I’ve said my piece about allowing Pat Burns into the Hall of Fame early (at least, if voters deem him worthy in the first place) because it always seems extra-tragic when someone is inducted posthumously. I don’t think I’m the only person who was hoping that such a thought would not come to the forefront again so soon, as the former Stanley Cup winning coach’s health continues to sadly deteriorate. The CBC reports that Burns was recently admitted to a hospital.
Former NHL coach Pat Burns, stricken with terminal lung cancer, has been admitted to hospital in Florida, according to reports.
Burns was hospitalized outside Tampa, Fla., on Sunday – his 58th birthday – according to Montreal sports radio station CKAC.
Jeez, on his birthday? That’s not cool at all. I’ll leave you with this quote from Burns’ recent press conference, in which he looked disconcertingly frail (and was honest about his grim health situation) but also positive about the big picture.
“As your life gets closer to the end, you realize that your body gets weaker, you mind works harder but your heart gets softer. You get closer to family, you get closer to God, and there are things that you realize along the way.
“I probably won’t see the final project,” Burns told guests at the gathering, including former colleagues, players and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“But I know one thing, is that when I’m looking down, j’espère que je vais regarder et voir un jeune Mario Lemieux ou Wayne Gretzky apparaître (I hope I will see a young Mario Lemieux or Wayne Gretzky appear).”
Let’s hope he won’t be “looking down” from up high anytime soon. Best wishes to Burns and his family.
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.
Read more about his rise here.
In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).
Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.
See it for yourself:
Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.
He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.
Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.
Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season:
No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.
The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.
Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?
He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.
Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.
The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.
He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.
With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.
Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?
Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old: