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11-08-2012, 07:22 PM
vadim sharifijanov
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Originally Posted by skg View Post
Long overdue in my opinion. They'll always be the wet blankets out there, but for me Pavel Bure will always be the best player to play for this organization and as such, deserves to have his number retired.

I'll have clear memories of the hype surrounding this kid when he was drafted, "the best player not in the NHL" , "the saviour of the franchise". I remember Brian Burke's radio show with Dan Russel, and usually young fans asking him week after week, "When's Pavel coming over?". I remember the excitement in the city when we heard Pavel had left Russia and was living in the home of his agent in LA. Then we all saw him for the first time on CkVU Sports Page, in a practice rink holding up a Canucks jersey saying in broken English, "I hope to be in this uniform very soon". Hockey fans went euphoric. Keep in mind, there was no internet or Youtube at this time so this was the first time many of us put a face to the name. I remember my Dad taking me to his first practice in East Van, and waiting outside for him to sign my Upper Deck Pavel Bure card. I was lucky enough to get tickets to his first game against Winnipeg and I will forever remember the entire crowd rising up and gasping as he sliced through the entire Jets team with that blazing speed.

I think people fail to realize what a turning point Pavel Bure's arrival was to the franchise. There was always a feeling that the Canucks were outsiders to the rest of the league before then but his presence legitimized the Canucks and made them a must watch hockey team. Goalies and defenses were terrified of him and he made many HOF defencemen look like pylons.

Congratulations to #10, it was pure joy to have watched you play.
yes, that there is exactly why bure being in the HHOF is such a big deal. he captured our imaginations the way no other player ever has in this uniform, and him getting into the hall says that to the greater hockey world, those memories we have of bure flying in canucks colours matter.

he was a rare player, the rarest of players actually. i mean, how many players of the last 30 years could you really say captured their fanbase's imaginations at the very highest level? off the top of my head: fleury, neely, gilmour in toronto, roy in montreal, perhaps chelios in chicago, forsberg for sweden maybe...

i'm probably leaving off a handful of guys, but it's a short list. and it's not just being a great player. it's being a great player while the way you play displays a kind of attitude that galvanizes the entire fanbase and how those fans see themselves. that acts as a prism through which they start to see themselves in a different light. lesser players (linden, wendel clark) those are the kind of guys that usually spark this kind of emotional resonance. but for those guys i named above, they combined elite results with emotional resonance, the way i imagine watching old film of bobby orr makes old bostonian men of a certain age teary eyed, or really old french guys with rocket richard (against five other maurice richards...). wayne, mario, sakic, and others all dominated, and success also provides a kind of emotional resonance. but what bure, fleury, neely, etc. did exceeds just dominance.

and that's why #10 needs to go up in our rafters. we see ourselves in steamer, in trevor, but that's a private thing. joe calgary or PENSFAN6969 don't understand why #12 and #16 are up in our rafters, and mock us for it. for all their greater individual successes, we don't see ourselves in naslund or the sedins; but they have been recognized by the hockey world as elite talents. pavel gave us both.

as for naslund being a good guy... when i see him on the street, i'll shake his hand and thank him for visiting those kids in the hospital. then i'll walk away and remember the last game of the '03 regular season, "we choked," zero points in game seven against minnesota. if i should ever see pavel on the street, i will remember memories that are worth remembering. /12\ /16\ /10\ /33\ /22\

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