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Captain's Practices Are Underway at Sharks Ice

by Alison High / San Jose Sharks
In this photo from Brent Burns Twitter feed, the Sharks defenseman shows off his Harry Potter tattoo, complete with Harry Potter flying on a broomstick, a blue dragon and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Hockey is back. Well, sort of.

Wednesday marked the first day of informal Captain’s Practices at Sharks Ice at San Jose and new defenseman Brent Burns, prospect forward Cam MacIntyre and goaltender Thomas Greiss were present.

As summer ends and more players return to San Jose, the amount of Sharks attending these practices will grow. But on Day One, the three Sharks players scrimmaged with 10 local skaters before switching over to drills. It was a light-hearted, 90-minute skate.

After exiting the ice, Burns strolled into the locker room with a huge grin on his face. He was going back-and-forth with one of the amateur skaters – a guy he had jokingly dropped the gloves with and pretended to fight during the scrimmage.

Burns moved from Minnesota to the Bay Area only five days prior, but he already seems comfortable in his new home.

“There’s a great attitude here,” said Burns about the city. “Everybody is happy it seems. It’s hard to explain. But you get a different energy when you come here.”

Burns himself has a very unique energy. Talk to the 26-year-old father of two for a couple minutes and you’ll realize he has a great sense of humor. When asked what he thought about his first day of Captain’s Practice, he replied, “I was just trying to figure out how to put my gear on today.”

Burns also has some unusual hobbies (he collects snakes and tattoos). His first question was, “Are there any good zoos around here?” Burns got really excited when he found out there were penguins at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

“What? Penguins?” said Burns. “It’s my life goal to get a penguin before I die.”

And all that happened before he started talking about his Harry Potter tattoo.

FILE - This Jan. 30, 2010, file photo shows Minnesota Wild defenseman Brent Burns skating against the San Jose Sharks during the first period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif. The Sharks have signed All-Star defenseman Brent Burns to a five-year contract extension.
Yes, Burns has a tattoo of Harry Potter, a large dragon and most of Hogwarts on his upper thigh. He’s a professed Harry Potter fanatic and a huge fan of dragons.

“I’m a huge Harry Potter guy,” Burns said as he showed off his tattoo.

Burns is clearly a character, the likes of which will probably flourish in the Sharks locker room alongside a musically-emancipated Dan Boyle and a personality-clad Joe Thornton.

But until those guys arrive for Captain’s Practices, Burns is spending most of his time working with Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Mike Potenza. According to Burns’ Twitter feed, Potenza is “1/2 Terminator 1/2 mutant ninja” and his workouts are like “ninja training.”

“I had a crazy workout with Mike this morning,” Burns said. “The only muscle I can move is my fingers.”

Potenza had heard about the tweet and considered it a compliment.

“I like it,” he said.

Potenza has been training Burns using plyometrics, reactions drills and injury-prevention exercises. The off-ice workouts take place prior to Captain’s Practice.

“We basically start off with a simple warm up,” said Potenza. “We use PVC tubes to get a brief massage and loosen up tight areas. We do a dynamic warm-up with movement that will stretch them and get their heart rate up and then we go into hip, groin and glute work. That’s true injury prevention stuff for those guys.

“Then we get into the plyometics - the jumping drills,” he continued. “It’s lateral, side-to-side stuff and multiple jumps. Then we go into speed drills where they sprint straight ahead, pulling a sled behind them. That is followed by a reaction drill, where when the ball drops you break into a sprint. You can initiate the sprint with technical efficiency as a reaction from the ball drop.

“We then go into some skating specific exercises where I want them to be strong in a low position,” said Potenza. “We put them in perfect posture so their body will be used to being in that lower position come training camp. That’s so they don’t get hurt but also gain some level of condition for their skating.”

It makes sense that Burns would be sore following that kind of a workout. It sounds like the type of thing a terminator mutant-ninja would do.

Captain’s Practice is open to the public and takes place Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Sharks Ice at San Jose. Schedule is subject to change.

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