Doug Wilson’s Biggest Mistake is Sinking the Sharks

 Struggling to Score

Burns Sharks
The San Jose Sharks were undoubtedly happy to see Brent Burns back in the lineup, and so should fantasy managers. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks finished the 2013-14 regular season as the sixth best team in goals for at even strength divided by goals against with a 1.17 mark. This season, they have plummeted, stumbled and face-planted down to 24th in the league at just 0.92. All of the star players from a year ago who contributed to the high octane offense are back this season. So why has the offense fallen apart? It’s simple, GM Doug Wilson’s offseason decision to move Brent Burns back to defense has been a colossal mistake.

If you look at Burns’ goal total from the blue-line this year, 10 goals in 39 games looks really good. However, three have come via the power-play. Last season Burns the forward scored 20 even strength goals in 69 games. He is only on pace to score 12 even strength goals this year come his 69th game. That is eight fewer even strength goals. Many fans want to point out the need for offense from the blue-line but that is a silly narrative. Goals don’t count more from a defenseman. Goals are goals, they all count the same and Burns at forward turns the Sharks from a two line scoring team into a three line scoring team.

6th in Goals For Last Year

Last season, the Sharks were on fire out of the gate with rookie sensation Tomas Hertl, Joe Thornton and Burns on the top line and Joe Pavelski centering the third line. Before the Hertl injury, with Burns in the lineup at forward the Sharks opened the season 13-0-1, averaging a ridiculously dominant 4.42 goals per game over that stretch. This season, with Burns not scoring and playing defense, Hertl has come down back to earth. The 21-year-old Czech sparkled with 12 even strength tallies in 37 games last year. Thus far this season in 39 games he only has six tallies at even strength. Doing the math, based off games played, overall the Sharks are missing a combined 10 even strength goals from Hertl and Burns right now. In their last 14 games this season the Sharks are averaging just 2.71 goals per game. That is good for middle of the pack 16th in the league, whereas last year they finished sixth overall in goals per game at 2.92.

doug wilson nhl
Doug Wilson has been quiet this offseason (Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE)

Doug Wilson needs to come out and admit moving Burns back to defense was a mistake. With the exception of a few good games after feeling out his new partner Brenden Dillon, Burns has simply not been a good defenseman. His minus-8 rating is the worst on the team, and if you don’t like comparing plus/minus with teammates, well Burns’ goals for percentage at even strength is second to last on the Sharks, above only fourth line center Andrew Desjardins, at 42.6 percent. Even though Burns’ Corsi-for percentage has improved over time, he is still far below 50% goals for and that is a huge problem. As a forward last season, fans would be excited when Burns took the ice at even strength. Last year Burns was an absolute beast man out there, as the Sharks scored nearly 64% of the goals with him on the ice while five aside. The Sharks decision to move Burns back to defense has lowered his goals for percentage by 20%. You want to talk about the Sharks shooting themselves in the dorsal fin, this move has been nothing but terrible and they seem too stubborn to admit they were wrong. San Francisco 49ers fans are coming down hard on their front office for the Jim Harbaugh dismissal, Sharks fans should come down equally as hard on the Sharks front office for their absurd mishandling of Burns.

Sharks Don’t Score With Burns on D

This isn’t to say Burns isn’t capable of being a good defenseman, he had a very good year on the blue-line in his first season with the Sharks. That was in 2011-12 and he had a goals for percentage of 54.8% at even strength. However, even with a good year from Burns on the blue-line, and a great year from Dan Boyle that season, those Sharks could not score. They were top heavy at forward, finishing 13th in the league in goals for at just 2.67 per game. As the Associated Press’ Josh Dubow pointed out to me earlier this season, the Sharks have never been a good scoring team with Burns as a defenseman. They struggled to score with him as a defenseman in 2011-12 and they struggled the first half of the lockout shortened season in 2013 until his mid-season change to forward sparked the offense, balanced the forward lines and the Sharks took off. Then last season, a full year of Burns at forward and the Sharks crushed the competition. Even after Hertl went down with injury and Pavelski was bumped up, the Burns, Thornton, Pavelski line was so good they were able to carry the team in the regular season. Unfortunately, the Sharks didn’t realize that come playoffs, an overloaded top line is not going to continue to be that productive. Instead of keeping a now healthy Hertl on the top line and Pavelski at third line center, a combination that built them a 3-0 lead against the Kings, they flip flopped the lines and lost four straight.

