By Michael Russo
Not a meaty blog today, but I figured I’d hop on and give a little update.
As you can read in today’s story, Brent Burns is starting to feel a lot better. He’s been pretty much symptom-free with his concussion for a month and is confident he’ll be ready for the season after offseason shoulder surgery.
FYI, I screwed up in the article. I know it’s Camp Ripley. I wrote Camp Ridley. No idea why, but I did, so apologies. As we say in the newspaper business, “We regret the error.” My fault.
As for Burns, the Wild could sure use a healthy Burns this season. If it’s going to revamp its system to a more up-tempo style, an active Burns will be integral. It was a tough year for him with elbow surgery, shoulder problems starting in November and the concussion. With the shoulder, he pretty much had no strength in that arm, so he couldn’t poke check or fend off guys.
But he is feeling better and has a ton of off-ice stuff going on.
Speaking of Camp Ripley, if you knew Burns, you’d know he had a ball. He’s enamored by the military, probably because of his grandfather. Here’s a passage from that massive Burns story I wrote for Sept. 16, 2007 (seems like yesterday I did these interviews and was the first to report about the Burnzie Zoo):
One of the most influential people in Burns’ life was his grandfather Patrick, who lived with the family for 23 years.
“It was a package deal,” Burns’ mom said, chuckling. “I got the husband and the father-in-law.”
Patrick, who died in 1998, was an artilleryman in World War II and used to baby-sit Kori and Brad when Brent had to be taken to his many hockey practices and games. But a wide-eyed Burns couldn’t wait to get home, where he’d plead for more stories from Grandpa.
“Granddad had his chair, a real soft, cushy chair, and he used to sit there and tell the boys war stories all the time,” Gaby said. “In Grade 8, Brent wrote a war story his grandfather told him. The teacher was so moved by it, she phoned and invited Granddad to school to honor him at a Remembrance Day service. The teacher read Brent’s story. It was Granddad’s last Remembrance Day.
“For a kid his age to move a teacher like that, I was really impressed, and I know it meant a lot to Granddad.”
To honor their grandfather, Brent and Brad got identical tattoos on their left arms. It features a cross with a Canadian military helmet on top and the zodiac sign for Pisces in the middle. In the background is a Bofor artillery gun over the hills of Sicily. Underneath reads, “Patrick Joseph Burns, 1911-1998.”
“You don’t think too many kids would have a relationship that strong with their grandfather that they’d want to honor him in a permanent way,” Gaby said.
Back live here at Chatteau de Russo, Burns actually plans to give back to the military next season, and those plans are in the works. More detail on that later.
I wound up at the same event with Derek Boogaard and his brother, Aaron, on Friday and Boogey’s looking good from offseason shoulder surgery. Here’s the most amazing thing. His brother Aaron was the one in the sling. Coincidentally, they both had the same injury (Aaron’s a little worse) and the Pittsburgh Penguins farmhand had surgery the other day. And apparently their dad has a bum shoulder as well.
Derek was also wearing shades at night due to LASIK the day before. I was supposed to have LASIK last summer, but I had to cancel due to a Wild story I had to write. I then wimped out and never called back. Maybe I should. Hmmm.
Here’s something funny, but out of respect, I told Boogaard, “FYI, I wrote in tomorrow’s paper you might be traded.”
Boogaard then called over his fiancee, Erin, and said, “Tell her what you just told me.”
I was like, “Uhhhh … I don’t want to.” I was more scared of telling Erin than Boogey.
I do think there’s a chance Boogaard is shopped at the Draft or this summer. He’s in the last year of his deal and can become an unrestricted free agent, so that usually makes you trade bait (well, under most regimes, just not the previous one)
Obvious teams that may be interested in Boogaard include Toronto (Brian Burke, folks, is a tough-guy fan as you know) and Philly. Maybe Edmonton, too, in the “If you can beat him, have him join us” department.
Lastly, Wednesday at 11 a.m., I’ll be in studio at KFAN chatting with Paul Allen.
OK, that’s it for now.