Sharks' Brent Burns overcomes the flu, keeps his Norris Trophy stock high

Sharks' Brent Burns overcomes the flu, keeps his Norris Trophy stock high

SAN JOSE – There aren’t too many players out there that can bounce back from having the flu and get on the score sheet. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns is one of the few that can.

“He was laid up all day yesterday and today, and showed up and played I don’t know how many minutes,” Sharks’ bench boss Peter DeBoer said Sunday after No. 88 set up a third-period marker in Team Teal’s 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. “He’s a hard guy to keep off the ice. We went in with the plan of limiting him a little bit but that’s hard to do. He wants to be out there.”

It was just another example of why Burns is at the forefront of the Norris Trophy conversation.

Burns logged 23:20 minutes in Sunday’s contest, second to only fellow defenseman Justin Braun. Halfway through the final period, he squared up and fired a laser shot straight at the net which Melker Karlsson tipped in for a goal. 

For a guy who was battling a flu bug, Burns played like it was just another night at the office – and kept his iron man streak of 455 games going to boot.

With a team-leading 72 points, Burns also continues to outmatch other defensemen across the NHL with a 1.09 points-per-game clip. He’s tallied at least one point in all but eight games since the beginning of January, ranking tenth among all skaters in points since the start of the new year.

Keep in mind, Burns has continued on this pace all carrying a heavy load for an injured blue line. With four of the Sharks’ six regular defensemen being sidelined at different points since the start of the new year, Burns has had to eat up big minutes in half of the games this campaign. As fellow Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson continues to deal with a groin injury that keeps him out of the lineup, the rest of San Jose’s blue line has been tasked with filling that void. Burns, who was logging nearly 30 minutes a game in January when Braun, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Radim Simek were all injured, and he’s continued on a similar pace for nearly a two-month span.

[RELATED: Burns garnering Norris Trophy buzz]

Plus, the season isn’t even done yet. The Sharks have 16 games to go in their regular season campaign and are playing 10 of those games on home ice – where Burns has tallied 29 points (six goals, 23 assists) in a 31-game span. A whopping 13 of those games will be against the Western Conference, which Burns has registered 39 points (seven goals, 32 assists) against. With numbers like that, it doesn’t look like anything can cool off No. 88’s Norris Trophy campaign.

As we learned last weekend, not even something like the flu can hold him back. 

Sharks' Tomas Hertl brings the fun to NHL All-Star Skills Competition


Sharks' Tomas Hertl brings the fun to NHL All-Star Skills Competition

Leave it to Tomas Hertl to put a smile on everyone's face.

The self-described "smiley guy" is the Sharks' lone representative at NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis, and he didn't take long to show the Enterprise Center crowd why he fills that role so well during the All-Star Skills Competition on Friday night.

Hertl participated in two events on the evening, and got the crowd on its feet both times. But it was his first event -- the Bud Light NHL Save Streak -- during which he created one of the highlights of the entire night.

The Save Streak competition pits goalies against one another to see how many consecutive breakaway saves they can make. Tampa Bay's Andrei Vasilevskiy held the lead with nine consecutive stops with only the hometown Jordan Binnington left to go. The Blues goaltender recently challenged musician Justin Bieber to a breakaway competition on Twitter, in which he said he would die his hair platinum blonde if Bieber scored at least once on 10 breakaway attempts.

Clearly, Hertl was paying attention, because he had a surprise for Binnington on his own breakaway attempt.

See for yourself:

Hertl didn't score on his hilarious attempt, but it's tough to blame him for two reasons. For one -- and perhaps most importantly -- he had a gigantic Justin Bieber mask over his entire face. Secondly, Binnington would go on to stop six more shots in a row after Hertl to win the event with a streak of 10.

[RELATED: Sharks' Karlsson named to NHL's All-Decade Second Team]

The 26-year-old forward wasn't done for the night, though. He participated in the next event -- the Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting -- as well.

The Accuracy Shooting competition involves a series of shooters attempting to hit five targets on a digital board. Hertl might have the best mits on the Sharks, and he wasted no time showing them off in St. Louis, knocking down four targets on his first four shot attempts. The crowd got louder and louder as it appeared Hertl might complete a perfect round in very short order, but unfortunately, the crescendo had to wait. Hertl struggled to hit the final target, requiring nine more attempts to close it out. Carolina's Jacob Slavvin ultimately won the event, hitting all five targets in only 9.505 seconds, considerably faster than Hertl's time of 17.161.

So, Hertl wasn't victorious in any one event at the Skills Competition, but he undoubtedly will be remembered as one of the big winners of the night. After all, as he likes to say, "Fun must be always."

Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson named to NHL's All-Decade Second Team


Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson named to NHL's All-Decade Second Team

The 2010s were pretty good to Erik Karlsson.

The Sharks defenseman was named to six All-Star teams, won two Norris trophies and signed a lucrative eight-year, $92 million contract last summer to stay in San Jose.

Now, Karlsson has been named to the NHL's All-Decade Second Team.

Paired with Karlsson on the Second Team blue line is Boston's Zdeno Chara.

Los Angeles' Drew Doughty and Chicago's Duncan Keith were named as the defensemen on the NHL's All-Decade First Team.

From Jan. 1, 2010 through Dec. 31, 2019, Karlsson played in 623 games with the Ottawa Senators and Sharks. He recorded 120 goals and 422 assists during that span.

Last month, NBC Sports ranked Karlsson as the third-best player of the decade behind Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.

[RELATED: Wilson defends signing of Karlsson]

At just 29 years old, Karlsson has plenty of good hockey ahead of him, and the Sharks are hoping he can help bring the first Stanley Cup to the Bay Area sometime in the near future.