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11-19-2010, 10:48 PM
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deandebean's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Gatineau, câlisse
Country: uriname
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I remember when I was studying journalism at Algonquin College in Ottawa and I had to do my first interview as part of the course. I had decided to interview Guy Rouleau (another great player who died of brain cancer), who was one of Hull's stars in 1985.

I had to ask permission to Pat Burns, then coach of the Piques. Everybody had told me that it would be practically impossible to get the interview because of Pat. He was already known as a tough dude. I remember walking to his office at the Bob. Man, was I on the tip of my toes. Pat looked at me and just asked me what it was about. I explained my gig, and he agreed immediately. "After the practice, you'll be able to interview him". I stayed for the practice (was amazed at how Luc Robitaille was doing some overtime practicing his skating drills with a skating coach). As the practice ended, Pat remembered, went to Guy and told him to meet me near the stands. That was my first contact with Pat.

The second came a couple of years after. 1988. He had just started the season with the Habs as head coach. I was a sports reporter for a weekly in the Montreal area. A player that I had covered as a junior was playing that night for the Penguins, against Montreal. I had the privilege of being able to get a press pass for the game. I was invited to join Daniel Caza, who at the time was working for Le Soleil. Dan was originally from the same paper that I was working for. Stayed in the press box for the duration of the game, saw all of my teen idols (for a reporter): Bert Raymond, Marc DeFoy, Pierre Durocher, Mario Leclerc, Daniel of course. Heck, everybody was there that night. That was the night I discovered I loved my wife more than my job, but that's another story...

After the game Daniel asked me if I wanted to go into Montreal's locker room. Man, was I excited. I went with the biggies in the elevator that took them practically directly to the locker room. I remember Daniel talking with the biggies in the elevator, telling them about me and telling ME about their marital status: all of them were divorced!!!! Shock number one.

Then, the great Montreal Forum locker room. Shock number 2. Wow. Greatest sports experience of my life. Seeing Robinson, Gainey, Richer, Roy (was he skinny), Ludwig and the rest...Had to pinch myself.

At the time there were no press conference room in the garage like today. In 1988, you didn't have 25 reporters with cameras in the place. When the coach called everybody, we all went into his quarters (we were probably not more than 10), and he did his scrum there. Pat won that game I believe. Can't remember and don't really care to remember. All I recall is that Pat didn't have the greatest start to the season. I think he went 4-7 or something like that. But man, what a presence in the room. This was an experienced room. A winner's room. And Pat was a rookie coach, with not a lot of games under the belt. But you could just feel the aura, the presence. You could already feel the respect from the guys.

I'll never forget that game. Even less now.

Pat, tu as rendu la ville de Gatineau très fière. Dommage que tes concitoyens n'ont pas cru bon de t'honorer avant ton décès. May you ride a Harley to the Heavens, bud.

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