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Looking back at Pat Burns' coaching career

Mar 26, 2010, 10:45 PM EST

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Pat Burns.jpgIt’s been a month of largely unhappy news (and discussion) in the NHL, but this story about an arena being named after former NHL coach Pat Burns positively devastated me. Here are a few excerpts from a rather heart-wrenching AP story.

A thin and frail Pat Burns said he’s honored to have an arena named after him, even as he conceded he likely won’t live to see it completed.

Burns was forced to leave coaching in 2004 because colon cancer. When he was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, he opted against treatment.

“I know my life is nearing the end and I accept that,” he told a few dozen invited guests at Stanstead College. “I probably won’t be here when (the arena) is finished, but I’ll be looking down on it.”

It will be a sad day when the former Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Devils and Bruins coach dies, but I’d rather not focus on Burns’ health. Instead, check out this snapshot of the three-time Jack Adams award winner’s career after the jump.


* – Burns started his head coaching career off in an impressive fashion with the Montreal Canadiens during the 1988-89 season. The coach won his first coach of th year award, the Habs lost in the Stanley Cup Finals and finished the regular season 53-18-9.


* – The Canadiens made the playoffs every year he was the team’s coach (from 88-89 to 91-92).

* – Burns was also very successful in another Canadian pressure cooker, Toronto. 

* – Burns won his second Jack Adams award with Toronto in the 92-93 season.

* – Toronto made it to the Eastern Conference Finals twice under his watch and made the playoffs until he was fired around the middle of the 1995-96 season.

* – Burns had a fairly successful run with the Boston, particularly in the 97-98  campaign, when Burns became the first three-time winner of the Jack Adams Award. Also noteworthy is the fact that he did so with three different teams.

* – Arguably the height of his career came with the New Jersey Devils, though, as he helped the team win a Stanley Cup in the 2002-03 season.

* – Unfortunately, Burns eventually had to leave the sport to fight colon (and lung) cancer.

* – Burns only missed the playoffs three times in his 14 years of coaching and two of those times he was abruptly fired during the season.

* – Burns finished his career with a 501-350-161-14 record in 1019 games.

(All stats taken from Hockeydb.com.)

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