X-Factor: Burns Brings Added Dimension at Forward

Monday, 04.29.2013 / 9:58 AM PT / 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 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 37 33 12 70
L. Couture 82 27 40 -6 67
J. Thornton 78 16 49 -4 65
B. Burns 82 17 43 -9 60
P. Marleau 82 19 38 -17 57
T. Wingels 75 15 21 -7 36
T. Hertl 82 13 18 -5 31
M. Nieto 72 10 17 -12 27
M. Karlsson 53 13 11 -3 24
M. Vlasic 70 9 14 12 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 31 23 7 .914 2.59
A. Stalock 8 9 2 .902 2.62
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