Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google

X-Factor: Burns Brings Added Dimension at Forward

Monday, 04.29.2013 / 12:58 PM / News
NHL.com
X
Share with your Friends


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 ANA 47 31 10 6 139 124 68
2 NSH 45 30 10 5 137 104 65
3 STL 46 29 13 4 148 111 62
4 CHI 47 30 15 2 148 108 62
5 WPG 48 26 14 8 135 117 60
6 SJS 48 25 17 6 131 132 56
7 VAN 45 26 16 3 124 114 55
8 CGY 47 25 19 3 136 125 53
9 LAK 47 20 15 12 129 126 52
10 COL 48 20 18 10 125 137 50
11 DAL 46 21 18 7 144 151 49
12 MIN 46 20 20 6 128 137 46
13 ARI 46 16 25 5 105 156 37
14 EDM 47 12 26 9 109 158 33

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 48 24 18 10 42
L. Couture 48 18 24 2 42
J. Thornton 44 10 27 0 37
B. Burns 48 11 24 -6 35
P. Marleau 48 9 24 -10 33
T. Wingels 47 11 14 -2 25
J. Braun 47 1 18 4 19
T. Hertl 48 8 9 -2 17
M. Vlasic 47 6 10 13 16
J. Sheppard 42 4 9 -2 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 19 11 5 .912 2.57
A. Stalock 5 5 1 .905 2.65
Image Map