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Pat Burns dead at 58


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Sorry to hear former Habs coach Pat Burns passed away. RIP

 

 

Pat Burns Dies at 58; Won Stanley Cup With Devils

By FRANK LITSKY and BRUCE WEBER

Pat Burns, a tough-minded, tight-lipped coach of four National Hockey League teams who led the New Jersey Devils to a Stanley Cup title in 2003, his first season with the team, died on Friday in Sherbrooke, Quebec. He was 58.

 

The cause was cancer, the Devils? president, Lou Lamoriello, said in a statement.

 

Burns led the Devils to their third Stanley Cup championship when they beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in seven games. He also coached the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins, twice leading the Bruins to the Stanley Cup finals.

 

He had survived colon cancer, which was diagnosed in 2004 and eventually spurred him to retire, and liver cancer, which he learned he had in 2005. In January, doctors found the cancer had spread to his lungs.

 

In September, Burns had to deny reports of his death in the Canadian news media and circulating on Internet sites, telling The Toronto Star: ?I?m still alive and kicking. I?m hanging in.?

 

His last official public appearance was in early October, when he attended the groundbreaking ceremony for an arena to be named in his honor in Stanstead, Quebec.

 

Burns, who was never more than a junior hockey player, was a defensive-minded strategist who stressed hard work and persistent, strenuous effort during the 14 seasons he spent as a head coach in the N.H.L, leading Montreal, Toronto and Boston, three of the league?s original franchises, before his final stop in New Jersey.

 

Twice he was fired in midseason, but he was the first coach to win three Jack Adams Awards as the N.H.L.?s top coach, once each in Boston, Toronto and Montreal. His career record was 501-353-151, and his teams missed the playoffs only twice. In the 1988-89 season, his Canadiens lost in the Stanley Cup finals to the Calgary Flames.

 

Burns was a police officer before he turned to coaching, and reporters often described his demeanor as that of a beat-walking cop: watchful, stern and disciplined. He was known for his brief, growly and not terribly informative sessions with the news media and for occasional outbursts of high-volume anger at his players.

 

?He tells us exactly what he wants,? John Madden, who played for Burns on the Devils, once said. ?If you don?t do it, you don?t play. He?s very strict. He brings an edge. He wants honest, solid hockey. If you don?t give it to him, he gets mad.?

 

Patrick Burns was born April 4, 1952, in the St. Henri section of Montreal.

 

Inspired by his cousin Robin Burns, a former N.H.L. player who would act as his agent during his coaching career, he played hockey but was not good enough to make it to the N.H.L., The Hockey News reported.

 

Instead, he joined the police in Gatineau, Quebec, and spent 16 or 17 years there, rising to detective sergeant, while coaching in minor league hockey. His first full-time job in hockey came in 1984, when he coached the Hull Olympiques in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. From there he moved to the Sherborooke Canadiens, a minor league affiliate of Montreal.

 

His survivors include his wife, Line; a daughter, Maureen; a son, Jason; a stepdaughter, Stephanie; a stepson, Maxime; and a grandson.

 

?I?m not an overly happy person,? Burns acknowledged to a group of reporters before the Stanley Cup finals in 2003. ?There are times when I?m happy, and that?s usually in my private life. I don?t think anybody here wants to be my friend.?

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