SAN JOSE- For those of you who don’t know, first year Sharks right wing Adam Burish has the reputation for being a great interview. Sunday morning I got a chance to sit down with him and pick his brain on a number of topics. Needless to say, he didn’t disappoint. The following is the Q & A from our discussion.
Q: Last night you were on the ice for the monster hit by Brad Stuart and you came to his defense as Avalanche defenseman Ryan O’Byrne came flying in for revenge. Can you describe the scene on the ice from your perspective?
A: “I didn’t actually see the hit. I just knew it was a big hit, you can hear it. Then I was just kind of looking to see if anybody was coming [for retribution] and [O'Byrne] started coming and my initial thought was that I didn’t want to let him get near [Stuart]. If Stuart was going to try and stay away, I was going to try and grab him and fight him but all of a sudden, the next thing, as he got kind of closer, I didn’t know where Stuart was behind me and Stuart just came flying in and was ready to go. I’ve been in that situation a lot before and sometimes I’ve jumped in and grabbed a guy and coaches haven’t been too happy with it, you deal with suspensions and fines and all that garbage and then you take away the power-play that your team is about to get. [Anyways] once I knew Stuart was okay and he wanted to handle it [I backed off]. It was a turning point hit and as a result we ended up on the power-play.”
Q: O’Byrne got the extra penalty for instigating with a visor, you also wear a visor, were you aware of the new rule?
A: “I’m aware of it. Does it change anything if something like that happens? [I don't know], you don’t want to be down four minutes there in a penalty situation but also your best player just got his head taken off, he’s going to leave the ice. You can’t allow teams to take liberties with your best players and you know could he have maybe done it while popping his helmet off? There’s a million things you could say he could have done, but it’s fast, it happens quick. I think the bottom line on every team, and on our team as well, is that you can’t take liberties with our best players and we’re going to stick together on that and protect those guys. Does that mean you may take a penalty sometimes? I mean yeah, maybe. You know hopefully it’s not one that’s going to cost your team a game. You got to be careful and walk the line. Personally, I’ve played long enough and been around long enough to understand what that line is and do you cross it sometimes? Yeah, maybe, but you try to do it without hurting your team.”
Q: Can you talk about playing with fellow newcomer and two time All-Star Scott Gomez last night?
A: “It was fun. The first period I was trying to kind of create some space and just get to the net for him and finally one time he kind of looked over to me and said ‘just get open, just get open’ and last period and a half I think I had five shots. I just started getting open for him and finding little creases and little seams. I told him I’ll create a lot of space for you and he goes ‘then just pop open quick’ and so I started doing that and I got all kinds of scoring chances. After the game some of the guys were making fun of me saying ‘ice your arms down, you’ve never had so many shots in a period and a half.’ But [overall] it was good, he’s a play-maker, you know, and it took me about a period to figure out just get my stick open. I don’t need to be open but just get by stick somewhere and he’ll find it. And so then as the game went on we were kind of smiling and having some fun with that. He’s a gamer, he knows how to play the game.”
Q: I know you have played with some really deep blue-lines in your career, can you just talk about how strong and deep this Sharks blue-line is?
A: “Yeah it’s been good. I’ve played against these guys for a long time and you always feel like your chasing them. You know you got Dan Boyle who I was joking with him after the game that I’ve chased this jerk around for the last six years now and I still haven’t caught him once so I know what these other teams are feeling. Just top to bottom, it’s deep. A big credit really is to the staff, everybody is prepared so well, everyone knows how to play, everyone knows what to do with the puck. The power-play, I mean it’s a machine. It’s sickening how good they are and it’s just the preparation, everyone’s on the same page, everybody knows what to do. You could put any one of those defensemen in any situation and they’re all going to be great because they all know exactly what to do in every situation. They’re poised, I think that’s the word I can use to describe them, they are all just real poised. You don’t have just one d-man that’s just out of place, they can all play. You would think a Doug Murray who is just a big checking strong guy [but] he makes plays, he knows where to put the puck, he’s got a touch, he puts pucks in smart areas in the offensive zone and the defensive zone. They’re all intelligent, poised defenseman and it makes it easy on us [forwards] coming out of our own zone not playing defense a whole lot.
Q: Similar to how your grinding role doesn’t get too much attention, can you talk about Thomas Greiss? Backup goaltender is a difficult job and he’s played tremendously well for this team.
A: “I think for those guys it’s mentally I think is the hardest part for them and they don’t get enough credit because they just get thrown into these games sporadically and to do that you got to be real strong mentally. It’s no different for a player, if you don’t play for awhile and all of a sudden you get thrown in it’s probably expected that you’re going to be a step behind, and it’s going to take a few you a few shifts or a goal [but] you don’t have a few shifts to get ready you better stop that first puck or guys are going to be pissed at you. He [Greiss] has been sharp, he’s sharp in practice, he stays out and takes a lot of shots after practice. I’ve seen he’s out there early, so he puts the work in and I guess it showed yesterday. He was prepared, he was calm, you know he’s got a real calm demeanor.”
Q: Canucks tonight, thoughts on the Vancouver Canucks tonight as a measuring stick for you guys? They are always one of the top teams.
A: “You can look at this as a big game, you know they’re one of the first teams [of elite caliber] that we’ve faced. I don’t think it’s any secrete that most teams don’t like the Canucks. I haven’t played against them as a Shark yet but every team I’ve been on there’s been a hatred, there’s been some nastiness, it’s the same here. I’ve already heard guys talking about it, it’s a team that you don’t like, that you love to beat. You can expect a physical, intense, kind of nasty game and two teams that have real good power plays, so you got to be disciplined against these guys. Again it’s walking that line, you want to be physical and be nasty but I’m sure neither team is going to want to put the other team on the power-play because both power-plays are so dangerous.”