Montreal's French-language newspaper La Presse reported today that former Stanley Cup-winning coach Pat Burns is having his third bout with cancer. While the paper's story was accurate, the timing of the news didn't leave the former Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Bruins and Devils bench boss amused.
The former coach told Canada's TSN earlier today:
"I guess I just want people to know that I'm living a good life right now and carrying on with my life. I am living in Florida, I'm playing golf, I'm going and scouting hockey games for the New Jersey Devils, I'm still working and doing my radio stuff in Montreal and I'm riding my motorcycle down here and enjoying life. People read a story like that and they think the worse right away. I don't want people to have the wrong picture of me right now."
Burns had told friends of his current battle with lung cancer shortly after he returned from last year's World Championships last spring where he was helping the Team Canada's effort in the tournament. He quietly has been undergoing alternative treatments to deal with the disease before the paper treated the story as breaking news this morning.
He had previously undergone two rounds of chemotherapy in recent years, one for colon cancer during the 2003-04 NHL season and another for liver cancer in 2005. This time around, he didn't want to undergo another draining round of chemo to preserve his quality of life.
Burns led the Devils to their last Stanley Cup title in 2003, and also has won the Jack Adams Award for the league's best coach three times, with Montreal (in 1989), Toronto (in 1993) and Boston (in 1998). He recorded a 501-353-165-15 mark behind the bench in 1,019 career games, and his last game behind an NHL bench came as he revealed his 2005 bout with the disease.
This time around, he had preferred to keep his battle quiet and maintain as normal lifestyle as is possible, but when the paper broke his story, he wasn't happy word got out about his quiet fight.