weather icon Drizzle

Sharks’ Brent Burns would rather talk about travel than hockey

SAN JOSE, Calif. — With a giant unkempt beard, 6-foot-5-inch frame and a smile with gaping holes where teeth used to be, Brent Burns looks every bit the part of an All-Star defenseman.

His skill set backs it up. Sharks coaches and players rave about how well Burns uses his size and athleticism to not only lock up his own zone, but contribute as much or more than any defenseman in the league to his team’s offense.

“He’s all-world,” San Jose coach Pete DeBoer said of the player who led his team in points during the regular season and has added six through seven playoff games. “He’s a linebacker with the touch of a small skill guy. It’s a great package. He drives our offense almost every night.”

The accolades also come from outside his own locker room.

Caveman and Kanine and Captain! Big win in Calgary back to work tomorrow! #ek9 #4snipes

A post shared by brent burns (@brent_burns_88) on

“He’s so unpredictable, which makes him such a great player,” Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt said. “He does things you don’t expect him to. Ask any goalie about how he shoots the puck. You’re not sure when and where it’s coming from. A lot of guys have tendencies, but he’s a guy who doesn’t have a whole lot of them.

“With him, it’s about expecting the unexpected.”

That applies even more to Burns off the ice.

His outfits, louder than a Game 7 crowd, cover up a body with even more elaborate tattoos. Yet he enjoys the peace and relaxation of surfing and drinking wine in nearby Napa Valley.

The native of Barrie, Ontario, is an animal enthusiast who has been known to keep snakes and other reptiles along with his cats and dogs.

Burns, 33, a first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2003 who was traded to San Jose before the 2011 season and has spent time with the Sharks as a forward, has been referred to as everything from eccentric to mysterious to standoffish. But much of that appears to stem from his lack of desire to pore over the details of what he does on the ice with the media on a daily basis.

He’s much more willing to discuss his favorite books or travel destinations.

“Turkey,” he told the Review-Journal after practice on Tuesday, well after the rest of the media contingent covering the Western Conference semifinal had departed the team’s practice facility.

“It’s a beautiful place. The food was amazing and the people were great. Maybe it’s different now, I don’t know. I was probably there before it got a little bit dicier, but we never felt unsafe at all. I’ve always loved Italy, but then (Turkey) was just special. It’s really an amazing place. The history is just all around you, and the food really did blow me away. Everyone always loves Italy, and I do, too, but Turkey when we went there was all those same things. And it’s just like the gateway to the other side of the world. It was just unreal.”

While his teammates go on and on in detail about how great a player Burns is, they are far more vague about his personality.

“He keeps it interesting around here,” goaltender Martin Jones said. “He’s definitely an interesting guy. You just have to meet him.”

Joe Pavelski is a longtime friend and teammate. He and Burns form a connection Schmidt believes is the best in the NHL between forward and defenseman in terms of tipping shots and getting free on the power play.

Asked about Burns off the ice, Pavelski laughs. “I think you guys know what Burnsy is like,” was the answer he finally settled on.

Joakim Ryan, who is often paired with Burns defensively, was full of accolades.

“He’s great,” Ryan said. “He’s always having fun. It seems like he genuinely loves being at the rink and around the guys. The media might not see it as much, but he’s definitely a good teammate and a great guy to be around.

”Burnsy is into certain things maybe a lot of people aren’t, but he’s very open about all those things around us. You guys just get a different side of him.”

Burns, who lists Africa and Japan as the places he still most wants to visit, wonders whether and why anyone is even interested in who he is off the ice.

He does offer a recommendation for anyone looking to step up their fashion game.

“I’m kind of into the tux thing right now, but you definitely need a good suit guy to help you out,” he said. “Giovanni has taken good care of me for a long time.”

