Dimension at Forward

Monday, 04.29.2013 / 12:58 PM / News
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X-Factor: Burns Brings Added Dimension at Forward
Brent Burns moved from defenseman to forward during this regular season for the San Jose Sharks, with great success.

Brent Burns moved from defenseman to forward during this regular season for the San Jose Sharks, with great success.

Now Burns will get to try a slightly different position: forward in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Then, maybe someday, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

"What he's done for our team is a lot like [Colin] Kaepernick for the 49ers," Sharks coach Todd McLellan told the San Jose Mercury News about Burns. "He has the ability to roam around and be somewhat reckless at times."


Kaepernick emerged during the season and propelled the 49ers to this year's Super Bowl, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens. If Burns can keep up his top-line play for the Sharks, he will bring a new, necessary dimension to his team's dogged pursuit of a championship.

When Burns returned from a leg injury March 12, he was used as right wing on a line with Joe Thornton and Logan Couture. TJ Galiardi eventually replaced Couture, and that's how the Sharks likely will line up when the postseason begins.

Brent Burns
Defense - SJS
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 20
SOG: 81 | +/-: 0
"Obviously it's been going well, but playing with [Thornton], he has such good vision on the ice, and Galiardi, we really found good chemistry," Burns said. "[TJ is] fast, he gets it in deep, and I think it's been going well. I have a lot of fun."

At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, Burns has a physical presence unfamiliar to Sharks opponents and quite necessary in the playoffs.

"He's an animal out there. He's reckless, but in a good way," Couture told the San Francisco Chronicle about Burns.

Burns had six points (two goals) in his first four games up front and has remained consistent, never going more than two games without a point until three games from April 18-23. After not scoring in six games as a defenseman, he had 20 points (nine goals) in 24 games.

Burns' emergence allowed coach Todd McLellan to split the familiar pair of Thornton and Patrick Marleau, who led the Sharks to the Western Conference Finals twice in 2010 and 2011 but never further.

McLellan has been able to create another high-quality trio with Marleau, Couture and Martin Havlat, letting Joe Pavelski play on the third line and giving the Sharks good depth up front. The blue line, which learned to play without Burns while he was sidelined, hasn't missed him back there either.

He did play as a defenseman once when Jason Demers was out injured, but McClellan quickly moved Burns back up front.

"There's a lot less pressure (as a forward), just different pressure, I think," Burns said. "[You can] kind of go a little bit and you have a lot more people behind you to cover up. It's fun. I really don't mind either position, so …"

There's no word yet on how he feels about quarterback.

Author: Mike Battaglino | NHL.com Staff Writer

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 41 38 23 79
J. Thornton 82 11 65 20 76
P. Marleau 82 33 37 0 70
L. Couture 65 23 31 21 54
B. Burns 69 22 26 26 48
T. Wingels 77 16 22 11 38
D. Boyle 75 12 24 -8 36
J. Demers 75 5 29 14 34
T. Hertl 37 15 10 11 25
M. Nieto 66 10 14 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Stalock 12 5 2 .932 1.87
A. Niemi 39 17 7 .913 2.39
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