Burns shows love for San Jose after signing extension with Sharks

Burns shows love for San Jose after signing extension with Sharks

SAN JOSE – Brent Burns expressed his disappointment that on Monday night against New Jersey, some technical issues at SAP Center prevented the team from skating out of the iconic Shark head.

“Pretty sad last night when it didn’t come down,” he said on Tuesday. “The boys are taking laps saying, ‘what’s going on with the Shark head? Where is it?’”

Burns will get plenty of other opportunities, though. Eight more years worth, to be exact. 

The 31-year-old defenseman signed a monster eight-year, $64 million contract extension with the Sharks on Tuesday, which will kick in next season. Set to become an unrestrcited free agent this summer, the deal keeps Burns in teal potentially until the 2024-25 season.

“It’s really exciting,” Burns said. “It’s awesome for our family. It's a weight off your shoulders to get it done and just concentrate on hockey.”

The term of the deal was of utmost importance to Burns, who broke into the league with the Minnesota Wild in 2003-04 and was traded to the Sharks on June 24, 2011. That eight-year maximum was almost certainly why it took a little while to come to an agreement, as Sharks general manager Doug Wilson had never signed a player to a contract extension longer than five years.

Burns turned out to be the first exception to that internal, unwritten rule (although unlike some other contracts to marquee players, the Sharks left themselves a bit of flexibility in this one with a limited no-trade clause and no no-movement clause).

“The word I use for him is unique,” Wilson said. “To see that size and that skill set and that type of shot – you’ve seen how the game has evolved, especially in the last few years. There’s not many players like that that can create offense from the back end. But, he also defends well.

“I honestly do feel he’s just coming into his prime.”

That’s the hope, of course, as Burns will turn 32 in March and will be 40 by the time the contract expires. He is coming off of his best season as a professional in 2015-16 when he finished third in Norris Trophy voting as the best defenseman in the league, and has picked up where he left off this season, leading the NHL in scoring among defensemen in 16 points (7g, 9a).

Wilson and Burns both expressed confidence that the Wookiee will be able to be a contributing player for the duration of the deal. After all, Burns has remained generally healthy for the past few seasons, and will bring an iron man streak of 244 straight games into Wednesday night against Chicago.

“[Beard will] probably will have a little bit of grey in it, but the body will still be tight,” Burns said with a grin.

“I’ve been in the league for awhile, I still feel really good. Playing with guys like [Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton], you see how well they take care of their bodies. … I feel good. I feel really good.”

Burns has also developed a unique relationship with the fan base, thanks to his unrivaled offensive ability from the blue line paired with a carefree, almost childlike personality. It’s evident that he enjoys the relaxed California atmosphere, while playing for a team that is still considered to be a Stanley Cup contender after falling just two games short last season.

“Off the ice, [the fans are] just great. You’re in Five Guys and it’s just, ‘Hey Burnzie, win the next game. Good luck.’ That’s it. The people here have been great. 

“They love their Sharks, and I think it’s something that even as a kid you love the logo, you have something that you bind yourself to. It’s just a great sports town. You get that speed lifestyle but it’s not, really. It’s relaxed up here. We’ve loved it here.”

Now, he’s the new, significantly bearded and front-toothless face of the organization.

“That’s a tough face, huh?” he quipped.

Get used to it.

Erik Karlsson unveils Sharks' black third jersey with an on-ice skate

San Jose Sharks

Erik Karlsson unveils Sharks' black third jersey with an on-ice skate

Erik Karlsson did not play for the Sharks in Saturday's preseason game against the Vegas Golden Knights, but he still managed to suit up. 

Karlsson took the ice in front of the fans at SAP Center as a Shark for the first time, all while wearing San Jose's newest uniform. He officially unveiled a black alternate jersey that the Sharks will wear in 13 home games this season. 

Teal is the only prominent accent color aside from some orange in the shark's eye. It looks like Martin Jones' new mask design offered a bit of a thematic preview of the Sharks' new look.  

The "Stealth" jersey also features a black-and-teal version of San Jose's original secondary logo, a cool nod to the franchise's history. Sharks co-president John Tortora told NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil in February that the logo would "start showing back up again."

In all, it's the third black jersey in the club's history, and the team's first alternate uniform since Adidas took over as the NHL's jersey manufacturer last season. 

