By Jim Diamond
There’s no question that the darling of the 2016 All-Star weekend has been Arizona Coyotes Montreal Canadiens St. John’s IceCaps Pacific Division captain John Scott. But San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns has made a strong charge for taking over second place in that category.
Burns showed up in Nashville a day early to tour the city with his family and soak up the atmosphere of the weekend. But in Saturday night’s Skills Competition, Burns put one of those family members to work during the Breakaway Challenge.
Four and a half year-old Jagger Burns came out of the tunnel leading from the locker room to the ice wearing a white Sharks jersey with number 88 and a Lil Burns nameplate on the back. Joe Pavelski’s son Nate accompanied young Burns onto the ice.
Burns gave the puck to Nate and the lads headed toward the net, which was briefly occupied by goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Corey Schneider. The former Vancouver teammates fake fought over who was going to face the shot before stepping aside and letting the young Burns put away his attempt following a drop pass from the young Pavelski.
“We practiced a little bit this morning,” Burns said. “We came out for the pregame skate. He and Nate worked on the drop pass. You get two kids under five, you never really know what’s going to happen, so it’s good to see it go off.”
The plan for the goal’s aftermath was for the two Burns men to pose for a picture together, but Jagger had a different idea and dropped his gloves and began dancing in the corner in front of a television camera.
Moves like Jagger? Indeed.
“That wasn’t part of the routine,” Burns said with a laugh.
Jagger stayed around after his goal, mostly skating around and hanging out with Scott. Burns and Scott have been teammates with both Minnesota and San Jose and remain great friends.
“I was teammates with him back in Minny before we all had monsters running around,” Burns said. “They are getting to know each other really well in the hotel room and we’ve been together a lot.”
Burns finished a close second to Montreal’s P.K. Subban in the Breakout Challenge voting, which was done via Twitter by the fans.
Subban won the fans over with a tribute to Florida’s Jaromir Jagr. Subban donned a mullet wig underneath a white throwback Jofa helmet along with a Jagr Panthers jersey and black referee pants.