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Continued: Burns returns to Minnesota with Sharks, all grown up

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 8, 2013 - 8:46 AM

After all, Burns is an imposing figure who is hard for defensemen to contain. He’s got a great shot and intimidating skill.

“He’s been dynamic,” Wilson said. “He’s the type of player you knew was going to have a big impact on our team, but we had a need last year in the forward position because we wanted to reset how we played. “Burnzie, with his history, really fit perfect with Jumbo [Joe Thornton] and how we wanted to play.”

Playing on a line with Thornton and rookie sensation Tomas Hertl, Burns has eight goals and 15 points in 16 games this season. He missed 13 games with the after-effects of being high-sticked by Ottawa Senators goalie Robin Lehner on Oct. 12.

Burns still believes “I can be a top D-man in this league, but I love playing both. I’m having fun with it. I just love to play.”

Wilson won’t commit that Burns’ transition to stud power forward is a permanent move. Remember, Dustin Byfuglien went from defenseman to Cup-winning impact forward with Chicago back to defenseman with Atlanta and Winnipeg.

“But he’s willing to do anything to help the team, which tells you a lot about Burnzie,” Wilson said. “Who knows where he’ll be in future years, but right now he fits perfectly with what we needed up front.

“Burnzie’s just a very real, unique person. He’s very curious about life, very smart and a joy to be around. He looks at the world a little differently than others, and we kind of like that.”

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