NASHVILLE – The lights dimmed. Brent Burns stood at center ice. Above him, the Jumbotron of Bridgestone Arena showed a field of stars. Suddenly, John Williams’s iconic fanfare from “Star Wars” blared over the speakers.
What followed were a series of pictures, starting with Burns as a fresh-faced rookie and continuing through to his current state as the NHL’s shaggiest player.
When the lights came back up, Burns placed a Chewbacca mask on his head, and began to take his shootout attempt in Saturday night's NHL All-Star Game Skills Competition’s Breakaway Challenge, to the delight of … well, anyone with a pulse.
“The Chewie thing. I’ve been hearing the nickname for a couple of years now. Among other nicknames. But we thought to go with that one,” he said.
The Sharks created the video. The NHL assisted with the rest of the production. The whole thing came together on Friday night, less than 24 hours before his successful shootout attempt.
“I had no idea what to do in the breakaway. Panic mode,” he said.
Burns had the Chewbacca mask from an “ugly sweater” Christmas party from last year. “Got it online. Was only going to wear it once. Amazon. Pretty good website,” said Burns.
His attempt was a Wookiee sensation: Burns scored, raised his arms above his head – more Tusken Raider than Chewbacca, to be honest – and the crowd went wild.
As much as The Force was with this one, it may have been Burns’s second-best shootout attempt of the night.
After all, it’s hard to beat adorable children doing goal celebrations.
Burns and teammate Joe Pavelski skated out with their sons for a shootout attempt, while goalies Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo “fought” to leave the net open. Pavelski’s son dropped a pass to “Lil’ Burns,” who sent it into the net.
“It’s been a cool experience to have a teammate here. And our little guys play on the same team in San Jose. It’s just great little moments you can share with each other. Get them on the ice. Hear them talk about how loud the crowd is,” said Burns.
What he didn’t expect, however, was for his son to skate over to the camera and do a victory dance.
“No. That was scary. I told him 100 times: If you score, we’re going to get a nice little picture together, the four of us. Both kids went their opposite ways, shed the mitts. That was not a routine,” said Burns.
Alas, it wasn’t enough to overcome P.K. Subban’s hilarious Jaromir Jagr impression and puck-juggling exhibition, which won the fan vote in the Breakaway Challenge. Burns accepted the fact that as legendary as Chewbacca is, Jagr is Han Solo cool.
“That was some solid flow. He’s a legend. All the guys are huge fans of his. Just an incredible player,” said Burns.