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Sharks' Burns OK with playing defense again

by NHL.com Staff / NHL.com

The San Jose Sharks have decided to move Brent Burns back to defense after playing forward last season, and Burns said Saturday he's fine with it.

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"I feel confident I could get 30 goals playing forward, but I also love the challenge of playing D and playing more than 20 minutes a game," Burns told the Sharks website. "I love that challenge. I love being on the ice more. I think you control the game more as a defenseman than you do as a forward. It's hard. Obviously I like both and you have fun playing as a forward too."

As a forward last season, Burns had 22 goals and 26 assists in 69 games. He played in the 2011 All-Star Game as a defenseman representing the Minnesota Wild; he had 17 goals and 29 assists in 80 games that season.

The 29-year-old was paired with veteran Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan on Saturday.

"It will take him a little bit just to get comfortable there again," Sharks coach Todd McLellan told the San Jose Mercury News. "But, when I say a little bit, we're not talking about Christmas. By the time we've done the exhibition season, he'll be an all-star defenseman again."

Sharks forward Patrick Marleau said Friday he could see Burns return up front at some point this season.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they moved him back to forward," Marleau told CSN Bay Area. "He can play any position. That says a lot about him, but I think that's a great tool for this organization to use, wherever they need to fill a hole."

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