TAMPA, Fla. – Pat Burns was scouting a hockey game Tuesday night, which means it was another good day for the former NHL coach.
The 56-year old Burns recently confirmed he has lung cancer and knows the long-term outlook is “not good” in his third battle against the disease. The New Jersey Devils’ scout, however, remains upbeat and is taking full advantage of each day.
“Right now, I’m just enjoying the time left. That’s what I’m trying to do,” Burns said before watching the Montreal Candiens play the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“The crying and everything, that’s all finished. That’s over. I told my family, that’s it. We’ve done all that. Let’s just enjoy what we have here.”
Burns had chemotherapy treatments the first two times he had cancer, but is not planning to have the treatment this time.
“Maybe something new will come out. This is my third bout with it,” Burns said. “I’ve had colon cancer before. I’ve had liver cancer before. Now it’s proceeded into the lungs. It becomes a situation where, how much you do want to treat things. It’s the treatment that’s tough. I did through 2 1/2 year of chemo. I’ve had two major surgeries.”
Burns has been examined at several top cancer centres and checks in with his doctors at least once every two weeks. He still plays golf and rides his motorcycle, but his link with hockey is key.
“I love working for New Jersey,” Burns said. “They’ve been great to me. They’ve supported me. (General manager) Lou (Lamoriello) is a Godsend for me because he’s looked after me, and I know I can stay close to hockey.”
Burns was 501-350-161-14 in 14 seasons as an NHL coach with Montreal, Toronto, Boston and New Jersey. He led New Jersey to the 2002-03 Stanley Cup title and is a three-time Jack Adams Award winner as the NHL’s top coach.
“I’m not going to stop,” Burns said. “You’ve got to get up with a purpose in life.”