Sharks' Burns relishes time spent with Bobby Orr

Sharks' Burns relishes time spent with Bobby Orr

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.”


Former Sharks defenseman Paul Martin announces retirement


Former Sharks defenseman Paul Martin announces retirement

After 14 seasons with the Devils, Penguins and Sharks, defenseman Paul Martin has called it a career.

Martin announced his retirement from the NHL in an article published by The Athletic on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old spent the last three seasons in San Jose and was released on June 22.

In three seasons with the Sharks, Martin finished with seven goals and 41 assists.

Martin was defense partners with Brent Burns when the latter won the Norris Trophy during the 2016-17 season.

As you might imagine, Burns had nice things to say about Martin in The Athletic's piece.

“The most special thing about that guy is it didn’t matter how many times you asked him how he was or what was he doing or what was going on, he always just cared about you," Burns told The Athletic's Michael Russo. "We always joked, we know his name, but we know nothing else ’cause he’s always asking if we’re all right, how our kids are doing, how life is. He just cared that much and he really put the ‘Nice’ in the Minnesota Nice. It’s like this guy just exemplifies that. I mean, just look what he’s doing for kids in Minnesota. That says everything you want to know about him. It’s just so genuine of him. I’m not kidding you, he’s the most genuine human being I’ve ever met."

Peter DeBoer talks Erik Karlsson, John Tavares ahead of first showdown


Peter DeBoer talks Erik Karlsson, John Tavares ahead of first showdown

SAN JOSE -- With the Toronto Maple Leafs in town and the Canadian media on the scene, there were two names that popped up a lot at the Sharks’ Wednesday morning practice: Erik Karlsson and John Tavares.

The two veterans were the biggest names on the market last summer -- both captains on their respective teams who had the opportunity to play for a contender. Fast-forward to November, and the two players are facing off for the first time since sporting new sweaters.

So naturally, Sharks’ bench box Peter DeBoer was peppered with questions about the Leafs’ newest forward and Team Teal’s newest defenseman.

You may recall the Sharks were initially in on the John Tavares sweepstakes before the 28-year-old center chose to take his talents up to Toronto. That didn’t stop DeBoer from praising his success since joining the Leafs.

“John Tavares, for me, is one of the best players in the world,” DeBoer said. “Playing with a lot of confidence.”

It’s easy to see why Tavares is playing so confidently, too. He’s leading the team with 11 goals in 18 games and is ranked second on the squad with 22 points. 

“I just love the honesty to his game,” DeBoer continued. “He plays both ends of the rink. He wins battles. He goes to the dirty areas of the rink. And he makes other people around him better.”

Of course, the conversation turned toward the big acquisition the Sharks did make this off-season: two-time Norris Trophy-winner Karlsson. While much of the outside focus has centered on the defenseman not scoring his first goal of the season yet, DeBoer was frank when he said he likes what he’s seeing from the new addition to the roster. He also noted that the number of goals scored isn’t the only number outsiders should be looking at.

“I think his game is trending in the right direction,” he said of No. 65.  “When you look at the underlying numbers of what he’s doing here, they’re as good or better than they were two years ago in Ottawa.

“All those things are there. It just hasn’t (broken) the right way for him yet.”

As far as finding the back of the net, DeBoer acknowledged the pressure on Karlsson can play a role.

“It’s human nature. You want to come in, you want to make an impact," DeBoer said. "For sure, that can weigh on you. But sometimes you have to take a step back and look at what’s actually going on.”

What’s going on now is the Leafs making their one and only season visit to San Jose after defeating the LA Kings 5-1 on Tuesday. The matchup with Toronto won’t be easy, much like the contest the Sharks just played on Tuesday against the conference-leading Nashville Predators.

“We know, like with Nashville, that we have to be on top of our game,” DeBoer summarized. “If you try and cheat, they can put up some goals really quickly on you.”