Off The Post: Burns’ time will come – but when?
Burns’ time will come – but when?.
It’s easy to envision that Pat Burns will one day be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Predicting how long it will take is another matter entirely.
Tuesday’s announcement of the class of 2011 inductees came with a Toronto-centric tinge; Doug Gilmour, Ed Belfour and Joe Nieuwendyk all shone while wearing the Maple Leafs uniform while Mark Howe played one terrific season with the Toronto Marlboros of the OHA.
Burns, who fought cancer for several years before finally succumbing to the disease last November, has been a sentimental favourite for induction into the hall’s Builders category, but was once again denied.
The omission is a head-scratcher, given that this is the first year since 1981 that no builder is being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Would it not have been fitting for Burns, who won one of his three Jack Adams trophies coaching the Leafs during “The Passion Returns” years of the early 90’s to have been admitted along with Gilmour, the centrepiece of those teams?
Not because he is gone, and a posthumous tribute would be a nice gesture.
Not because he coached Gilmour, and also Nieuwendyk – with whom he won his only Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 2003.
But simply because, as stated in this column in 2010, he deserves it.
Unless you are one of the 18 members of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee, chances are that you have minimal – if any – information on how close Burns came to induction. That’s because the committee guards the secrecy of its balloting with the same fervor exhibited by the United States Secret Service.
However, if there is any solace that encourages the premise that deserving candidates indeed eventually get their due, look no further than Howe.
A four-time All-Star who was three times a finalist for the Norris Trophy, Howe had been overlooked for induction for an astounding 13 years before being recognized today. Howe joins his dad Gordie as only the third father-son duo to be admitted into the Hall of Fame as players, behind Lester and Lynn Patrick, and Bobby and Brett Hull.
Let’s hope that the wait for Burns’ day to come isn’t quite as long.
(Video: Gilmour and Burns in a musical mood – if you watched the Leafs in the 90′s you know the words!)
Rob Del Mundo is the author of Blue And White Beat, and is a regular columnist at TMLfans.ca
Follow TMLfans.ca on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tmlfansrob