Brent Burns’ Civil War reenactor beard, multiple tattoos and free-spirited personality sometimes makes his NHL dominance hard to recognize.
He’s such an engaging character, overflowing with impishness and charisma, that it has been easy to overlook that he has become one of the top difference-makers. But that has changed this season because Burns, 32, is having one of the best seasons by a defenseman in NHL history.
With just under a month to go in the regular season, Burns is the favorite to win both the Hart Trophy as the league’s Most Valuable Player and the Norris Trophy as its top defenseman.
If Burns accomplishes that rare double, he would be the first defenseman to win both since Chris Pronger did it in 2000. Before then, incomparable Bobby Orr was the last to do it. He won the Hart three seasons in a row from 1970-72.
► Burns has been the league’s most impressive player, scoring 27 goals with 43 assists in 69 games. He is six points away from the scoring lead and has been the best player on a contending San Jose Sharks team.
► The Sharks are a 13th in scoring…