Pavel Bure (@NHLexpertpicks)
On September 5th the Vancouver Canucks announced that they will be retiring Pavel Bure’s number at the beginning of this season on November 2nd before the Canucks host the Maple Leafs. The Russian Rocket had an injury shortened, yet still remarkable career. He was selected 113th overall in the 1989 NHL entry draft by Vancouver and quickly gained a notable reputation for his speed and quick hands during his 1991/92 rookie season, in which he won the Calder Memorial Trophy. From there on he spent 7 spectacular seasons with a Vancouver organization, and fan base that really needed the spark of excitement that Bure brought to the table. He led the league in goal scoring during the 93/94 campaign, and then again twice as a member of the Florida Panthers after his departure from Vancouver.
Unfortunately a recurring knee injuring forced his retirement as early as 2005 (while a member of the Rangers) and although his career was ended so soon, he averaged above a point per game during his career with 437 goals and 779 points in 702 NHL games. Internationally Bure has played for both the Soviet Union and Russia. As a member of the Soviet Union he won two silvers, and a gold medal in three World Junior Championships, as well as a gold and silver in the 1990 and 1991 World Championships, respectively. After the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 Bure competed with Russia for two Winter Olympics. He won silver at the 1998 games in Nagano, as well as a bronze at the 2002 games in Salt Lake City.
Looking back on Pavel’s career, he injected a lot of energy into a team, and crowd of fans that was not used to seeing someone of his calibre play for Vancouver, so although he may have had some controversial moments in his career, he was still nothing less than a fan favourite. To be honest I’m surprised that he was inducted into the hall of fame before the Canucks finally decided retire his jersey, it kind of feels late at this point, but earned, nonetheless. Welcome to the rafters #10 and may you never be desecrated by the likes of players such as Brad May, Ryan Johnson ever again.