Former NHL coach Pat Burns has been released from a Florida hospital, his family confirmed Thursday.

Burns, who has terminal lung cancer, was hospitalized outside Tampa, Fla., on Sunday — his 58th birthday — suffering from pneumonia.

His cousin Robin Burns confirmed Thursday afternoon that the former Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs coach is doing better.

"He had a little set-back — not like the stories that had his demise that I've been hearing today," said Burns, a former NHL player.

"He was in the hospital for some treatments, and he had a touch of pneumonia. He's on antibiotics, and then [they] sent him home today. He's recovering at home."

Burns said his cousin is in good spirits.

"He's great — a good Irishman. You're always in great spirits."

Burns was in Quebec's Eastern Townships two weeks ago to attend the official announcement of a future hockey arena in Stanstead that will carry his name.

He has lost a considerable amount of weight and said at the time he feels a sense of calm at the thought of dying.


Former NHL head coach Pat Burns, battling lung cancer, is seen here speaking to reporters two weeks ago in Stanstead, Que., at the announcement of a new arena to be named after him. ((Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press))

"As your life gets closer to the end, you realize that your body gets weaker, you mind works harder but your heart gets softer," Burns told guests at the gathering, including former colleagues, players and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "You get closer to family, you get closer to God, and there are things that you realize along the way.

"I probably won't see the final project. But I know one thing, is that when I'm looking down, j'espère que je vais regarder et voir un jeune Mario Lemieux ou Wayne Gretzky apparaître (I hope I will see a young Mario Lemieux or Wayne Gretzky appear)."

Burns worked with four different teams over 14 years, including the Boston Bruins and 2003 Stanley Cup-winning New Jersey Devils. He captured the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year with three teams — Montreal in 1989, Toronto in 1993 and Boston in 1998.

He's won the Jack Adams Trophy for best coach three times.

An online campaign to have him named to the Hockey Hall of Fame has amassed more than 50,000 supporters, including former Habs coach Senator Jacques Demers. 

"It would be a nice gesture and it's appropriate," Demers said. "It's not to put someone in there who doesn't deserve because of his health situation."

"He's actually someone who actually deserves it."

"We're sending a message to the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee that we'd like to see Pat Burns on the ballot on April 15 and that the voting and induction processes should be accelerated in light of his illness," the group's organizers said Thursday.

"This isn't a debate about whether Pat Burns belongs in the Hall of Fame. His accomplishments speak for themselves, and 50,000 hockey fans agree. This is about expediting the process so he and his family can enjoy this great honour while he's still with us."

With files from The Canadian Press