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Sharks’ Thornton would ‘love’ Burns on his line for rest of season

Mar 13, 2013, 4:55 PM EDT

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If Joe Thornton has his way, the “Brent Burns at forward” experiment will last for more than one game.

The Sharks captain centered Burns during Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to St. Louis — Burns jumped onto his line late in the second period — and Thornton like what he saw from the defenseman-turned-winger.

“I’d play with [Burns] all year. He’s big, strong, handles the puck,” he told CSN Bay Area. “Yeah, I’d love to play with him all year, he’s great.”

Though San Jose lost on Tuesday, the team was taking some positives from the defeat.

The Sharks put 41 shots on goal — just the third time this year they’ve registered 40-plus — with Burns scoring once, his first goal of the year.

The biggest development, though, might be that head coach Todd McLellan might’ve found a winger for Thornton and Logan Couture.

A number of skaters have had the opportunity to fill the void this season — including the likes of Bracken Kearns and Tommy Wingels — but none have found success.

Burns is hoping he’ll be able to change that.

“It’s a joy to play with those guys,” he explained. “I think we were in their end a lot of the game. Big bodies, I think we play a hard style. I felt good.”

  1. colby7 - Mar 13, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Isnt he their best defenceman? I can see sticking a 5d or 6d up there but you would think losing him would mess up all the D pairings.

    • 19to77 - Mar 13, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      Not “best” so much as “most expensive.” He was brought in as a pure offensive D and doesn’t offer a lot in his own zone.

  2. phillyphanatic77 - Mar 13, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Quite an experiment. If Byfuglien can do it, then a player of Burns’ skill set can be successful doing it. I’ve always wondered why more teams don’t try this when they’re desperate. I know it’s not an ideal switch for NHL age players. And granted, it shouldn’t be attempted by every defender, but I’d imagine a player like Erik Karlsson would be a damn good forward. Not on a permanent basis but when in need.

  3. sjsharks66 - Mar 13, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Best defensemen on the sharks would have to be Boyle and Burns. Pickle is having a really bad year. Hope he can do better next year, example Paul Martin. Burns plays the offensive zone a lot, more then any D man on the sharks. (Besides boyle, i dont think anyone wants boyle as a forward though)

    It makes sense that they would choose burns to be a forward for awhile.

  4. mnwildfan15 - Mar 13, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Jacques ruined him, he should have been a winger all along. But that was his style defense first.

    • 19to77 - Mar 13, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      No kidding. His body type is pretty much ideal for a high-end power forward. Always wondered what the conversion was about. I figured it might have been because he was a slower skater back then and/or produced better from the point.

  5. sjsharks86 - Mar 13, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    When it comes to the best blueliner debate you have to include Stuart in there, no one is more defensively responsible and he adds a bit of offense, albeit not as much as Boyler (& he may have the best +/- among D-Men, although I haven’t checked so don’t quote me on that). Boyle & Stuart both make everyone better when they’re on the ice though.

  6. sjawesome - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    The sharks need a big body forward on the forecheck, I’m all for it. Plus it will help burns get back into game shape. With Irwin’s shot from the point I think keeping burns at forward will only help the team

  7. sjsharks66 - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    I completely forgot about stuart. I would have to agree completely.

  8. sjsblitz - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    he’s already done more than the entire 4th line. If anything its good to see Burnzie back

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