If you start watching the Sharks on a regular basis, it doesn’t take long to realize that Burns is a high-risk, high-reward type player. He has an offensive driven mind set, and that type of player is best utilized at the forward position where two natural defenseman (Burns is a natural forward) can back him up defensively. The Sharks are not that far away from being the same team last year that went 13-0-1 and built a 3-0 lead against the eventual Stanley Cup champions. Only a couple tweaks could make this team a real contender again. However, their current stubborn attitude has dropped them into the bottom seven teams in even strength scoring and that is nowhere close to being good enough to win the Stanley Cup.

56 thoughts on “Doug Wilson’s Biggest Mistake is Sinking the Sharks”

  1. Andrew, who else are you going to move back to D? It’s already a pretty average and very young core. Pickles is awesome defensively, Irwin is okay, Braun is okay, Tennyson who knows. There’s absolutely no O from the D if you move Burnsie up.

    • its about displacement, not who scores at what position. By displacement i mean, you still get Burns’ offense, and more of it at EVS as a forward, and it bumps out a 4th liner like McGinn or Scott who cant score. Burns’ d replacement at EVS doesnt need to score much since Burns will still be at the point on the PP, and scoring more at EVS, all Burns’ defensive replacement would have to do is be a half decent puck mover to get the puck to the forwards.He doesnt have to feature the same booming shot because the forwards will do the offensive work. Considering how bad Burns has been defensively this year, im not convinced even an in house puck mover like Fedun couldnt post a near 50% goals for percentage on a second pair with Dillon. Fedun can skate and make nice passes through the neutral zone, hard to imagine him being any worse positionally in dzone than burns.

      • You know what your problem is. You cannot accept the fact that the Sharks are an average team. Average teams have flaws. You think moving Burns will suddenly make the Sharks a top 5 NHL team again. No…it won’t. There are way more issues.

        Nieto can’t score
        Marleau is aging
        Goaltending in general
        4th line is horrendous, Desjardins included.
        Anyone not named JT or Pavs cannot win face-offs.
        The 5/6 Defensemen are among the worst in the western conference period.
        The Sharks top 4 with Burns is maybe 7th in the West, without Burns falls to near dead last.
        The Sharks top 6 on offense is maybe 7th best in the west.

        This is a very VERY average team. Internal moves aren’t going to change that. Even Raffi Torres couldn’t make the Sharks a true Cup contender at this time.

        Damn bandwagon fans and writers, feeling so entitled and thinking winning comes easily.

        • It sounds like the author became a fan within the last 4-5 seasons. Only knowing dominance and not knowing what an average team looks like. All these comparisons to 2010 and 2011 are evidence of it. I guess he doesn’t know that average teams have holes and he just can’t cope with this fact. but hey living in a constant state of denial is a good option too.

  2. You can throw ” stats” and ” Corsi” out the window! It’s obvious that Burns is a force to be dealt with on offense. Even if he doesn’t score, his size and speed opens up scoring opportunities for others, which the Sharks sorely need. The fact that the Sharks don’t have the horses on defense is D. Wilson’s fault. I have been a staunch Wilson supporter up until now, but I really think he should move on. As many have said here, we just don’t have the quality players throughout the lineup. The 3rd line is getting better but is still below playoff quality. The 4th line is and has been substandard for too long now. The Defense is borderline, even Vlasic and Braun are struggling. Anyone can see this, so why can’t DW. This seems to be a case of DW saying don’t believe your eyes, believe me !
    The Sharks do have a good core but need some help, either free agents or through trade. Time for Wilson to move on and let somebody else take the reins !

