NHL: Fred Shero, Pat Burns Deserve a Spot in Hall of Fame
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The celebration at the Hockey Hall of Fame was a needed respite from the gloom and doom of the NHL lockout.
Joe Sakic, Adam Oates, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure were a deserving foursome who earned their recognition.
Next year's class will likely include Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan and Scott Niedermayer, all of whom had legendary careers.
But the question is, when will Fred Shero and Pat Burns be recognized?
Shero was the coach of the two-time Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers. In addition to bringing the Stanley Cup to Philadelphia in 1974 and '75, he got them to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1976 where they were dispatched by the Montreal Canadiens.
He also made it to the championship round when he coached the New York Rangers in 1978-79. That team also met defeat at the hands of the Canadiens.
Burns was a former Montreal police officer in Quebec before endeavoring to become a hockey coach. His NHL journey allowed him to win the Jack Adams Trophy as the Coach of the Year with the Canadiens, Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He would also win the Stanley Cup as the head coach of the New Jersey Devils in 2003.
Shero became the first head coach of one of the original 1967-68 expansion teams to win a playoff series against an Original Six team when his Flyers beat the Rangers in the 1974 semifinals.
That was a bit of a surprise, but then the rambunctious Flyers pulled off one of the all-time shockers by upsetting the powerful Boston Bruins—led by Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito—in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Flyers repeated that success the following year, beating the swift-skating and skilled Buffalo Sabres.
They were disparaged by many because of their thuggish ways and goonish tendencies, but they did not bully their way to their two Stanley Cups. They were highly skilled with players like Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber and goalie Bernie Parent.
Burns was a marvelous leader who did not need to have a team play any one particular way. His Canadiens teams were skilled and speedy. His Bruins teams were aggressive and edgy. His Maple Leafs teams played with a relentless, never-say-die attitude.
Bottom line, Shero and Burns knew how to get their players to rise to the occasion of winning vital games.
Both men died before their time; Shero passed away in 1990 while Burns died in 2010.
Each of them needs to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.
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