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What’s going on with Brent Burns?


Brent Burns’ season started about as well as he could’ve hoped, scoring eight points in eight games as the Sharks went 7-0-1.

Things haven’t gone so well since.

On Oct. 19, Burns took a puck to the mouth in a 6-3 win over Calgary. He sat out the following game with sore gums — which, as you can imagine, wasn’t cause for concern of a major long-term injury.

Problem is, Burns hasn’t played since.

Tuesday’s 5-4 shootout loss to Buffalo was Burns’ seventh straight game on the shelf. Reports out of San Jose regarding his condition have been vague and limited — he’s skated some, even took the ice in full pads once — but on Wednesday, he left the ice early (after skating in a non-contact jersey) and declined the media’s interview requests.

The Sharks have been tight-lipped about Burns’ health status, staying far away from any word that might rhyme with “boncussion.”

For example, here’s the “update” head coach Todd McLellan gave CSN Bay Area on Monday:

“Getting closer, from what I’ve been told,” Todd McLellan said on Monday. “He’s welcome back any time, obviously. We’d love to have him back with our team. From my understanding, he’s getting closer.”

Could Burns return to practice this week?

”I don’t have that. He and the trainers and the doctors know when that will happen,” McLellan said.

CSN’s Kevin Kurz says San Jose’s been “vague” with specifics on Burns, but it’s clear the team isn’t the same without him. The Sharks are just 3-1-3 without Burns in the lineup, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to those that paid attention to the team last year.

Many cite Burns’ move to forward as a major catalyst for turning around its ’13 campaign. At one point, Burns had 26 points in 30 games after moving up from defense, and San Jose went 20-9-1 over that same stretch.

His skating ability and forechecking prowess gave the Sharks a dramatically different look up front, which allowed them to spread their offensive talent throughout their top three forward lines.

So, there’s no doubt San Jose wants Burns back in the lineup.

The question now is, when will it happen?

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.

Fabbri primed to make Blues in significant role

Jason Demers, Robby Fabbri
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With the start of the regular season just around the corner, it looks like Robby Fabbri will not only make his NHL debut on Thursday, but also get meaningful minutes.

During Sunday’s practice the 19-year-old forward played alongside Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz. Nothing is set in stone, but that combination did gel.

“I think we want to look at what the combinations look like now rather than do it at the start of the season,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re looking at a hard match line and we’re also looking at taking advantage of speed and skill off the rush.

“I really liked what I saw today. I really liked Lehtera’s line, they looked very dynamic off the rush.”

The top line of Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, and Vladimir Tarasenko seems like a good bet to play together for the time being. Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz will stick together on the second line while Dmitrij Jaskin and David Backes can expect to be regular partners on the third unit. The X-factors will be Fabbri and Troy Brouwer as Hitchcock has left the door open to alternating between the two of them on the second and third line depending on the opponent.

Fabbri was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and is looking to make the leap after a brief stint in the AHL last season. At the OHL level, he’s been a dominate force with the Guelph Storm, scoring 25 goals and 51 points in 30 games in 2014-15.