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04-08-2013, 05:16 AM
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Would You Like to See Pavel Bure Lace Up the Skates One Final Time?

The Province's Jonathan McDonald (sports editor) published this blog entry on Friday, April 5th. I hadn't seen it until today, but it led me to wonder how incredible it would be to see Pavel Bure lace up the skates in a Canucks uniform one final time:
1. Stan Smyl joked that Pavel Bure could probably still lace them up, and he might be right, because Bure looked pretty good during his appearances at the Rog yesterday afternoon and evening. It’s hard to go back, it always is, but I would pay good money to step onto the ice with Bure at a charity event, and just watch him go. I’d ask him just to do a lap of the ice, to see if his speed is still anywhere near blinding. Let me tell you, he wouldn’t be your average beer-leaguer, that’s for sure. The ovation Bure received during the Canucks-Oilers game wasn’t that surprising: For all the negative stuff that happened during his years here, he was still the most exciting player the Canucks have ever had, one of hockey’s best. When you see the few career highlights they showed on the scoreboard, they take your breath away. You rarely see those kinds of moments in the NHL now, and with Bure they happened all the time. When they retire his jersey, as they most certainly will, it will be a good thing. And kudos to current Canucks ownership and management for not only thawing the relationship between the club and Bure, but truly warming it up. And kudos to Gino Odjick, Bure’s protector and best friend who, no doubt, is somewhat responsible for much of what has transpired recently.
Though Pavel of course played his final NHL game just over 10 years ago (March 15, 2003) and had not skated until only one year ago at the Canada-Russia Summit Series exhibition in Russia, he has been skating recently and has participated in numerous games.

The idea has been floated around by fans who feel it would be a truly remarkable sight if Pavel would don a Canucks sweater one final time and participate in a charity match or even a preseason game.

Theoren Fleury recently came out of retirement in order to end his career on his own terms and to bring closure to his tumultuous career. He performed at a respectable level, but more importantly, he ended his career the way he wanted to.

Another player who returned to the game after having been retired for five years was Claude Lemieux. He returned to the NHL at age 43.

Pavel left Vancouver on bad terms, and to finish his career and retire here in the city that adored him would be magnificent. Though I don't think we could expect much, it would be a tremendous gesture.

When he played in the Canada-Russia Summit Series exhibition in February 2012, he scored a hat trick:
Pavel Bure scored three goals while four other Russians netted one goal each as Russia defeated Canada 7-5 at Megasport Arena in Moscow in the 40th anniversary rematch of the 1972 Summit Series.
Take it with a grain of salt, certainly, but at the very least it demonstrates he still possesses some semblance of his former skill. He has since played in two other high-profile matches, and was seen skating at Rogers Arena last week.

Here's Pavel from the Canada-Russia Summit Series exhibition last February:

Here's a look at Pavel from the HHOF Legends Classic. You can see a few of his chances at the end of the video, and throughout:

So much has changed over the past year. During the 2011 Stanley Cup run, Pavel was interviewed by Sportsnet, and admitted to having not skated at all since retiring from professional hockey. Since then, he seems to have become comfortable in his skates again. He has become a Hall of Famer, will have his jersey retired by the Canucks, and has finally become a Canuck once again.

How would you feel if Pavel Bure were to be offered one game in the upcoming preseason? Should he be offered one? While it is certainly, at this point, only a hypothetical, we can see Pavel still can play hockey and still retains some of his former ability. Perhaps he may even dazzle the crowd with a few moves. More importantly, though, it would be an incredible gesture, and we as fans would be able to cheer him on one last time. GM Mike Gillis has offered players 'sentimental contracts' before, such as Todd Fedoruk, Brendan Morrison, and even Dan Cloutier. Would you like to see Pavel suit up one final time in a Canucks uniform before his number is ultimately raised to the rafters and his legacy becomes immortalized?

I don't think there's a right or wrong answer. It would be great to hear some thoughts and opinions.

Also, the Montreal Canadiens did this to some extent with their alumni in 2009. Rather than bring them out for a game, they had them skate out for a full warmup in gear before the actual hockey match that night:

Perhaps the 1993-94 team could come out in full gear to celebrate their 20th anniversary next season.

Last edited by JetsAlternate: 04-08-2013 at 07:37 AM.
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