    • Burns is indeed a dominant force up front, him and Thornton are impossible to get the puck away from behind the net. As for the defense criticisms, with Boyle and Stuart both struggling mightily last year, even if Burns were to move forward and the Sharks only replace his spot on defense internally, the defense wouldnt be that much worse than last year’s team. Definitely not as good, but Boyle last year 5 on 5 was 48% goals for, and minus-8, his worst year as a Shark and Stuart was just bad. Demers was really good last year though, losing his 2013-14 production is what they are really missing, but if they could get that type of player back in a deadline deal and move Burns forward, they would have the same type of makeup that made them a top scoring team last year with 111 points.

  3. The short term benefits of moving Burns back to forward seem pretty obvious to me as he would be a big step up from Hertl on the first line and you could replace him with almost anybody on defense and not lose much if anything right now.

    However, I’m assuming that Wilson is taking the long view here and is willing to give Burns the year to see if he can round back into a top NHL d-man. Anybody who thought that Burns was going to step right back into a defensive role and not show some ugly play is just being naive. I think that there has been some improvement in his defense since that start of the year but it is still very much in question whether or not he will ever be a top d-man again (or ever was…yes, despite his all-star appearance.)

    I personally think that Wilson saw how Doughty dominated in the King’s playoff run last year and thought to himself “we need one of those guys” and turned to Burns as the only option to be that kind of player. Unfortunately, I do not believe that Burns will ever be close to the level of a Doughty or a Keith so the question becomes whether he is ultimately more valuable as an average d-man or a somewhat above average wing.

    I actually don’t think it matters much what they do with Burns, no matter which position he plays the Sharks are no longer close to the level of the Kings, Ducks, Hawks or Blues. Come playoff time any of those teams will eat SJ for lunch. It seems that most of their ‘young core’ has regressed in addition to some of their veterans clearly declining. The didn’t quite rebuild and the certainly didn’t re-load…they chose the worst of all options by doing neither while the other top teams in the West all got better. They are a .500 team, their record will reflect that soon enough.

    Fire Wilson.

  4. Whenever I think about the Sharks problems, (weak depth at defense, needing one more solid center who makes guys better the way Thornton is able to do) one name comes to mind. Doug Wilson. His “stand pat” attitude last trade deadline and in the off season set the team back badly. It is becoming more and more obvious, Doug Wilson is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    • between thornton, couture, pavelski, hertl, marleau, sheppard, plenty of guys that can play in the middle, they need a scoring wing like burns who can disrupt on the forecheck

  5. JIT, you nailed another reason why the Sharks struggle to score even with their good forward depth. It seems whoever they put on the line with Thornton scores, whether it’s Hertl, Pavelski, Couture, Wingels, Nieto, Burns….pretty much anyone. The problem is the other three lines. Take Pavelski off Thornton’s line, his 5 on 5 production drops, same for any of those other guys I listed. The problem is magnified on the power play. The “loaded” first line scores a lot (good) but if they don’t the second line hardly scores at all. It’s like having a one minute power play. Great when the five stars line scores, but devastating to the psyche when they don’t. I don’t know how long Thornton is going to be out now, but it’s going to be very telling to see how they do without him. And to think Wilson almost ran Thornton out of town in the offseason. Imagine where the Sharks would be if he had been successful?

    • Shouldnt worry about pavs 5v5 dropping a little bit without thornton because he still dominates on the power play where he scores half his goals, and he would feast on easier matchups as 3C and make that line a whole heck of a lot better.

  6. Only using Goals per 60 to back up Burns move back to forward and ignoring every other factor.
    2014 Burns offensively output was barely that of a second line forward.

    Average TOI 16:49- Ranked 140th among forwards
    Points 48- Ranked 90th among forwards
    Average Power Play TOI 2:12- Ranked 146th among forwards

    If you want that back the Sharks will most definitely miss that playoffs (trading for a top 2 defensemen) IS NOT EASY.

    Now he’s among league leaders in ice time, points and power play time as a defensemen. And hold the phone his Corsi, something you constantly use is BETTER than both Vlasic and Braun. All while having a horrific PDO that at some point should improve. Please stop using “SELECTIVE” advanced stats to prove an argument when there are plenty of advanced stat categories showing Burns to be much more effective at even strength. Even Burns GOALS ALLOWED per 60 on the PK is better than Vlasic. Another stat that has alluded your “knowledge.”

