Former Bolt Shawn Burr -- 'a great teammate for all of us' -- dead at 47
When Brian Bradley heard his former Lightning teammate, Shawn Burr, died on Monday at age 47, he remembered him in two ways.
As a player, Bradley said, Burr was the kind you loved to have on your team but hated playing.
"He was always a gamer," Bradley said. "He was always tough to play against. He was always in your face and talking. He would do whatever it takes to win."
As a person, Bradley added, "He was very, very funny. Just a really good guy. He was a great teammate for all of us."
Burr died of head trauma after a fall Monday down the stairs of his St. Clair, Mich., home. He had been diagnosed with leukemia in February 2011, though a bone marrow transplant had substantially improved his condition.
"It's just really sad," Bradley said.
Burr, drafted No. 7 overall in 1984 by the Red Wings, played three seasons for the Lightning in two stints. In 155 games from 1995-97 (Burr was acquired with a draft choice from Detroit for Marc Bergevin and Ben Hankinson) he had 27 goals, 63 points and 225 penalty minutes and was part of Tampa Bay's first playoff team in 1996. After returning to the Lightning from San Jose as part of the Andrei Zyuzin deal, he played four games for Tampa Bay with two assists during the 1999-2000 season.
Said Terry Crisp, who coached Burr during his first stint with the Lightning, "I used to stand behind Shawn Burr on the bench with a pen and paper in my hand and write down the barbs he'd throw at the other players. He had to be one of the best trash talkers I have ever, ever encountered in my career, and I heard some good ones, believe me. And Shawn Burr was probably the funniest, most hilarious trash talker I've ever heard. And I don't think he ever lost a rebuttal. I always think he got the last one in."
Burr's best days, though, were with the Red Wings for whom he played 11 seasons, all with Steve Yzerman, now Lightning general manager. In 878 games over his 16 NHL seasons he had 181 goals, 440 points and 1,069 penalty minutes.
"His personality never changed. He was just an upbeat guy and he had fun," said Yzerman, who added about Burr as a player, "A really good defensive forward with a knack for scoring important goals. A good penalty killer. Just a good reliable defensive-minded forward who could chip in some offense."
Added Bradley, the former Lightning captain: "Shawn was a really good guy, a competitive player. He was a great two-way player. He was an agitator, in your face. He could score goals, kind of fight, be a pest. But he also had a great sense of humor. He was always happy, talked a lot. In the dressing room he liked to play practical jokes and have fun."