Tales of Brent Burns: Cheetah assaults, ‘Mary Poppins’ bag, extra

RALEIGH, N.C. — There’s conformity amongst many NHL gamers. After which there’s Brent Burns.

Breaking apart the parade of monotone enterprise fits and well-groomed exteriors whereas coming into the world is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound defenseman sporting loud patterns, lugging a comically monumental camouflage backpack and sporting a chaotic scraggle of beard round a toothless hockey grin.

That is the Brent Burns you see. The Brent Burns you hear about is among the most unusual star athletes in all {of professional} sports activities, not to mention the NHL.

He is the “large child” in a 38-year-old physique. There’s the menagerie of animals he owns. There’s his hyperintelligence, studying information and abilities so shortly that it is like his mind was plugged into “The Matrix” and downloaded them. And naturally, there’s that mysterious bag.

We spoke with a number of individuals who have recognized Brent Burns within the NHL to listen to some tales of the Norris Trophy-winning defenseman who has helped the Carolina Hurricanes to the Japanese Convention finals in his first season with the membership.

Listed below are Hurricanes teammates Jaccob Slavin, Brady Skjei and Sebastian Aho; former San Jose Sharks teammates Logan Couture, Brenden Dillon and Colin White; former Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks teammate Dominic Moore; and Mike Potenza, director of efficiency for the Golden State Warriors and former director of power and conditioning of the Sharks (2006-2022), speaking all issues Brent Burns.

The primary time I met him

Burns debuted within the NHL in 2003-04, having been chosen twentieth total within the 2003 draft by the Minnesota Wild. He performed for the Wild till 2011, when he was traded to the San Jose Sharks. He performed 11 seasons for the Sharks, successful the Norris Trophy in 2017. In 2022, he was traded to the Hurricanes.

Moore: We have been in Minnesota collectively. Jacques Lemaire was the coach. We have been doing a battle drill, all beneath the aim line, and Burnzie simply principally beasted three forwards in a row. It was like watching a Jason Bourne film the place he takes out three guys with one fell swoop. All three guys have been nonetheless flat on the ice, and Lemaire simply chuckled. I knew instantly that this child was particular.

Couture: He is intimidating once you first see him. He is obtained all of the tattoos and he is simply large. I am unable to keep in mind if he had enamel or not again then. I do not assume he did. However then you definately talked to him and he was only a fun-loving, easygoing man, joking on a regular basis. He is sort of like a bigger than life character.

Slavin: The primary time I interacted with him after the commerce [to Carolina], I despatched him a textual content message asking him to return to one thing. He did not textual content again. He did not ship a voice memo. He took a video of himself explaining what the state of affairs was. He is exterior at his camper. Hat on, no enamel, in a camo cutoff shirt. Simply having fun with the Raleigh humidity. And in order that was my first interplay with him. I used to be like, “Oh, this man’s hilarious.”

Potenza: I remembered him from Minnesota as a result of he beat [the Sharks] up for 4 factors in a single sport. He wore No. 8. He had quick hair. He was large and he might skate. He was a pest in opposition to us. After which we get him and it is like, “Holy s—, that is nice!”

Dillon: I met him in 2014 after I was traded to San Jose. He did not have a beard but. He had performed the earlier season at ahead, however I ended up enjoying the remainder of that season with him on protection. I imply, you are a little bit intimidated. It is Brent Burns. It is an NHL All-Star. I needed to get previous the 6-foot-5 mammoth that had been working me the earlier two years at ahead. Burnzie is a type of bull-in-a-china-shop guys.

Couture: It is completely insane he made the transfer from ahead to protection so nicely. He performed each in San Jose. I performed a couple of video games with him as my proper wing and with Jumbo [Joe Thornton]. Then you definitely see him successful the Norris Trophy as a defenseman. I could not image myself going again there to try this.

Potenza: When he confirmed up in San Jose, I spotted he is obtained a ton of tattoos — and obtained much more throughout his time with the Sharks. I do not know if I used to be as shocked on the tattoos as a lot as I used to be the snake assortment.