    • Not making good points. Burns total TOI is dictated by other things — including his limited PP TOI — which was as a defenseman on the 2nd PP unit. Which wasn’t much because Boyle hated to leave the ice on the PP. And he wasn’t exactly your ‘go to’ guy on the PK. If you want t measure Burns as a F, then look at his time as a F. Which was 5 on 5. One of the highest goals/per 60 minutes in the league.

      • Those ranking are his comparisons to other forwards in 2014. If you live and die by ONE STATISTIC (G per 60) that is a very poor way to assess a players performance.

        • Im not living and dying by that number, but it is over a 20% decrease from last year to this year. That is HUGE. Not to mention he isnt a good defender with his stick positioning and situational awareness on where to be. His Corsi-for is actually not yet better than Vlasic and Burns plays more frequently with the Thornton line, Vlasic and Braun play with the marleau-couture line that isnt doing much lately.

  7. Burns is contributing 0.74 points per game this year, from the blue line. He contributed 0.69 points per game from up front last year. That is a resounding success from an offensive point of view. Any decent player on Thornton’s wing should generate at least .69 per game this year. And certainly whoever had Burns role on defense last year was no where close to .74 points. Net net the move back of Burns should be a huge offensive success. Blaming low output from wingers up front this year on the high put from Burns on the blueline is missing the forest for the trees. Marleau and Hertl are producing at less than 1/2 their last year production rate. Put the blame where the blame belongs.

    • Burns is a terrific offensive player, no matter where you put him. The issue with him, how do you mitigate his deficiencies while still capturing all of his offense? I thought TMc had the formula right last year — forward at even strength, d-man on the PP. The only change I’d have made was that Burns was 2nd unit PP, while a struggling Boyle had most of those top PP minutes. This year, he’s on the top PP unit, which is where he should have been last year

      • agreed zeke, i was one of the biggest boyle fan boys out there, but last year he was awful, and baffled me why the current top unit wasnt utilized last year with boyle bumped to the second unit.

  8. Zeke, is that you from WTC? As you know I’ve been saying the move was a mistake from day one. It’s pretty clear despite the fact that Burns was “born and raised” a defenseman he is at best barely average. The trouble with moving him back to forward is that Wilson already has a pretty bare cupboard beyond Vlasic/Braun of NHL caliber defensemen. Once less, regardless of how mediocre he is playing wouldn’t be good for the team. I guess under the circumstances it is best to leave Burns at defense and live with the “minus” he brings.

    • color me unconvinced that


      wouldn’t be a vast improvement than what they are rolling out currently when Jumbo is healthy.
      Having 4 capable forward lines (even without raffi), is more important than having Burns on defense. Yes the D core is thin, but Burns moving up creates more offense, and his replacement just needs to be a half decent puck mover, which i believe Fedun can be just that.

      • fwiw, I’d roll the lines differently. I think 15-89-68 would make a nice 4th line, they seem to play well together. I’d roll 39-57-10 together. Call it a hunch, but I think those styles would mesh really well. I’d put 19 and 88 on the same line. So big and physical, tough for any team to match up there. Which would leave a LW on the Burns/Thornton line and one more line to make 12, 8, 48 and the rest of the group (81,83, 20 etc). As nutty as it sounds, wouldn’t mind seeing a shift or two with Burns, Scott and Thornton together. Not often you’d have a line where Jumbo is the little guy on it !!!

  9. I’m in total agreement. I really liked using Burns on d on the PP and as a forward because … it works. Yes, this team would get thin on the blue line, especially since Burns is one of only 3 right shots d-men on the current roster. But that is a solvable problem. The real issue, this is a 4 line league. If you don’t roll 4 lines, you wear down your top guys and by the time game 83 rolls around, they simply don’t have enough left in the tank. Burns as a forward means you can spread out the talent to all 4 lines. Which means you are much more competitive. Its just about that simple.

