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Brent Burns is an unstoppable force right now

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The San Jose Sharks snapped their four-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon with a thoroughly convincing 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.

Highlighting that win was another dominant performance from Brent Burns as he continues to put together one of the finest seasons we have seen from a defenseman in years. Maybe ever.

Let’s talk about that season a little bit, because he should not only be the No. 1 front-runner for the Norris Trophy, he is also playing his way into MVP consideration and the race for the Art Ross Trophy.

With his two goals on Sunday Burns is now up to 24 on the season, which gives him an 11-goal lead over Shea Weber (13), who is currently the second-leading goal scorer among the NHL’s defensemen. That current total has him on a pace for 34 goals this season. Keep in mind that no defenseman has scored 34 goals in a season since Kevin Hatcher did it during the 1992-93 season.

The only other defenseman to score even 30 goals in a season since then is Mike Green (31 in 68 games during the 2009-10 season).

But the goal total is only the tip of the iceberg for Burns’ offensive dominance this season.

  • With 59 total points he is not only 14 points ahead of Erik Karlsson, the No. 2 point producing defenseman in the league, he is only two points behind Connor McDavid in the overall scoring race. Bobby Orr is the only defenseman to have ever led the league in scoring in a single season
  • After recording nine shots on goal on Sunday, he is up to 228 shots on goal for the season, giving him the league lead. He has 16 more shots at the moment than Alex Ovechkin, the player that has led the league in shots in 10 of the 11 seasons he has played in the league. Since the start of the 1967-68 season, when shots on goal were officially tracked, the only two defensemen to ever lead the league have been Orr and Ray Bourque. Bourque did it three times, most recently during the lockout shortened 1994-95 season.
  • He is currently on pace for more than 30 goals and 80 points this season, something no defenseman has done since Paul Coffey in 1988-89. Along with Coffey, the only others to do it are Orr, Bourque, Denis Potvin and Doug Wilson.

After Sunday the Sharks hold a five-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division.

Bergeron may need surgery for sports hernia

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Patrice Bergeron says he may need offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia that he dealt with all year.

Bergeron missed the Bruins’ first three games of the 82-game schedule with a lower-body injury; however, he managed to play the next 79, plus six more in the playoffs as Boston fell to Ottawa in the first round.

Typically, a sports hernia is first treated with rest and physical therapy. Then, if that doesn’t solve the problem, surgery may be required.

It was a frustrating start to the season for the 31-year-old center. Bergeron had just 24 points in 49 games before the All-Star break, but he finished with a respectable 53 points in 79 games, including 21 goals.

Bergeron could win his fourth Selke Trophy in June. He’s a finalist for the award, along with Ryan Kesler and Mikko Koivu.

In other Bruins injury news, Brandon Carlo had a concussion and Torey Krug an MCL injury. Neither d-man was able to suit up for the B’s in the postseason, though Krug was close to returning.

Defenseman Adam McQuaid, hurt in Game 2 against the Sens, had a neck injury.

No Patrick Kane for U.S. at Worlds

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Tough day for USA Hockey.

After learning that prized Toronto rookie Auston Matthews was skipping the World Hockey Championships, the organization was informed Chicago star Patrick Kane would also be passing on the event.

Kane hasn’t often been able to participate in the Worlds, given he and the Blackhawks have advanced past the first playoff round in five of the last nine years. In fact, the last time Kane played at the Worlds was in 2008, when Chicago missed the playoffs entirely.

(Kane had 10 points in seven games for the Americans that year, en route to a sixth-place finish.)

Matthews cited fatigue as one of the main reasons he passed on this year’s tourney, and it’s safe to assume Kane did the same. He appeared in all 82 games for the ‘Hawks this year, four more in the playoffs, and also represented the U.S. at the World Cup of Hockey.

USA Hockey did manage to secure the services of two important players last week, however. Both Calgary sniper Johnny Gaudreau and Buffalo sophomore Jack Eichel agreed to come aboard.

Gaborik has procedure for ‘chronic’ knee issue, questionable for camp

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Yesterday, new Kings GM Rob Blake told reporters the club wouldn’t be buying out Marian Gaborik’s contract, because the veteran winger had undergone a medical procedure.

Today, the club shed more light on the situation.

L.A. announced that Gaborik recently underwent an “in-depth medical procedure for a chronic issue related to his left knee,” adding the 35-year-old would be questionable for the start of training camp.

Gaborik’s had left knee problems dating back to 2013, when he was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He missed nearly 20 games during the ’13-14 campaign, then had more knee troubles at the tail end of ’15-16 (with the Kings).

Since injured players can’t be bought out of their contracts, Gaborik could very well open the year on LTIR, providing the Kings with some much-needed cap space.

And though Blake said next season would “be a clean slate for Marian to come in and prove himself,” there has to be some question if he’ll return.

Gaborik struggled through this season, scoring just 10 goals in 56 games while missing extensive time with a foot injury suffered at the World Cup. Health issues have dogged him throughout his 17-year career, and he’s only dressed in 110 of 164 games over the last two seasons.

Because of this, his contract has become an albatross. Signed by ex-GM Dean Lombardi, Gaborik’s seven-year, $34.125 million deal still has four years remaining, at a $4.875M cap hit. Gaborik would be 39 by the time the deal expires on July 1, 2021.

In other L.A. injury news, three players also underwent medical procedures recently. Tyler Toffoli and Derek Forbort had knee surgery, while Alec Martinez had “a minor medical procedure for a chronic issue related to his groin.” All three are expected to be ready for camp, however.

Blackhawks’ Anisimov suffered high-ankle sprain in mid-March

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Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov was not himself in the playoffs, and by the fourth game against the Predators his ice time was limited to just 14:18.

It turns out he had a pretty good excuse. Anisimov suffered a high-ankle sprain on March 14 against the Montreal Canadiens, and that’s a tough injury to overcome in less than a month.

Anisimov missed the rest of the regular season with the injury. He returned for the playoffs but failed to register a single point in four losses to Nashville.

“Being away for that time period and coming right back into the playoffs, obviously you’re not as sharp as you want to be,” Anisimov’s agent told the Daily Herald’s John Dietz.