The animals

Burns is known for having a group of pets, principally reptiles. It is a ardour for unique animals he has shared with teammates — for higher or worse.

Dillon: You’d hear all of these items. Like he is obtained a gorilla in his basement or an alligator in his storage.

Moore: In Minnesota, he had all of the pets. Fish tanks and snakes and every thing at his home.

Couture: After we first traded for him, there was all of the tales concerning the snakes. I feel there was a video on-line that I noticed about them. And I used to be like, “Holy s—.” As a result of I am afraid of snakes, so I am by no means going over to his place.

Potenza: He had a monitor lizard. Why would anybody have a monitor lizard? You are higher off having a pit bull with a toothache than you might be having a monitor lizard. Really, I’d take two pitbulls with toothaches, that have been additionally hungry, over a friggin’ monitor lizard.

Dillon: He invited me over for dinner after I was traded. I did not know if needed to be frightened. I am not the most important hen man. Would there be birds? I’ve by no means had, like, an iguana or something. I obtained over there and he had some smaller animals. I feel he truly needed to go away most of his animals in Minnesota as a result of his home there was fairly accustomed to carry all of them.

Couture: He informed us some wild tales about them. Two of the snakes escaped at his place in Minnesota. They have been misplaced in his home for whereas a sure period of time. I used to be like, “Oh my God, how do you sleep at night time? You have obtained two large snakes roaming round the home and two small youngsters at that time!”

Moore: I keep in mind he had gone to the zoo on an off day earlier than a sport in Columbus with some teammates and obtained clawed by a bobcat or one thing.

Couture: I feel it was a cheetah.

White: It was an off day. It was me and Burnzie and Jumbo Joe. Burnzie’s into all these animals, proper? He had a bunch of snakes and stuff then. I feel he has just about a zoo now in Texas. No matter metropolis we have been in, he would take us completely different locations the place there have been animals. Like in Detroit, he took us to a snake farm.

After which we went to the zoo in Columbus. I am not an actual animal man. I used to be terrified. He had all of it arrange the place we’d take an image with a cheetah. And that is when he obtained bit by one. Proper within the ribs. [Laughs]

Moore: I keep in mind pondering, “Oh my God.” Any common supervisor would cringe listening to that.

White: I used to be shocked. I used to be already nervous of this factor. They introduced it out and so they had treats and stuff, however then they informed us to get round it for an image. And this factor had its eyes on Burnzie the entire time. We obtained in shut. Burnzie obtained nearer to it and it reached over and grabbed him by the ribs. It did not get, like, a full chunk. However it left these two fang marks.

Jumbo was going loopy laughing. I used to be laughing. Burnzie did not care. He wasn’t mad. He was laughing. We went again inside and so they introduced out a bunch of various animals. Burnzie knew I used to be frightened of them and stuff. It was all humorous as heck.

Couture: The subsequent day we noticed them after the cheetah had clawed at them. I used to be like, “Jesus guys, that is wild.”

What’s within the bag?

Burns carries a big, camouflage backpack across the area and on highway journeys. Those that have regarded inside have been shocked by what they discovered.

Potenza: Did you ever see “Mary Poppins”? When Mary Poppins has that bag and she or he pulls out an enormous lamp? Brent Burns is like Mary Poppins.

Couture: The bag is full. There’s in all probability 20 kilos of stuff in there. Like, he is sweating carrying it. In New York, after we play the Rangers, it’s a must to stroll up this hill [from the buses] and he is obtained to hold that bag. And he is simply leakin’, as a result of he is obtained a lot additional weight on him.

Moore: He had the bag in Minnesota, however I feel there’s been an evolution with it together with how the sport has developed. There’s an increasing number of restoration and pregame issues that gamers do. So he is obtained issues in there that he must have earlier than or after the sport.

Potenza: He is obtained some important oils in there, whether or not it’s to assist him be relaxed and calm throughout sleep or if he is obtained soreness in his shoulder or what have you ever. Some muscle-rub sort issues.