    • Yup, you gotta roll 4 lines, without Burns up front they cant do that. Even with him up front last year and playing pavelski with him, they didnt have 4 good enough lines. As for defensive replacement, ideally they acquire someone to take Burns’ spot, but i could see Fedun and Dillon working well. Fedun is a puck mover and its hard for any puck mover to be worse defensively than Burns has been this year. So the only argument is that Fedun wont be able to push the puck up as well as Burns. 88 will still release bombs on the pp, so im not convinced fedun wouldnt be a half decent option.

  10. I’m in the play Burns at forward camp. At the same time let’s not ignore the obvious fact that time will eventually catch up with Thornton and Marleau. In fact it appears it has caught up to Marleau. I think the stats guys who say his shooting % will return to his career average are going to be in for a surprise at the end of the year. I couldn’t disagree more when you say he looks the same. He has lost more than a step at this point, he no longer blows past anyone but the slowest defenders with his speed.

      • Patrick Marleau, first 10 games of the year (last 4 years)
        2014: 4G 8A +1
        2013: 8G 4A +5
        2012: 9G 5A +2 (actually in Jan/Feb 2013 due to strike)
        2011: 2G 6A +6

        Combined 40 games (1st ten games in the last 4 years)
        23G, 21A +14

        averages: 1.1 ppg and +0.35 per game — that’s elite stuff. Over 82 games, projects to 47(!!) goals, 90 points and +29

        Rest of season (exclude playoffs)
        2014/15: 3G 12A -3 (26 games)
        2013/14: 25G 33A -5 (72 games)
        2012/13: 8G 9A -4 (38 games due to strike)
        2011/12: 28G 28A +4 (72 games)
        combined 146 points in 218 games and -8

        averages: 0.70 ppg and -0.04 per game — that’s 59 points per 82 games and a -3.

        The disparity gets somewhat worse if I only look at the past 3 years and exclude 2011/12 season. Average of 53 points per 82 past game 10, and -0.08 per game or -7 for a season

        • As players wear down, they don’t go from great to horrible. They go from great to inconsistent. Which is why you can see Marleau playing well at times, and a non-factor at others. Limiting his minutes — along with Thornton’s since they are both 35 — makes all kinds of sense. You can get more from less. I also makes sense to move Burns to F, which makes it easier to spread out those minutes.

  11. Andrew, sorry to say but you have no business writing about sharks hockey. You played on some crappy inhouse league team and no sfsu is not considered college hockey. Why move burns to a winger when the hardest position to find in the league is D men and Center? We need big D men for the playoffs, which is why we gave away demers. You have no clue what you are saying. If you want to rip doug wilson then rip him for signing john scott and mike brown, it wasn’t a whole lot of money spent but still was a waste.

    • Playing experience isn’t a prerequisite for analyzing a sport. Burns makes a greater positive impact at forward than he does at defense. +26 a year ago as an F, -8 right now as a dman. If you don’t like plus/minus, his goals for % at evs last year was 64%, this year as a dman 43%, second worst on the team. He makes tons of mistakes in his own zone, is a natural forward, and dmen aren’t as hard to find as you think. A guy like Anton Stralman has been solid for years but nobody ever gave him credit playing in Columbus and then not until his strong playoff with NYR last year did he get noticed for being a solid puck mover.

      • Your argument makes no sense. All you do is pull out stats but what you don’t realize is there are many things that are not on the stats page. If you did have a hockey background you would know this.

        Point being, Burns played with Jumbo. Anyone who plays with Jumbo does well. Look at Cheecho and Setoguchi who built there house due to them and now they are filling water bottles. Your better than a stat sheet Andrew. Come on son!

        • Burns is a much more physically talented freak than cheech or seto ever were. Yes Thornton makes everyone better. But 2013 and 2014 with Burns on Thorntons line this team could score goals, with him on defense, they can’t score goals. It’s not complicated.

        • You need to look at the whole teams picture on defense. Your last comment also proved my point that anyone with Jumbo will dominate, especially on the pp. Stay behind your desk and look at your numbers because you obviously don’t watch games. This team needs more chemistry all the tools are in the toolbox.

  12. Unless you can clone him and put him in both spots, you’ll have a hard time picking. On O he’s great but then he’s not defending, on D he’s great but won’t provide too much O. This is all about what it will do for you in the playoffs, when you meet with those sweet nice boys from that Angel Town, down south.

