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Brodeur cherished bond with Pat Burns

Friday, 11.19.2010 / 8:07 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Brodeur cherished bond with Pat Burns
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Pat Burns celebrates in 2003.
Martin Brodeur remembered Pat Burns as a demanding head coach that held all of his players accountable. It was certainly that level of commitment that made Burns so successful during his 14 seasons behind an NHL bench.

Burns, the man who led the Devils to the 2003 Stanley Cup title, passed away Friday at the age of 58 after a long battle with cancer.

“He was honest,” Brodeur recalled this summer, when Burns was a candidate for the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010. “He wanted you to play really hard. He’s a guy that related to his assistant coaches a lot. I think he really made an effort that everybody needed to be involved. Usually in head coaches, you see that guys want to run the show by themselves. As a coach, Burnsy was a guy that loved to have a lot of people’s input.”

A respected and receptive leader, Burns accepted nothing less than the best. He coached in Montreal, Toronto and Boston, becoming the first to win three Jack Adams Awards as coach of the year before arriving in New Jersey.

Brodeur enjoyed two of his best seasons under Burns. He led the League in wins in 2002-03 (41) and 2003-04 (38), collecting his third and fourth Vezina Trophies.

I was really happy to be a part of his coaching career. - Martin Brodeur
“He was demanding, there’s no doubt about it,” Brodeur said. “Not winning was not acceptable to him, and he kept us accountable. That fit right in with what Lou [Lamoriello] loved in a coach in New Jersey. Winning a Stanley Cup was probably the highlight of his coaching career, but before he got to that he did a lot of great things in great organizations. When you go through the Montreals, the Torontos, the Bostons, you’re going through some of the great organizations. At the time that he took over the Devils, we were really successful, and I think it  says a lot about the type of coach that he was.”

Burns began his two-year stay with the Devils in 2002. He inherited a two-time Stanley Cup champion and three-time finalist that had just seen its postseason ended by Carolina in the first round.

He promptly guided New Jersey to 46 regular-season wins, the 2003 Atlantic Division title, and a fourth trip to the Finals. There, Burns and the Devils overcame the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in seven games for the club's third Cup in nine seasons.

Brodeur went 16-8 that spring with a 1.65 goals-against average and seven shutouts. Along the way, he and Burns developed a special bond.

“Pat was really important for my career,” Brodeur said. “I really enjoyed playing under him. I think it came at a time in my life that I had a lot of changes, so I needed a lot of support and Pat gave that to us, with his wife, Line, towards me and my wife, Genevieve, now. It was really nice, and we spent time together with the Stanley Cup when he had it in Quebec for a few days. It was really a good relationship and even when he wasn’t coaching, we still kept in touch a lot.”

The Devils won 43 games the next year. But following their elimination from the 2004 playoffs, Burns announced that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer. The lockout forced cancellation of the 2004-05 season, and Burns stepped down from head coaching on July 8, 2005.

“Pat was a close friend to us all, while dedicating his life to his family and to the game of hockey,” Devils’ President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello said in a statement. “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.”

Burns was the 11th coach in NHL history to reach the 1,000 games-coached mark, the ninth to reach the 500-win plateau. He posted a career record of 501-353-165 (.573) in 1,019 NHL games, compiling a mark of 89-53-22 (.610) in 164 games behind the Devils’ bench.

An arena being built in Stanstead, Quebec will bear Burns' name and was dedicated on March 26, 2010.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59