Couture: In the previous few years [in San Jose], he and I sat subsequent to one another on the airplane. So I lastly actually obtained to see what’s contained in the bag. First, he is obtained a blender in there. He brings his personal espresso on the highway — Black Rifle Espresso Firm. Three or 4 baggage of it.

Skjei: I’ve gone over to his room for espresso, so I do know there is a espresso machine in there. All that stuff requires an enormous bag. There’s loads of transferring elements, however the espresso’s good and it really works for him.

Couture: He is obtained dietary supplements. He has these little issues that he rolls on [his body]. He is obtained all of his nutritional vitamins. He is obtained bottles of water he takes from the rink — if a workforce has Sensible Water or Fiji, he packs his bag full of those water bottles as a result of he thinks they’re nicer waters. I feel that is it. Oh, and a few knives. He had an axe one time, too.

Dillon: Let’s simply say a pair instances when he is gone via safety, he is needed to reply a pair questions.

Couture: One in all his passions is knives. He all the time will get his knives from Grizzly Forge. He simply loves the finishes on them. I imply, I am not a knife particular person, however they’re stunning knives. He makes use of one to take the tape off his stick between intervals. It is completely different.

Potenza: I’ve needed to go within the bag to get stuff out for him. Should you’ve seen the bag up shut, there are in all probability 30 pockets in that bag. He is requested me to seek out one thing. I might have to return to him three or 4 instances. “Like, what pocket is it in?” And he is like, “The entrance one with the double zipper, however not the again zipper.” And I am like, “I do not know what you you are speaking about.” Then I might go to select up the bag — and it weighs just about how a lot I weigh — and I lug it over to him and I am like, “You discover it.”

Slavin: It is a couple baggage now. He is obtained his suitcase. He is obtained his private bag. Then he is obtained his backpack. He is simply obtained loads of stuff. For a one-day highway journey, he is packing over 200 kilos of stuff I feel.

The beard

Although he was a baby-faced participant for the Minnesota Wild, Burns grew out a bushy beard whereas with the San Jose Sharks, matching the face foliage of teammate Joe Thornton.

Potenza: Burnzie obtained going with it and I feel he was like, “How lengthy can I’m going with this factor?” It sort of made him extra distinguished. Should you see him noticed him with out the beard, or only a small beard, it is like, “Man, you look tremendous younger.”

Dillon: The playoff beard-turned-lifestyle beard has undoubtedly performed a task in making him so recognizable. I keep in mind round 2017, him and Connor McDavid have been large Adidas guys. I keep in mind being on the sofa with Burnzie when [NBA star] James Harden tweeted at him:

I keep in mind Burnzie sort of being like, “James Harden, why do I do know that identify?” I used to be like, “Dude, he is one of many legends of the NBA proper now. You are one of many legends of the NHL proper now.” And he is like, “Do you assume I ought to ask for an autographed jersey or one thing?”

I feel typically once you discuss him being like an enormous child, I typically assume pretty much as good of a participant as he’s and assured in a participant as he’s, typically he possibly simply would not see himself in that means. Which is an enormous constructive, as a result of he continues to work laborious at his sport. However when you consider Brent Burns, I feel you would ask loads of People who possibly aren’t the most important hockey followers and he’d be one of the recognizable faces within the sport.

Moore: On a private be aware, he and his spouse considered shaving his beard with the proceeds going to my basis. Tremendous character man. And he does rather a lot for different causes as nicely.

White: He is an enormous navy man. He is an enormous supporter of them. He is obtained Burnzie’s Battalion, his basis that helps veterans.

Couture: He idolizes these guys, for positive. His brother was in particular forces. His grandfather was in World Battle II with the Canadian navy. It is within the household, and that is one thing that is crucial to him.