    • last year 64% goals for percentage at even strength with Burns as a forward. This year as a dman that has dropped to 42%. Yes Boyle is gone, but he wasn’t having a good year last year at all, and the Sharks still managed to be 6th in scoring. They move Burns up front, and even if they don’t acquire a D to replace him, internally a guy like Fedun would make them better since Burns is awful this year defending as a dman

      • Its about depth in my opinion. And as good as Burns is, he can’t hold the blue line by himself. You put him on O and now you’ve got TWO giant holes in your D. And if you think the Ducks and the Kings won’t exploit that come April, then you’ve been sleeping on the job.

        LA might be a D-first kind of team but if you decide to drop the soap……. well, our O is quite committed to scoring goals.

  13. The biggest issue is the horredously bad coaching and use of player talents by Todd McLellan. You put Tomas Hertl a goal scorer on the 4th line with two stiffs and wonder why he doesn’t score. You use James Sheppard (aka Torrey Mitchell Jr) on the 2nd power play, and don’t play Hertl at all on the power play. You run out stiffs like Tyler Kennedy, Sheppard and a bunch of bad AHL players and expect the teams scoring to improve?

    I will grant you this Andrew, Doug Wilson is the problem here, but his buddy McLellan is right behind him. When your running out Non Draft Free Agents and playing them every night, you know your team is not a quality team. When you biggest off season move was getting rid of the teams color comentator you know what ownership thinks is important. Wilson and McLellan should have both been fired two seasons ago. Wilson has singlehandly destroyed the little depth the team did have by making bad trades and resigning two premadons two large contracts.

    I notice Andrew that you made no mention of #12 and his lack of goal scoring this year. Currently on pace to have a career low year of under 20 goals for the entire season. Why did you give him a pss Andrew?

    • Marleau’s shot totals are equal to that of his 11-12 shot totals when he scored 30 goals. He’s having a really unlucky season right now, he is bound to snap out of it, only 7 goals right now, but i bet he finishes with 20-22 and not the 15 hes on pace for. He still looks like the same player to me, it’s just not going in. I don’t judge on goals for individuals, i judge on whether they are getting opportunities. Likewise a player like Matt Nieto, leads the NHL in corsi but has only 9 points, he leads the sharks in GF/60 at even strength but has little to show for it.

  14. If they have all the “same weapons” less Boyle then why is goal scoring down? Obviously its more then just Burns moving to forward, and Boyle being back on defense. Your simplistic approach is typical of the type of articles you write.

    • Burns at forward makes the top line better and the third line better (if they do the wise thing and play pavelski at center), Marleau is bound to snap out of his funk on the second line. If you have the following 3 lines:


      Their scoring would improve drastically.

  15. I believe Andrew is spot on here (about Burns and where he “should play”). I think this season, the Sharks would be a ‘better’ team w/Burns at (F). I also agree w/Ferrall about attention to details (or lack thereof). This club is just NOT doing that, in any consistent fashion this season. They will be very lucky to get anywhere near the playoffs; if nothing changes. The coaching staff is trying to give this club the confidence it needs in order to compete in each and every game but the players have to suck it up and play consistent, attention to details hockey for most every game. Until that happens, this club will be an also-ran/non-playoff team. Unfortunately, this club also has larger issues (heart) and will probably never win the SC until both Thornton & Marleau retire and mgmt. replaces them with a player(s) with similar talents AND some grit.

  16. This narrative has been going on all season and I’m sick of it. Practically every article from you is about Burns being better at forward… its boring and lazy.

    You keep talk about moving Burns, so who replaces him? Burns is the only offense we do have on the blueline, and if you move him we have none. All of a sudden the opponent goes from having to defend 3 forwards and 1 d-man as threats, to only 3 forward. Tennyson and Fedun on the right? More Hannan on the right? Please. If we had any plan to move Burns back to forward, Demers would still be on the team.

    • Did you see the difference in Burns’ GF % last year as a forward and this year as defenseman? Obviously having Burns on D as a “fourth” threat with 3 forwards isn’t doing them any good. The Sharks can’t score at even strength this year, Burns and Thornton used to control the boards behind the offensive net with ease. Without him the top line has been San Jose’s best line, but they haven’t produced to the levels they did last year. Part of that is Hertl still getting over his knee injury but a huge part is Burns not up there to score.

