Looking back at Pat Burns' coaching career

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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    Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

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    Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

    (Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

    You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

    Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

    Letang told his side of the story:

    The Capitals disagree:

    While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

    No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

    Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

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    If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

    The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

    (Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

    Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

    A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

    First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

    Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

    Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

    In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

    This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

    Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

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    It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

    (You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

    There are a few things we do know already.

    For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

    Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

    In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

    There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

    Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

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    Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

    ***

    As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

    Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

    Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

    Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

    Things could get ugly in Game 3:

    One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

    Also, lateness of the check:

    The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

    Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.

    Read reactions to the check here.