Eighteen Yellow Thorns Will Not Endure but a Single Red Rose Will
Bobby Darin sang about 18 Yellow Roses in the ‘60s, but this moral tale is not about beautiful flowers, nay, it’s about 18 cowardly thorns with prickly attitudes, 5 of whom (at least) on several occasions punctured the well-earned dream of a hockey legend who deserved better than he got while alive, and so we settle for a belated and avoidable watered-down acknowledgement of a life and times lived well enough to merit a kinder and gentler fate.
Go figure! Pat Burns, while alive but terminally ill, could not elicit enough legitimate and professional compassion from 14 of 18 ogres of antipathy and envy who could not see fit to recognize the immense contribution made by this ex-police officer to the game we love so much.
What’s up with that? as Seinfeld would say. If Pat Burns deserved entry into Hockey’s Shrine, as shown by his posthumous selection, what the dickens stopped the likes of Michael Farber, John Davidson, Scotty Bowman, Jim Gregory, Bob Clarke et al and others from doing it while the man was still alive and fully eligible? What impeded 5 of these hockey-savvy titans from honouring a fellow giant-of-a hockey man who would eventually get in anyway?
Indeed and in deed, they came to bury him not to praise him, for faint praise is the refuge of feeble-minded and heartless losers who pour salt into the wound by delaying the inevitable until it’s too late to turn back.
OK, Pat, now that you’ve grinned your PATented smirk of justifiable contempt for these brain-dead self-styled hockey experts, enjoy the ride with your family – on one of your bikes, perhaps – and get out of the penalty box. Your five-minutes (years) of cruel and unusual punishment are done. Take a bow, wrap your arms around John Kordic, Toe Blake and The Rocket and forgive the insensitive yahoos of the Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee for besmirching a splendid reputation you earned by the sweat of your brow.
PAT yourself on the back for surviving and thriving through the blood and tears of coaching in Montreal, Toronto, and Boston, three of the most-storied and media-frenzied hockey markets anywhere the game is played. And oh, yes, continue to bask in the sunshine as a Jersey Boy who tasted the nectar of the Hockey Gods out of Lord Stanley’s mug.
Shalom, Peace, and congratulations for scoring in your fifth overtime. JC has this to add: To paraphrase an utterance made famous by Hall of Fame Quarter-Back, Joe Namath, there's hardly anything which supersedes the thrill associated, upon awakening, with the realization that that day's JuicyLesson has pretty well been completed, due to the efforts of a good and great friend who didn't hesitate to pick up the puck to help out a friend. So thanks, very good Sir, for that.