SAN JOSE – When Sharks defenseman Brent Burns goes anywhere these days, a camera is sure to follow. Whether he’s whipping a wrist shot through traffic from the top of the faceoff circle, or strolling into an arena in his latest flashy suit, a lens is likely focusing in on him.
So, when legendary defenseman Bobby Orr met the unshorn Sharks defenseman, he couldn’t help but give the infamous shag a playful little tug. It was caught in a photo, of course, and Burns was thankful that it was.
“Probably [the] best thing that I take away from that weekend was a cool picture with Bobby Orr pulling on my beard,” Burns said on Tuesday morning.
That wasn’t his only time with Orr, though. According to Burns, his family and Orr’s spent about a half hour together after Sunday’s All-Star Game at Staples Center.
“Obviously, my dad is like a kid in a candy store,” Burns said. “My father-in-law is not a big hockey guy growing up in Oklahoma and Texas, but he said, ‘you know what, that’s the one guy I know is Bobby Orr.’ So, he got a picture with him. He was so great with us.”
Orr was there with many of the other still-living top 100 NHL players of all time, a group that was revealed on Friday night. Burns highlighted other players he interacted with, other than the man most consider to be the greatest defenseman to ever lace up the skates.
“Mike Gartner who I knew from growing up in the same area – saw him and his wife. That was special. All those guys – ran into Sergei Fedorov, Ray Bourque. I saw Jacques [Lemaire]. I hadn’t seen him since the [Minnesota] days. It was really good to see him. Larry [Robinson], obviously we don’t seem him as much anymore. All these guys, [Mark] Messier, [Steve] Yzerman, [Joe] Sakic – these are guys that I grew up idolizing. It was crazy to see these guys running around. It was awesome.”
Joe Pavelski mentioned Blues legend Brett Hull as one of his favorite players growing up, and although he had met Hull before, he got a chance to have another quick conversation with the fellow American winger.
“You get all those guys in the same area, there’s a lot of extra energy,” Pavelski said. “It’s pretty cool when you hear some of the history and some of the things they’ve done. Brett Hull had always been one of my [favorite] players, and I had met him before, but just to kind of see him again, it’s pretty fun to come across those guys.”
Growing up in Dunnville, Ontario as a Maple Leafs fan, coach Pete DeBoer went a little further back in league history than his players.
“Ran into a couple favorites of mine growing up, Borje Salming and Darryl Sittler on the last night, sitting around,” said DeBoer, who coached the Pacific Division stars.
“The whole weekend was a highlight I think because of the combination of the top 100 players, and those guys walking around and involved – I thought that was incredible. I felt real lucky that I was a part of the one where they were putting that on.”