The Sharks will wear the jersey in every Thursday night and Friday night home game -- as well as one Saturday. The full schedule for the uniform is as follows:

  • Thursday, Oct. 18 vs. Buffalo
  • Thursday, Nov. 1 vs. Columbus
  • Saturday, Nov. 3 vs. Philadelphia
  • Thursday, Nov. 15 vs. Toronto
  • Friday, Nov. 23 vs. Vancouver
  • Thursday, Dec. 13 vs. Dallas
  • Thursday, Dec. 20 vs. Winnipeg
  • Thursday, Dec. 27 vs. Anaheim
  • Thursday, Feb. 14 vs. Washington
  • Friday, March 1 vs. Colorado
  • Thursday, March 7 vs. Montreal
  • Thursday, March 14 vs. Florida
  • Thursday, March 28 vs. Chicago

After Erik Karlsson trade, Sharks in line for new defenseman pairings

After Erik Karlsson trade, Sharks in line for new defenseman pairings

SAN JOSE -- Since Peter DeBoer took over as Sharks coach ahead of the 2015-16 season, defenseman Brenden Dillon has played with plenty of partners. Seven defensive pairings have played 500 minutes of five-on-five hockey together in the regular season and playoffs during that stretch, according to Corsica Hockey, and Dillon has played for four. 

He’ll likely join a fifth this season. Dillon’s most regular partner over the last three seasons, Dylan DeMelo, now is in Ottawa after being traded to the Senators in the massive deal that brought two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson to San Jose last week. 

Dillon, like the rest of the Sharks' defensive corps, doesn’t know who he’ll skate with to start the season. But, he said, his experience regularly playing alongside many different players will prove beneficial when he does.

“I think it’ll be to my advantage for sure,” Dillon said Friday at the Sharks' practice facility. “I’m definitely excited. We don’t really know what the lineups are going to kind of shake out as exactly. I think even during the regular season in past years, too, you might start out with a certain guy and finish the game having played with all five guys. … There’s so many different variables.”

Dillon skated with defensive prospect Jeremy Roy on Friday. Marc-Edouard Vlasic paired with Karlsson for the third consecutive practice. Justin Braun, Vlasic’s regular partner to the tune of nearly 3800 regular-season and playoff minutes over the last three years, skated with Burns. 

At least in the Braun and Burns’ case, that was due to availability. Burns’ most common defensive partner last season, Joakim Ryan, played in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Anaheim Ducks, and thus skated in the second session. 

Still, it’s possible Braun will regularly play with someone other than Vlasic for the first time in years. The eight-year veteran last played with someone else for more than 500 five-on-five minutes during the 2013-14 season, when he logged just under 505 such minutes with now-retired defenseman Brad Stuart. 

Braun said there won’t be a big learning curve if he plays with someone other than Vlasic, since he’s played spot minutes with just about everyone else (other than Karlsson). Braun said he’d hope to play a couple preseason games with a new partner, but that practice might be an ideal time to learn their tendencies and develop chemistry. 

“You can learn anywhere,” Braun said. “There’s drills set up where there’s a lot of forechecking. You might chip [the puck], and he’s not there, and you kind of talk about it after. That might be the best place since they’re not scoring goals on you where it counts.”

It might be awhile before DeBoer provides a glimpse into his potential pairings. Karlsson will not play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Vegas Golden Knights at SAP Center, and the Sharks will not cut camp down to one group of up to 26 players (five forward lines, four defensive pairs, and three goaltenders) until Tuesday or Wednesday. 

After Saturday, San Jose will play three more preseason games before hosting Anaheim in the regular-season opener Oct. 3. Who Karlsson, and the rest of the defense, play with then is still to be determined, according to DeBoer. 

“We’ll see,” DeBoer said when asked if he envisioned Karlsson and Vlasic as a long-term possibility. “We’ve had a couple practices, but honestly I’ve got a bunch of different things rolling around in my head. The nice thing about getting [Karlsson] now is that it’s not a trade deadline where you’ve basically got six weeks to figure it out.”

DeBoer added that he hopes his pairings that open the season will stick together stick throughout the season, but he knows the nature of a long schedule will require changes. As Braun and Dillon both noted, that can happen during the ebb and flow of an individual game, too.

No matter who plays with whom, Dillon said he’s confident any new-look pairings will be able to become comfortable. 

“I think that’s just going to come with time,” Dillon said. “But, for us as a group, I think we can all cover for each other if we’re struggling a bit. At the same time, I think when we’re all going well, it’s going to be a tough group to beat.”