Pat Burns, the legendary New Jersey Devils coach, was finally inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, Burns passed away in 2010 and was inducted posthumously.
Burns coached for 14 seasons in the NHL and won his only Stanley Cup Championship with the New Jersey Devils in the 2002-03 championship campaign. Burns stepped down as Devils coach in 2005 when complications in his health became serious. Burns died on November 19, 2010 with lung cancer that was caused by his colon cancer.
Burns started his coaching career in the QMJHL and AHL from 1984 through the 1987-88 season. He spent his first 4 NHL seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. His team made the playoffs every year but lost in the second round all but one year (Stanley Cup Final loss in ’88-’89). He spent the next three seasons coaching the Toronto Maple Leafs but lost in the third round twice and first round once in those years. In 1995-96, Burns coached 65 games for the Maple Leafs and was then fired with a record of 25-30 with 10 ties.
He was then hired by the Boston Bruins for the 1997-98 season and spent the next two seasons making the playoffs once again. They lost in the first round his first year and the second round in his second year. In 1999-00, the Bruins did not qualify for the playoffs. He would only coach 8 games the next season for the Bruins as he was then fired after a poor start to the season.
The Devils then hired him for the 2002-03 season, their third Stanley Cup season, as they also finished first in the Atlantic Division. The next season, they finished second in the Atlantic and lost in the first round.
Burns finished his career at 501 wins, 353 losses, 151 ties, and 14 overtime losses.
Burns is one of the great Devils coaches and is tremendously popular among the whole of the NHL fanbase. His story is a sad one as his life was cut way too short. He died at 58 years old.
Stay tuned for Pucks and Pitchforks for the last two 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame Player Profiles.