Brent Burns better as forward or D-man, clean-cut or mountain man?

Ken Campbell
Brent Burns (Photo courtesy San Jose Sharks)

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns never gave much thought to how cutting off all his hair might affect his game. In case you haven’t been keeping track, Burns is back on the blueline for the Sharks this season and is among the leaders in scoring by rearguards.

Earlier this week, he also came down from his refuge high in the mountains and had his head shaved and all his facial hair removed in the name of charity. Along with teammates Joe Pavelski, James Sheppard, Mirco Mueller and Chris Tierney, Burns raised more than $15,000 for Defend the Blueline, the Katie Moore Foundation and the San Francisco Zoo. But hockey players can be a rather superstitious lot and there must be some concern that Burns was messing with his mojo, right? Read more

Rumor Roundup: Jumbo Joe says he won’t go, Ducks searching for backup

San Jose Sharks' Joe Thornton

Former San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton has no intention of waiving his no-movement clause anytime soon. Despite an off-season in which Thornton was stripped of the captaincy and mentioned in trade rumors, he told the Toronto Sun’s Mike Zeisberger he considers the Sharks a very good team capable of doing something.

During the summer, there was speculation claiming Sharks management might try to pressure the 35-year-old into accepting a trade. The rumors carried over into this season, as Zeisberger cited a recent report linking Thornton with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Could Pittsburgh’s Paul Martin get Chris Stewart out of Buffalo?

Chris Stewart

This season could be the last for defenseman Paul Martin as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 33-year-old blueliner will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in July, leading some observers to suggest he might not finish the season with the Penguins.

The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson notes Martin lost his power-play spot to youngster Olli Maatta, and wondered if the Penguins will bother to re-sign him or deal him before his UFA eligibility. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun also took note of Martin’s reduced role. He speculates the blueliner will be gone before the deadline, but not before Maatta returns from his upcoming surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from his neck. Read more

Gatineau’s Alexandre Carrier is making moves on The Hot List

Alexandre Carrier (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

The big prospect news of the week came with Buffalo sending Sam Reinhart back to junior after a nine-game tryout and one assist. I’m totally on board with this move. Reinhart now gets a chance to do some serious damage at the world juniors for Canada and pull the Western League’s Kootenay Ice out of an early season funk. He’ll get his NHL shot again next year and perhaps one day, the players listed below will, too.

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NHL suspends Sharks’ John Scott two games for leaving bench

Adam Proteau
John Scott (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

As expected, the NHL handed out its first suspension of the season for a regular-season on-ice incident Monday, hitting San Jose Sharks winger John Scott with a two-game ban for leaving the bench to start a fight with Ducks winger Tim Jackman Sunday.

As the NHL department of player safety made clear in a now standard video explanation it hands out after each suspension, Scott left the bench on a legal line change, but made no effort to play the puck and instead instigated a fight with Jackman. Scott himself admitted he had no intent to join the play and was strictly interested in throwing fists: Read more

Like it or not, Sharks/Ducks-type brawling an increasing rarity in today’s NHL

Adam Proteau
Ducks and Sharks players brawl. (Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Sharks and host Ducks engaged in a nasty little bit of NHL business late Sunday night when the two teams combined for 165 penalty minutes, nine fighting majors and eight misconducts in San Jose’s 4-1 win over Anaheim. Included in the mess were multiple ejections to players from both teams (including Ducks star Corey Perry and Sharks blueliner Justin Braun) a third period brawl and the second fight of the game between Anaheim’s Tim Jackman and San Jose’s John Scott, who left the bench in direct violation of Rule 70.2 to get into it with Jackman late in the third period.

(Some will say Scott was on a line change, but Rule 70.2 stipulates even legal line changes that lead to the instigation of a fight can be subject to supplemental discipline, and there’s no doubt that’s what Scott did.)

The win snapped both the Ducks’ seven-game win streak and the Sharks’ four-game losing skid. But the game also was significant in that it was arguably the first game of the regular season in which the NHL has sufficient evidence by which to suspend a player for his on-ice actions. Things can change in a single game, obviously, but when many teams have played ten percent of their season without some episode of superfluous chest beating occurring, there might just be evidence of an actual culture change beginning to take root among players and within league management circles.

The evidence of the different times in which the NHL now operates is all around us: over here, Sabres coach Ted Nolan, no dainty peacenik in his playing career, correctly notes the pointlessness of a staged fight; over there, former Canucks, Oilers and Rangers head coach and new Hockey Canada president Tom Renney is taking a bold stance against fighting (“(H)ockey is not the WWE. And this sport must teach many things to young people about character, integrity, teamwork, not fighting.”); Read more