SAN JOSE -- Brent Burns reminded everybody Friday why the Sharks moved him off the blue line and onto right wing last season.
Yes, it was only a training camp scrimmage, but Burns was going full speed start to finish, crashing the net, knocking bodies down and even scoring a goal. And coach Todd McLellan didn't mind, even though Burns was running over other Sharks.
"They have to get prepared to play the real game. We're going to play Monday, and I can guarantee you Vancouver won't slow down," McLellan said. "We may as well get the summer habits out of our game here."
Burns himself didn't characterize his play as anything special.
"It's early. Just getting the legs, trying to get some chemistry," he said. As far as going full throttle, "I think you have to, I guess."
The Sharks' turnaround last season started in mid-March when McLellan took defenseman Burns, who had been struggling through injuries, and moved him back to the forward spot he played in junior hockey. Burns soon was taking regular shifts alongside Joe Thornton, and finished with 20 points in his last 24 games.
Burns said he didn't mind playing either position but wanted to know where he was being slotted in advance so he could tailor his training. The decision to keep him up front, McLellan said, was not the no-brainer it might have appeared to outsiders.
"We all remember what we just watched, but Brent Burns went to the NHL All-Star game as a defenseman," McLellan said over the summer. "He has that ability back there."
Still, with depth on defense and Marty Havlat expected to be out for an extended period, Burns was told to prepare for this season as a forward.
Friday he played down the impact that had on his offseason training but acknowledged he did make a few changes in the routine.
"I don't think it's that different," Burns said. "It's just a different game, so you've got to concentrate on a little bit different things -- training for different battles, different ways of shooting, positioning."
In Friday's scrimmage, players in Group B -- including Stewart -- defeated those in Group A, 5-1. Stewart did not figure in the scoring but did have an attention-getting hit on defenseman Jason Demers.
Stewart, 28, was not on an NHL roster last season but has scored 27 goals and 71 points in 262 games with the Florida Panthers, Atlanta Thrashers and Carolina Hurricanes. His best season was 2010-11 when he scored 14 goals and 39 points with Atlanta.