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Former Bruins coach Pat Burns died Friday morning, according to numerous sources including WEEI, who was crediting a source in Canada.
An alive-and-well Burns, however, tells a far different story:
“Tell them I’m alive,” Burns told TSN from Magog, Que. “I come to Quebec to spend some time with my family and they say I’m dead. I’m not dead, far (expletive) from it.”
How did this misunderstanding happen? I’m having a hard time understanding.
The report was in fact a misunderstanding that originated at Maple Leafs training camp. Senior advisor Cliff Fletcher came out of the dressing room looking sorrowful and told a group of reporters that his favourite coach with the Leafs from his GM days, had passed away. Burns has terminal cancer and had flown back to his home in Quebec from Florida in the past couple of days.
An extremely sensitive man who has always been cautious with such announcements, Fletcher said he had received “a call from a friend” with the news, not revealing a name. Media that tweeted and phoned in the story had no reason to doubt Fletcher’s word.
Fletcher quickly issued an apology for his public comments.
Yes, it’s safe to say that Phil Kessel and the Ghost of Andrew Raycroft belong with the idiots in Toronto. We’ll take Tuukka Rask and Tyler Seguin, thank you very much.
Seriously though, the 58-year-old Burns is suffering from terminal lung cancer. Having already survived liver and colon cancer, Burns has been through a lot, and Sports of Boston extends our best wishes to the former Bruins bench guru and his family.