If one graded Brent Burns on the January 14th win over the Pittsburg Penguins, he would get an A+. Burns went 0-fer the night, had 2 minutes of penalty time, worked 22 shifts for 23:13 minutes of playing time. But…..he beat Sidney Crosby on a face-off. That alone, is worth dropping the mic and strutting away.
Yet, that is not the task at hand.
By the numbers, Burns has had a very typical (for him) first half of the season. Six goals , 23 assists, and 34 penalty minutes. 20 to 25 minutes of playing time, and averaging around 25 shifts a night. Those stats alone are, to quote the philosopher Bubbles, “Freckin’ Decent.”
Two factors, however, move Burns up the grading scale beyond the “Decent” realm effecting his mid-season final grade for the good.
First, is his ability to score clutch goals when the Canes have needed them most.
Burns has 2 (the most for a Hurricanes defenseman) power play goals, netting him 5th place on the team. Nothing else needs said on this subject, and nothing else will be.
He also has the game winning, overtime goal against the Flyers in an early season statement win back on October 29th. Since then, the Carolina Hurricanes have gone into overtime more than any other NHL team except one, so the ability to score and score big in overtime is a bonus.
The Carolina Hurricanes did not just sign Brent Burns as another pretty face or to beat Sidney Crosby on a face-off for that matter. But, if they did…MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
So far this season, we have seen the real reason Burns was beckoned to Raleigh from his neck of the deep dark woods. His ability to put quality shots on goal.
His scoring threat must be respected by opposing teams, especially from the circles with a hard slap shot. Covering Burns is a top defensive line type job not to be undertaken lightly. By pulling defenses out, he is able to create not only scoring opportunities, but able to make better assisting passes for goals.
Brent Burns holds oppositions at bay with a deadly shot, and penpoint passing. His numbers are solid, and in some cases better than his average, so he brings home an A-