Pat Burns: 1952-2010
The world of hockey mourned the loss of one of their great ambassador this weekend when Pat Burns passed away after a long fight with cancer.
Pat Burns was a man of heart and passion. While his impressive stature was intimidating, those who got to know him a little more found a respectful and fair man. Burns also had a tasteful sense of humor outside the rink.
The color in Burns comments during press conferences will also be remembered for a long time among some members of the press who had the pleasure -or in some cases displeasure- of working with him.
I was lucky enough to have personally met Pat Burns once when I have been picked in a contest to skate along with some players and coaches. I remember that this afternoon, Pat was in a good mood as he signed autographs and joined us for a group photo. He was very nice with us and even gave some tips to a couple of them during the practice. A true professionnal.
Pat Burns had an illustrious NHL coaching career with the Montreal Canadiens, the Boston Bruins, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New Jersey Devils.
When hired in 1989 by the Canadiens, his mandate was to bring back the team to a competitive level. He did just that as the Canadiens went to the Stanley Cup final that very same year!
His 1993 playoff run with the Toronto Maple Leafs is also very fresh to my memory. The Leafs eliminated the Detroit Red Wings in classic fashion during game seven of the first round of the playoffs. The Leafs went on to the Western conference final that year.
Burns won the Stanley Cup in 2003 with the New Jersey Devils. A deserved championship for him. Burns was named coach of the year three times with three different clubs during his career. An accomplishment that was never done by any other NHL coach in history.
Unfortunatly, the NHL Hall of Fame didn't open it's doors to Burns while he was still alive. I do not understand the reasons of this decision and I am a little upset with the NHL for this.
I think that Burns deserves proper recognition from the league and I think that Pat Burns has what it takes to be in the HHOF.
My sincere wishes goes to the family. Rest in peace Pat.
(Picture: Pat Burns.)