Potenza: He is an enormous household man. It is humorous: In San Jose, all the children appeared to be the identical age at one level. [Joe] Pavelski‘s youngsters and Burns’s youngsters and [Patrick] Marleau’s youngsters. I keep in mind blinking someday and I used to be like, “There’s like 10 boys working round this rink proper now throughout observe. Who’s watching these youngsters?” After which all of them obtained on the ice after observe.

He additionally loves being a dad and you may see that when he interacts with different youngsters. He might even see me and my youngsters on the rink and he would interact with them: “The way you doing? How’s your skating?”

White: He appears appear like “Duck Dynasty,” however he is a sensible man.

“Probably the most attention-grabbing man on the planet”

From having a 420-acre Texas ranch the place he raises free-range animals and hunts, to quite a lot of ever-changing off-ice pursuits, life is all the time fascinating for Burns and his teammates.

Dillon: He is just like the Dos Equis man. Probably the most attention-grabbing man on the planet. You’re keen on him as a teammate as a result of you may’t cease laughing with a number of the stuff he is aware of.

Skjei: It is random stuff that you don’t have any clue about. He is very, very mental. Enjoyable man to go to dinner with. He simply can discuss something.

Moore: I am unable to consider anybody else who has any of those sorts of passions or hobbies. If he has an thought, a inventive thought, he pursues it. Lots of people, they’ve quirky, humorous passions or concepts, however they do not have the boldness or the comply with via on it. I feel that speaks volumes about him generally.

Dillon: You’ll be able to discuss to him for principally 24 hours straight and hockey may not ever come up as soon as. You would possibly discuss animals or the climate or UFC or boxing or soccer. Actually something Burnzie does or is aware of, he is tremendous, tremendous educated about it.

Couture: Him and I’ve very comparable pursuits, whether or not it was wine or espresso or bourbon or meals, our books, podcasts. He is launched me to loads of authors that I learn now. He’d sit on a airplane and would simply discuss something for an hour. I’d sit again and be taught from him. He finds one thing he is inquisitive about and simply digs proper in.

Dillon: I keep in mind we had a paintballing occasion with the Sharks. All of us present up in denims and a sweater or one thing. He comes with a head-to-toe customized skilled paintball outfit. His gun is principally the machine gun of paintball. We’re simply all renting those from the place.

Moore: Unexpectedly, he obtained an curiosity in biking. He would exit and get all of the gear and a model new bike and he would go to the nth diploma with it — simply go fully all-in. However then he wasn’t like short-lived with these issues. He sticks with them and sort of continues these passions that he picks up alongside the best way. Only a brilliant, considerate man.

Couture: We went to Tahoe in the beginning of 1 yr and we have been going to go on a two-mile hike. Burnzie reveals up in full mountain climbing gear. He was head to toe in all this mountain climbing stuff. Like, he introduced strolling sticks. His backpack was full. Most likely 30 kilos of s— in there. He fell behind the fellows a lot as a result of he was simply dragging alongside a lot additional weight. It was truly fairly a hilarious day.

Potenza: He dives into researching or learning up on one thing particularly that he is enthusiastic about. He is dove into accumulating wine and accumulating particular whiskeys. He obtained into browsing a little bit bit early in his profession. He is all the time impressed me on how he is learn a lot. I feel that is how he turn into so well-rounded.

Dillon: He is obtained at the very least 10 to fifteen guitars. He is an unbelievable guitarist. I overlook how he realized how one can play, however loads of it’s self-taught. Some folks do not know that about him. They simply know him as Brent Burns from the ranch.

Couture: He would all the time discuss how nice elk meat is. I do know he cooks fairly a little bit of that. He is nice on the barbecue. That is one in every of his different passions is cooking meat. And he is excellent at it. He research it and talks to lots of people about how one can correctly prepare dinner it.

Aho: He has his meats, proper? I have been over for dinner a couple of instances. He is a reasonably nice prepare dinner.

Dillon: Grasp grill man. I imply, he had every thing. He had the Traeger [smoker] earlier than the Traeger was a factor. He had the [Big] Inexperienced Egg. He had all these completely different people who smoke. And he has all his recent meat from his ranch. So he is an enormous, large purple meat man, naturally. However being all natural, he is aware of the place it is from and all that. He grills pizza and brisket and steak. By no means had a nasty meal on the Burns home.

