Sharks

Sharks' Brent Burns shows Mario Ferraro how to better protect himself

Sharks

Stefan Noesen had seen enough, and apparently Brent Burns had, too.

The Sharks' defenseman is in his 16th NHL season, and has played in all 82 regular-season games in each of the last five seasons. While Burns is an exceptional athlete, he also owes part of his longevity to the veteran savvy he has developed along the way.

Mario Ferraro is in his first NHL season. The Sharks' rookie defenseman has no such veteran savvy to rely on, so after watching the youngster get dangerously run into the boards by Calgary Flames forward Milan Lucic -- for the second time in a week -- in San Jose's 6-2 loss Monday night, Burns thought it best to share some valuable experience with Ferraro so that he might be able to last in the league as long as he has.

So, prior to the start of practice on Tuesday, Burns joined Ferraro on the ice to show him some tips on how to better protect himself when a forechecker rapidly is bearing down on him. Ferraro seemed to appreciate the transfer of knowledge, and intends to apply it to avoid greater potential for serious injury.

"He has obviously been around, so he knows as an older guy about how trying to protect yourself can help you in the long run with injuries," Ferraro said of Burns to The Mercury News' Curtis Pashelka. "I’m fine right now but any other hit, maybe it can go another way.

 

"I want to try and protect myself and try and stay healthy, but he’s just teaching me different ways to go in the corner. Protect myself, getting back there. There are times where you leave too much distance between yourself and you can take a big hit, so just want to try and limit those."

Ferraro is a minus-4 over San Jose's last two games, and clearly, he's still learning on the job. That doesn't change the fact that he has played well beyond his years as a rookie in the toughest hockey league in the world.

"There's going to be ups and downs for a guy that young in the league," Sharks interim coach Bob Boughner said of Ferraro after Monday's loss. "He has been pretty consistent all year. You're going to see dips here and there. But his compete is always unbelievable. He's always ready to play."

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Ferraro has been one of San Jose's few bright spots this season. With a little luck -- and some veteran advice -- he'll be one for many more to come.