Reports of Pat Burns's death untrue
Despite reports that Pat Burns passed away earlier Friday, the former NHL coach who has been battling lung cancer since 2009 said he is very much alive and merely visiting family in Quebec.
Twitter went ablaze with the news of Burns's demise, and some media websites reported the news, but Burns confirmed to Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Morrison and TSN that he's alive.
Morrison told CBC Sports that he talked to Burns Friday afternoon, and said he "sounded quite good all things considered."
Burns, 58, is a three-time winner of the Jack Adams coach of the year award and is considered one of the most successful coaches in NHL history. He had stints in Montreal, Toronto, Boston and New Jersey, winning the Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2003.
"Here we go again," Burns told TSN. "They're trying to kill me before I'm dead. 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. They've had me dead since June.
"Tell them I'm alive. Set them straight."
He was diagnosed with colon cancer during the 2003-04 season. He beat it, but was told he had liver cancer the following year, which forced him to retire from coaching. He beat that too, but revealed in 2009 that he had cancer again, this time in his lungs. That's when Burns opted to forgo any more chemotherapy or other treatments.
His last public appearance was in March, when the town of Stanstead, Que., held a ceremony in his honour after christening the new arena it plans to build in his name.
There was hope that Burns would get elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame last spring, but he didn't get in despite his coaching record, which stands at 501-353-151-14 over 14 seasons.