Former Bruins Head Coach Pat Burns passed away today at the age of 58 after a long, courageous battle with cancer.
Back in September, there were false reports that Burns had lost his battle with cancer. Unfortunately, today's reports are true.
Burns had the proud honor of serving as head coach of three of the Original Six franchises. He won the Jack Adams Award for the league's best coach three times, more than any other coach in the award's 36 year history.
Burns spent parts of four seasons behind the Bruins bench from 1997 to 2000, compiling a record of 105-103-46-6. He won one of his three Jack Adams Awards as the bench boss for the Bruins for the 1997-'98 season when he led the B's to a 39-30-13 record and a 2nd place finish in the Northeast Division.
Boston Bruins' President Cam Neely issued the following statement regarding the passing of Pat Burns:
"On behalf of the Jacobs family and the entire Boston Bruins family, I would like to express our deep sorrow on the passing of Pat Burns. Pat was a great coach and more importantly a wonderful man. The Bruins are honored to have him as a part of our history. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Burns family."
One of my favorite things about Pat Burns was just how quotable he was. You never changed the channel when you saw Pat Burns with a microphone.
One of my favorite memories of Pat Burns and memories as a hockey fan in general is going to see the Bruins take on the Washington Capitals at the Fleet Center in 1998. Things start getting rough on the ice and soon a full-on 6 on 6 brawl erupts. Just when you think things are starting to cool down, you look down at the benches and see Burns (in typical Pat Burns fashion) chirping at Capitals' head coach Ron Wilson and literally flexing his muscles at Wilson.
The world lost a great hockey man today and by all accounts a great man. It is a shame that the Hockey Hall of Fame did not induct Burns while he was still with us.
R.I.P. Pat Burns
April 4, 1952 - November 19, 2010