Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Shiv on 11/20/10 at 03:48 PM ET
The world attempts the
task of putting Burnsie into words:
“Pat Burns may have saved my life. I came from a little town in Quebec called Ripon, with 400 people. If Pat hadn’t got me out of my village, I don’t know where I would have ended up.” — Former 50-goal scorer Stephane Richer.
“Burns always had that presence. In spades. But he also knew if the strut was all you had, you didn’t really have anything. Burns was a legitimately tough SOB.” — Bob McKenzie
“He was the best coach I ever had,” — Todd Gill
“It all started with Pat. I don’t really understand what it was about him, but he’d just stare and I knew he was saying I had to be better.” — Doug Gilmour
“I remember his first practice, we had some bad practice habits and we were a soft team. We were scrimmaging and Pat blew the whistle and called everyone to the side. He put one foot on the boards like he was going to say something nice and friendly. And, he annihilated them verbally. From then on, guys were going to do things his way.” — Bill Waters, who was the Assistant GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs when Burns was the Head Coach
“Hiring him 18 years ago was easily my best decision in hockey.” — Cliff Fletcher, Former GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs
“Just as they will remember Pat for his success as a coach, hockey fans also will remember his humour, his honesty, his humanity and his courage,” — Gary Bettman
“He was a confrère, we stick together. We competed against each other, we yell at each other, but when someone dies in the coaching fraternity, it’s a sad day. Pat Burns should have been in the Hall of Fame this year. Not because he was dying, but because he was a Hall of Fame coach. Five-hundred wins, a Stanley Cup, three times coach of the year — to me, it would have been so special for him, before he died, to be in the Hall of Fame. We got the arena for him but I don’t know why that didn’t happen.” — Jacques Demers, who replaced Burns as coach of the Montreal Canadiens in 1992 and later became his friend.
“My favourite memory was Pat taking the Leafs all the way to the semifinals, but he didn’t win the Stanley Cup,which goes to show that, with the Maple Leafs organization, a great coach can take a team a long way, but only God can work miracles.” — Prime Minister Stephen Harper
“But for everything Pat gave to hockey and what he taught me about the game and coaching, I think it’s fair to say he taught me more about life, and death. From the time he was diagnosed with cancer, he showed his Fightin’ Irish spirit.” — Bob McKenzie
“He was a really good person deep down. He was all about winning, but he cared. He protected his players. He pushed hard, but you felt protected.” — Player agent Pat Brisson
“It was a matter of time before we brought him to Montreal. I liked Jean Perron, but at the time we needed a coach that was tougher and that was Pat. He was a hard worker and he had the respect of the players.” — Former Canadiens general manager and Hall of Fame player Serge Savard on hiring Burns in 1988.
“On behalf of the ownership, management, staff, and players of the New Jersey Devils, we are all deeply saddened by the loss of Pat Burns. Pat was a close friend to us all, while dedicating his life to his family and to the game of hockey. He has been part of our family here in New Jersey for eight years. Today, the hockey world has lost a great friend and ambassador. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Line, and the entire Burns’ family.” — Devils President/General Manager Lou Lamoriello.
“Obviously sad. The first time I went to a Stanley Cup final [in 2003], we lost in Game 7 in New Jersey and Pat was coaching the team. Just watching overall his coaching career, he coached over 1,000 games in the league, won over 500 games, had a great career and obviously has been battling like crazy over the last six years, and eventually submitted. I pray for his family. He was a real good man and a real good coach and will be remembered in hockey circles forever.” — Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who lost to Burns’s Devils while coaching the Anaheim Ducks.
“He was a great coach for me in New Jersey, and I had my best years under Pat. As a coach he really knew how to get me going and fire me up. He taught me a lot about myself and how to play in this league, so I’m very thankful to have known Pat Burns. I watched him when he coached the Toronto Maple Leafs, being a Toronto boy. He had Dougie Gilmour and [Dave] Andreychuk and Wendell Clark, and I always wanted them to win a Cup. When L.A. beat ‘em out that one time, I hurt just as much as they did when they went out, so when we all won the Cup together in [New] Jersey, it was nice.” — Minnesota Wild centre and Toronto native John Madden.
A special thanks to Bob McKenzie, TSN, CBC Sports, The Toronto Sun and the Associated Press.
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