When San Jose defenseman Brent Burns faced his former club, the Minnesota Wild, back in November, he candidly explained what he hoped the future had in store for the team that traded him away.
“I want them to lose every game,” Burns said. “You think I want them to do well? I’ve been watching how they’ve been doing, hoping that they would lose every game. You have to be competitive to reach this level and I’m a pretty intense guy. And when a team doesn’t want you, you sure don’t want them to go 82-0.”
Tonight, Burns will once again face the Wild — but this time at the Xcel Energy Center, his first return to Minnesota since the trade. After practice today a reporter brought up Burns’ infamous comments, which added a little spice to the proceedings given Minnesota’s recent losing streak.
Burns faced the inevitable question on his statement before the first Sharks-Wild game, that he hoped Minnesota lost every game this season. But the question was well-couched.
“Looks like you’re getting your wish,” said the reporter, a reference to the fact Minnesota has lost 11 of its last 12 games.
Burns responded saying that earlier comment was a reflection of the competitiveness in every player, how no one would like to see their former team rise because then it looks as if they were the problem.
But he also noted that it was said “a little tongue in cheek,” before a gracious nod to his ex-teammates’ current plight.
“The league is so tight and every team goes through little swings,” Burns said. “We did at the start of the year, too.”
Just for the record, I’m not discounting the possibility that Burns cast a spell on the Wild. The man has a Harry Potter tattoo, for crying out loud.