Burns has been holding down the Sharks’ blue line nearly as long — even if he’s not all that interested in talking about it.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knight's owner Bill Foley's House for sale in The Ridges - Real Estate Millions
Vegas Golden Knights, Fleury Make Day for Critically Ill Teenager in ESPN “My Wish” - Video
A 13-year-old Las Vegas boy who has faced Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treated to a special day by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights in a new ESPN “My Wish” Series feature debuting Wednesday, July 17, on SportsCenter. In the feature, Doron Coldwell spends a day with the team and even gets an opportunity to replace his favorite player, three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury, in the net.
Golden Knights Sell "Battle Worn Armor" To Season Ticket Holders - Video
The Golden Knights sell their "battle worn" apparel throughout both of the teams seasons including pucks, sticks, helmets and skates.
Summerlin 4th of July Parade - VIDEO
On July 4th Summerlin will be hosting the 25th annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade, an event that has grown massively over the years
Golden Knights McPhee talks on the first day of NHL free agency - VIDEO
Golden Knights incoming president of operations George McPhee addresses the media as free agency starts.
Golden Knights Trade Colin Miller as Development Camp ends - VIDEO
George McPhee speaks to the media following the end of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Development Camp Day 4 - VIDEO
Nic Hague stands out at day 4 of Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Hold First Scrimmage of Development Camp - Video
The first of three scrimmages was held at the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss what stood out to them.
Golden Knights George McPhee Discusses Erik Haula Trade - Video
A day after it was announced that Erik Haula had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, incoming President of Hockey Operations George McPhee spoke to the media discussing the move.
Golden Knights Trade Erik Haula - Video
The Golden Knights have traded Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Nicolas Roy. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writer Adam Hill discuss the trade.
Golden Knights Coaches Looking for Veterans to Step Up in Development Camp - Video
Day two of the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp is in the books. Director of Player Development Wil Nichol says his staff is looking for the veterans of the camp to step up and be leaders to the younger guys, while at the same time doing their best to impress the coaching staff.
Golden Knights Draft Player with Strong Hockey Bloodlines - Video
The Golden Knights drafted Mason Primeau in the 5th round of the 2019 NHL Draft. Primeau is no stranger to professional hockey, both his dad (Wayne Primeau) and his uncle (Keith Primeau) played in the NHL.
Golden Knights Kelly McCrimmon Talks Development Camp - VIDEO
Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon talks about what he expects from everyone at development camp on their first day.
Golden Knights Dylan Coghlan On Veteran Experience - VIDEO
Golden Knights defenseman Dylan Coghlan talks about his veteran experience playing in Chicago and development camp.
Golden Knights President George McPhee talks about Williams Karlsson's 8 year deal
George McPhee presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Center William Karlsson speaks to media about 8 year contract
William Karlsson presser highlights June 25, 2019.
2019 NHL Awards Highlight Video
The 2019 NHL Awards took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Though Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone came close to winning the best defensive forward trophy, St. Louis Blues center Ryan O' Reilly took home the coveted Frank Selke Trophy. Jason Zucker, who was raised in Las Vegas and plays for the Minnesota Wild, accepted the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarianism. Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov took home the NHL's MVP Award. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mark Stone and Stanley Cup visit MGM Grand
Mark Stone took photos and signed autographs for Golden Knights fans at the MGM Grand on Sunday. The Stanley Cup also made its way into the MGM Grand Main Lobby. The most revered trophy in hockey is on display to celebrate the upcoming 2019 NHL awards at the Mandalay Bay Center on June 19th. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights, Raiders Unite for Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
Golden Knights and Raiders players alike were more than excited to join together in a charity softball game to raise money for pediatric cancer. Players from both teams cannot wait for the Raiders to arrive in Las Vegas so more joint events can take place.
Golden Knights and Raiders Raise over $100K in Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
In the first-ever Battle For Vegas Charity Softball Game, the Golden Knights and Raiders raised $136,000 for the Tyler Robinson Foundation. At the end of the nights, it was the Raiders that raised the Battle For Vegas trophy, after beating the Golden Knights 20-16. Take a look at some of the highlights from the game!
Golden Knights' Reilly Smith Ready to Battle for Vegas - Video
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith is ready to Battle For Vegas in a charity softball game that will feature various celebrity athletes, including teammates Jonathan Marchessault, Ryan Reaves and Erik Haula. Smith's team will face off against former Raider Marcus Allen and his teammates, including Vontaze Burfict, Josh Jacobs and Maurice Hurst. The charity softball game is set to take place on Saturday, June 15th at the Las Vegas Ballpark.
Golden Knights Will Have a New Home in Henderson - Video
The Golden Knights are saying goodbye to the Henderson Convention Center and hello to the team's new hockey facility that will be located in the second largest city in Nevada. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kelly McCrimmon Gets Promoted to Golden Knight General Manager - Video
The Vegas Golden Knights have announced that Kelly McCrimmon has been promoted to General Manager of the team, effective September 1, 2019. Regarding his new role, McCrimmon will represent the Golden Knights at the NHL's General Managers Meetings and will be the point of contact for other league GMs.
Seattle NHL expansion team close to naming GM, sources say

Seattle’s NHL expansion team is close to an agreement with Hockey Hall of Famer Ron Francis to become its first general manager, a person with direct knowledge tells The Associated Press.

Golden Knights re-sign defenseman Jake Bischoff

The 6-foot-1-inch, 194-pound blue liner appeared in 60 games for the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves last season and had 13 points (two goals, 11 assists).