Today, I was saddened to learn that my all-time favourite coach, Pat Burns has died.
Burns was fighting his third bout of cancer when he passed away. He successfully fought colon cancer in 2003-2004, and liver cancer in 2005. In spring of 2008, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He didn’t want to undergo any more chemotherapy, so he was looking at other ways to fight it.
Burns, who should be in the hall of fame except for the fact the hall of fame committee screwed it up this season, was one of the greatest coaches ever, and I can say that with any type of hyperbole. Where ever he went, he immediately made that team a contender.
Burns has won the Jack Adams trophy for top NHL coach with three different teams, which is a record. It also shows how effective a coach he is. He’s only won a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils, and coached the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He became coach of the Montreal Canadiens in 1989, and the team went to the finals that season. When he took over the Toronto, the Maple Leafs became respectable across the league, making the final four two years in a row. In 1997-98, he won the Jack Adams award in his first year with the Bruins. And when he became coach of the New Jersey Devils in the 2002-03 season, the team won the Stanley Cup.
Burns is 14th all-time in regular season wins, and eighth all-time in playoff victories.