The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/06/13 at 11:18 AM ET
This morning, a pair of former Red Wings forward Shawn Burr's former teammates remembered "Skippy," with Wings executive Kris Draper speaking with the Fan 590's Joey Vendetta, bluntly addressing both the circumstances of Burr's passing and Burr's legacy (Draper talks about the City of Detroit's municipal bankruptcy and the team's hope that the follow-on rink will open three years from now, too)...
And in Sweden, Aftonbladet's Emil Karlsson spoke to Johan Garpenlov, who now works with the Swedish national team, about Burr's status as something of a point man in terms of helping non-North American players acclimate to life in Michigan (as Art Regner told us that Burr aided Sergei Fedorov).
What follows is roughly translated:
"It's very sad to hear. He was the one who took care of me when he came to Detroit," said Garpenlov to Sportbladet.
Shawn Burr played for the Detroit Red Wings, Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks, and played nearly a thousand games between 1984 and 2000.
Sportbladet's hockey expert Johan Garpenlov, who played with Burr in Detroit for two seasons, remembers him as a power forward.
"He was a hard-working forward who got the other team to take stupid penalties, and he could also help goals get scored. He fought a little, but he checked a lot. He also killed many penalties," Garpenlov remembers.Sportbladets hockey expert Johan Garpenlöv, who played with Burr in Detroit for two seasons, remembers him as a power forward.
When "Garpen" came to Detroit in 1990, it was Shawn Burr who took care of him, and became his friend.
"He helped me to find a place to live and to get my license, and everything else that one needs to get. We lived near each other and carpooled to practices. I have much to thank him for. But after I was traded from Detroit [to San Jose], we didn't speak that often."
Update: The Oakland Press's Pat Caputo weighed in on Burr, too:
The Red Wings have been an incredibly successful franchise for more than two decades. But their turnaround in the late 1980s and early 1990s didn’t happen by accident nor overnight. The Steve Yzerman draft pick in 1983 was the most significant move. There were others, though. One was Shawn Burr being taken in the first round with the seventh overall selection the next year, 1984.
Burr, who died Monday, joined the Red Wings about the same time I started at The Oakland Press. I was the high school writer, but I took extra time to cover the Red Wings. I went to their training camp my first year. It was at McMorran Arena in Port Huron. I recall interviewing Burr, as a rookie after his first training camp practice, while he was riding on an exercise bike. He was a kid, but you could tell he was going to make it both in regard to talent and demeanor.
And Burr did make it. He played 16 years in the NHL. He was a terrific two-way player. He was also a wonderful person, who was nice to everybody. A few years back I was the PA announcer at Red Wings alumni game. The game raised a lot of money for charity. Burr was the star of the show in regard to autographs and engaging with fans.
If time could take back things, hopefully one would be putting Burr on one of the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup championship teams. He was worthy, and unquestionably part of their current legacy.
Update #2: The Tampa Bay Times' Damian Cristodero spoke with former Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brian Bradley, former Lightning coach Terry Crisp and one Steve Yzerman about Burr's passing:
Said Terry Crisp, who coached Burr during his first stint with the Lightning, "I used to stand behind Shawn Burr on the bench with a pen and paper in my hand and write down the barbs he'd throw at the other players. He had to be one of the best trash talkers I have ever, ever encountered in my career, and I heard some good ones, believe me. And Shawn Burr was probably the funniest, most hilarious trash talker I've ever heard. And I don't think he ever lost a rebuttal. I always think he got the last one in."
Burr's best days, though, were with the Red Wings for whom he played 11 seasons, all with Steve Yzerman, now Lightning general manager. In 878 games over his 16 NHL seasons he had 181 goals, 440 points and 1,069 penalty minutes.
"His personality never changed. He was just an upbeat guy and he had fun," said Yzerman, who added about Burr as a player, "A really good defensive forward with a knack for scoring important goals. A good penalty killer. Just a good reliable defensive-minded forward who could chip in some offense."
Added Bradley, the former Lightning captain: "Shawn was a really good guy, a competitive player. He was a great two-way player. He was an agitator, in your face. He could score goals, kind of fight, be a pest. But he also had a great sense of humor. He was always happy, talked a lot. In the dressing room he liked to play practical jokes and have fun."
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.