  17. Couldn’t agree with you more on this Andrew. As soon as I heard last year that Burns would be on defense I said “Now there’s a big mistake”. Burns is a natural forward and that’s where he really needs to stay.

    • Thanks for the read and comment John! Burns-Thornton up front, opposing D can’t get the puck away from them.

  18. Defensemen are more valuble then forwards… if burns can play a little D and take boyles spot im fine with it. GET another high end forward. thornton/Pavs/ Corture/ as CENTERS. get the offense moving its feet. and Hitting. an the team will be fine… what is lacking on the team is leadership. they need a ricci or a guy that just never gives up tells others to get off there ass and play hard. they sharks are always stacked on talent. even now. just DO IT.

  19. It means I don’t think your qualified to write about NHL hockey. What is the highest level you played at?

    • If you don’t think im qualified, then you must not think hardly anyone is because when it comes to playing, i have the more experience than vast majority of sharks media. I played street hockey as a kid, then played roller and ice hockey in high school before starting an ice team from scratch at SFSU and playing my senior year against schools like SRJC, Davis, Sac State and Santa Clara, who have some high quality players. I more than held my own in that league. Had I played with linemates who werent terrible like Andrew Desjardins gets stuck doing for the Sharks, I would have been at least a .5 points per game player if not .7 in that league.

    • I appreciate your reads and comments, i would love to have a dialogue going and learn why you think Burns to defense is a good move?

  20. You prove with each article to be consistently out of your depth. This article though is a step up from your “Thornton for the Hart” debacle of a few weeks back. Your remedial knowledge of the game is only outdone by your inability to be impartial as you bleed teal to a ridiculous fault. Please take a step back, read as much of Bob Mackenzie or Pierre Lebrun as you possibly can, then try again.

    • Out of my depth? What does that even mean? Sharks have all the same weapons as a year ago minus a struggling dan boyle, the biggest change has been burns to defense.

    • James, you’re ripping Andrew for his outside of the box viewpoint on Thornton after the Sharks got blown out in the first game without Thornton? Last night might have validated that article……I do not know why would anyone would take the time to deride an article and be condescending. I may not agree with some of the articles, but there are cogent points in each article and he clearly understands stats, unlike most sharks fans. Bob MacKenzie and Pierre LeBrun do not offer much with incisive commentary. And those guys cover the NHL not the Sharks, the point of the articles is suppose to be on the Sharks.

      I think Burns should be defenseman. Jacques Lemaire knew a little something about defense and he saw something in Burns and that was validated when he made the all-star game. Burns is having to get use to playing a position again, so there is going to be growing pains and he has been considerably better since the Dillon trade. But I think what people do not understand is defense is not based on two guys at the blueline, it starts with the forwards and being responsible, with clears, checks and positioning. Case in point , Blues scored a couple of goals because forwards did not have good stick position, the back door from Shattenkirk last night with Couture looking clueless was sad. The defense is a team concept that these guy needs to buy into, and for 10 games they clearly did going 9-1. Since the Christmas break besides Anaheim (who let’s face it is the Sharks slump buster, the fat chick you call up to end a dry spell).

      The teams who have won th Cup have elite puck moving offensive minded defenseman: Duncan and Doughty, Bruins have Chara. Burns is better offensively than any of those guys. Kevin Weekes calls Burns a once in a generation type player with his skill set. I would like to see Burns try this for at least this season, moving him back would be a panic move. Now it seems his teammates may think he should be a forward which could say something. The Sharks struggles are because of poor commitment to details and execution, Hertl won’t be right until next year, takes more than a year to recover from an ACL.

      I think the Shrks have the talent to get the 5 on 5 going, they just need to commit to getting butts in front of the net, which is what Burns added. And the second line needs to get going n a consistent basis.

      • if Burns is better on offense than all those great d-men, then why not put him on offense? Because he isn’t close to any of those guys (Keith, Doughty Chara) on defense — he’s kind of the opposite.

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