Sunday, November 15, 2009
What Has Happened to Brent Burns?
What is going on with Brent Burns? Not that long ago he was considered to be among the better young defensemen in the game, mentioned in the same breath with Dion Phaneuf, Jay Bouwmeester and Mike Green. Two years ago he had an All-Star caliber season and was thought to be on the brink of greatness.
Last season he faltered a bit. Between being moved to forward and suffering a concussion, his 2008-09 season was hopefully a mirage. Under the wisdom of an up-tempo coach and system, he's surely take off this year, right?
But alas, his game has limped along. As of this morning he has played in all 19 games, amassing 2 goals and 7 assists and also sporting a team-worst -14 plus/minus. He was once thought to be a near lock for the deep Canadian Olympic team, but I'm sure that won't happen now.
The big question is why. Why has his play fallen? I offer these possible answers:
1. He isn't surrounded by much talent. He's a good player on a bad team.
2. He simply isn't that good. I'm not buying this one, but it's been suggested.
3. His houseful of zoo animals is wearing him down. Come on, it's possible. Do you know how much time it takes to clean up after an alligator?
4. He's a young defenseman. This position takes time to grasp.
I think the answer lies in a combination of the above reasons. Hopefully it's more #4 than #2, but we're sure to find out more as the season progresses.