So, the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee has decided to pass Pat Burns over for admission this year for some incomprehensible reason, or maybe, for no reason at all. Perhaps the selection committee thinks he's enough of a fighter to stay alive until next year, despite the cancer eating away at him.
The man is going to be in the Hall some day. It should have been yesterday. He's got all the qualifications, and, if not for the devastating cancer he's battling, he'd still be coaching in the NHL. He's the only coach in league history to have won the Jack Adams with three different teams, he's got a winning record and a Stanley Cup. There's no doubt he'll be inducted eventually. Why the committee chose to let him and his family wait, when there's little chance he'll live to receive the honour in person, just defies logic and compassion.
I find it hard to believe that either none of the selection committee chose to use his "builder" nomination privilege to put Burns' name forward, or, if he was actually nominated by the committee, that fifty percent of the guys who vote didn't think he was worthy to be picked this year. These are not random yahoos. They're respected hockey men, and, you'd think, capable of understanding that time is of the essence in Burns' induction.
Overlooking Burns does two things. First, it cheapens the inductions of the people who actually got in this year. It should be a momentous occasion for women's hockey to see the first two female players honoured in the Hall. Instead, Angela James' and Cammi Granato's inductions will always be overshadowed by the slight to Burns. Dino Ciccarelli, too, will always remember being part of the Hall class that screwed Pat Burns over. The second thing it does is make hockey look like a chump sport in the eyes of a lot of fans. Thousands of people lobbied to have Burns inducted this year on compassionate grounds, as well as merit. The committee's failure to do that is a big "screw you" to the people who wanted him in the Hall.
The wise men on the selection committee, however, decided that Jimmy Devellano, who's hale and hearty, and former Flames owner Doc Seaman (ever hear of him before? anyone?), who's already dead, were better inductees this year. I hope when Seaman's family is there to receive their father's award posthumously, they'll have some tips for Pat Burns' kids, who'll probably be doing the same thing whenever the committee decides to let a great coach in. I'm thinking some of the shine will be off the HOF ring by that time.
"We have an unbelievable tough task to make selections," Hall of Fame chairman Jim Gregory said. "We don't comment on anyone who wasn't selected." Great grammar, there, Jim. And, screw you and the committee too.