Couture: Should you ask 20 guys within the locker room, they will let you know they really feel like they’re one in every of Burnzie’s good mates simply because he is into a lot and so educated.

Enjoyable-loving man … to some extent

Whereas Burns is among the NHL’s nice characters, with regards to on-ice motion and maintaining himself in form, few evaluate to Brent Burns.

Aho: He is unreal. An incredible man. He simply brings his personal persona within the locker room and is a extremely, very easy man to get together with. However on the ice, you do not have to speak about that an excessive amount of. He is been doing this for, I do not know, loads of years.

Moore: I performed with him in Minnesota after which once more in San Jose about 4 years later. I did not see any distinction actually from a younger Burnzie to the extra veteran Burnzie. I feel that speaks to the identical sort of factor that [Carolina coach] Rod Brind’Amour has commented on: That he has a youthful presence and persona. I consider he is unchanged about who he’s. It is the juxtaposition between that adaptability when it comes to evolving as a participant over the course of a protracted profession to remain within the league, with the fact of being the identical particular person all through all of that.

White: He is a tremendous athlete. Anyone who’s performed with him, I imply, you see what he’s doing at 38 years previous and he is on one of many fittest groups within the league, particularly when your coach is “Rod the Bod.” So yeah, I imply, I learn an article the opposite day. He completed second within the [Hurricanes’] bodily testing in the beginning of the yr at 38. He is a machine.

Potenza: He did not love coaching, however he revered it and he is aware of how necessary it’s for the longevity and the efficiency of his profession. In order that’s the place we hit it off. We had some bumpy intervals with accidents for him, however we navigated via it and he is come out clearly as an incredible participant — though he’s a couple of years eliminated now from his Norris Trophy, he is simply nonetheless dominant.

Moore: He is not thick. He is simply robust. It is not the farmer’s power like we discuss with these guys out West. He is wiry. It is simply the best way he strikes, and his pure athleticism offers him his energy.

Potenza: He pushed himself. He all the time wished to search for issues that he might enhance, search for new methods. I feel once you’ve been within the league for that lengthy, you do want new stimulus. You do want new coaching or modes of train that may truly preserve you creating and adapting.

Moore: Should you keep in mind, he had gotten injured one season. Missed loads of time. Should you have a look at it, he is been barely harm since then. It is like a swap flipped the place he was like, “OK, I’ve obtained to maintain my physique and keep on the ice.” You be taught from issues.

Potenza: I am all the time impressed that he retains such detailed notes. There’s been a couple of athletes — and Pavelski was one other one — who preserve notes on all of the exercises they’ve carried out. Like, he has exercises that he did as a rookie in Minnesota in a binder, saved away. Efficiency teaching tradition has gone away from the paper coaching to extra digital apps to trace exercises. And Burnzie would not need to use the app as a result of he is obtained all these notes. He is a collector. Perhaps he’ll share it along with his son someday.

Dillon: That is the factor that is so spectacular about Burnzie, and what I actually took from him. He is 38 now, however he is nonetheless all the time asking questions. Like asking the forwards the place they need the shot to go. Or asking a teammate what their learn is on a play. For lots of these guys which have had as a lot success as him, it might be fairly simple to say, “I do know every thing.” And that is not the mentality in any respect.

Couture: He is aware of when to buckle it down and be critical, however he’s additionally all the time there for a superb time and he can preserve issues gentle. He is an incredible chief. He works so laborious. He picked a few of that up from Jumbo and Pavelski and Marleau, and guys like that. However that is additionally one factor that I am positive he is all the time had in him. His work ethic is unbelievable. That is why he’s nonetheless enjoying, and he’s nonetheless unbelievable.

Slavin: I feel he is the most important child on this locker room and simply loves the sport. He is simply one in every of a sort.

Supply hyperlink

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles