Friday, September 17, 2010
God Love 'Im
Pat Burns = Everything the sport of hockey should be.
Basically, nothing more or less needs to be said in this space. But since over the years I have proven to be a long winded SOB, particularly when rum has been involved, I think I'll elaborate.
I read earlier tonight that Pat Burns is nearing the end of his fight with cancer. All of us knew this was coming sooner or later. We were all hoping for later, but it doesn't appear that will be the case. Reports indicate Pat's battle will end in the next few days. Cancer can sometimes take people very quickly. Others, who are tough as nails, will fight it off once, twice, and even a third time and give it a run for it's money.
That's just what Pat did. And anyone who has ever been around him or known about him would not be surprised. He survived colon cancer in '04, liver cancer in ' 05. In 2009 he announced the cancer had returned and that it was incurable. In typical Pat Burns fashion, he approached this news head on stating he knew what was ahead of him and he was not afraid. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a hockey player to me.
My first memories of Pat go back to 1993. I was a young kid growing up in Georgia whose grandparents happened to have this crazy new thing called a satellite dish. I was at their house during the playoffs when Burns and the Maple Leafs were up against Gretzky and the Kings. Needless to say the Kings prevailed, but in the process Burns called Barry Melrose "a Billy Ray Cyrus wannabe" and a lasting impression was made for this fake Internet blogger.
For those that don't know him, Pat is the only coach in NHL history to win THREE Jack Adams Awards. Oh, by the way, those three wins came in three NHL Original Six Cities (Mon, Tor, Bos). My, I nearly forgot to mention that after all that he managed to win a Stanley Cup with the Devils a few years later. Burns coached and won the Stanley Cup for the Devils in 02-03, and retired after the following year due to health problems. To Lou Lamoriello's credit, he has kept Burns on the payroll ever since as a consultant. No other words can do it justice, Lou has always done things the right way.
There was a Facebook campaign after the news of Pat's third battle with cancer to get him in the Hall of Fame while he could enjoy it. After all, he deserves it on his hockey accomplishments alone. That cannot be overstated. The campaign for Pat was about his accomplishments on the ice, not about his illness. Sadly, the HOF committee decided not to elect Pat last year. I cannot even begin to explain this as it has no explanation. Bottom line is, it's just not right. He deserved to be there, we all knew he wasn't going to be with us forever, is there really any harm in getting him inducted while he and his family could all enjoy it together? Shame on all who were involved in this decision. Shame.
So, Pat, while your days come to an end on this planet we thank you for everything you have done for our sport. We will never forget all you have accomplished and will strive to always respect the game the way you did every day.
God love you.
It appears Pat is not quite dead. Hooray! He called TSN to say he was, "far f*#!ing from it". Last time I trust a CBC report...