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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

How Pavel Bure Almost Became the Next Face of the NHL as of 1995.

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Old
10-27-2013, 10:29 AM
  #2
TheDevilMadeMe
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First off, I always enjoy your research, even if I often disagree with your conclusions.

Now a couple of disagreements:

Regardless of his other qualities as a player, I can't see any way a Russian would have become "the face of the NHL" as early as 1995. I mean, Fedorov kind of was for a couple of years, I guess.

As for your contention that Bure was considered a candidate for the Hart Trophy in 1993 by "many," why didn't he receive a single vote, not even a third place one?


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10-27-2013, 11:06 AM
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VanIslander
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Bure and Fedorov were never the face of the NHL... Forsberg almost became one, Jagr and Hasek arguably were... Sundin got more press than any Euro ever (the benefits of playing in T.O.).

Ovechkin is the first real, European face of the league imo, despite his rivalry with Sid the Kid.

The Habs, then Gretzky, then Lemieux overshadowed the first three decades of hockey I've watched. OV led a new generation.

I loved Bure as a lifelong Canucks fan myself. But he never made that step from franchise star to league's best. His shift to Miami didn't help, nor did his cherrypicking defensive-lackin' circling the neutral zone for breakaway passes style of play. He never warranted the 'C'. He was a me-first, super-talented highlight reel performer alright. But if you wanted to win the cup, you should give him a pass. Players like Nieuwendyk, Dale Hunter and Claude Lemieux, not to mention Sakic and Yzerman, defined the generation more than Bure.

Flashy breakaways were good for news clips but there's more to the game of hockey than two or three shifts a game. He is a marginal HHOFer when you consider the generation he is a part of. This takes nothing away from his ability to accelerate and puckhandle one on one. He would have thrived in the shootout era.

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10-27-2013, 11:26 AM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
Bure and Fedorov were never the face of the NHL... Forsberg almost became one, Jagr and Hasek arguably were... Sundin got more press than any Euro ever (the benefits of playing in T.O.).

Ovechkin is the first real, European face of the league imo, despite his rivalry with Sid the Kid.

The Habs, then Gretzky, then Lemieux overshadowed the first three decades of hockey I've watched. OV led a new generation.

I loved Bure as a lifelong Canucks fan myself. But he never made that step from franchise star to league's best. His shift to Miami didn't help, nor did his cherrypicking defensive-lackin' circling the neutral zone for breakaway passes style of play. He never warranted the 'C'. He was a me-first, super-talented highlight reel performer alright. But if you wanted to win the cup, you should give him a pass. Players like Nieuwendyk, Dale Hunter and Claude Lemieux, not to mention Sakic and Yzerman, defined the generation more than Bure.

Flashy breakaways were good for news clips but there's more to the game of hockey than two or three shifts a game. He is a marginal HHOFer when you consider the generation he is a part of. This takes nothing away from his ability to accelerate and puckhandle one on one. He would have thrived in the shootout era.
And even when Ovechkin was clearly a step up from Crosby (2007-08 to 2009-10), I don't think he ever really was "the face" of the NHL in a way Crosby is today. Tough to be the face of a North American league as a Russian.

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10-27-2013, 11:27 AM
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Players like Nieuwendyk, Dale Hunter and Claude Lemieux, not to mention Sakic and Yzerman, defined the generation more than Bure.
Thats just shameful. The Bure you're describing was the Florida/New York Pavel, in his heyday in Vancouver the guy was a flat out force.

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10-27-2013, 11:33 AM
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Hard to be the face of the NHL in 1995 when Lemieux and Gretzky are still there. Lemieux especially was still the premier player in the NHL. Lindros was always the name being bounced around as a guy the media was pushing to be the "next one" in the NHL. And I can't imagine Jagr taking a backseat to even a healthy Bure. Although, Bure was a dazzling treat to watch, and in 1994 he was probably the most exciting player to watch. People have a lot of sentiment for that 1994 Canucks team. Perhaps with him staying in a hockey city like Vancouver it may have helped though.

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10-27-2013, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
Ovechkin is the first real, European face of the league imo, despite his rivalry with Sid the Kid.
The first real "face" of European NHL hockey players to me at least would be Borje' Salming followed by Statsny; Hedberg & Nilsson of the WHA though none were transcendent in being "the face of the league". As mentioned up-page their all at a bit of a disadvantage in comparison to their North American counter-parts from an associative marketing perspective as imports. Interesting phenomena to some degree as alternatively if you consider a guy like Carl Brewer who the Finn's just loved, deified to some extent and he was only over their briefly really seems to me we here in Canada & the States are shortchanging these players just a tad no? Pavel Bure' at his peak was unquestionably one of if not the most electric player in the league. I think variously Jagr & Hasek and Selanne at various times could claim that title though in each case fleeting. Ovi's hindered somewhat playing in the market that he does. Had he begun with one of the 06'rs or Philly, LA perhaps, or had Washington been a lot more successful as a team I suspect his "brand" or shadow if you will would cast a far bigger shadow.

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10-27-2013, 01:39 PM
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And even when Ovechkin was clearly a step up from Crosby (2007-08 to 2009-10), I don't think he ever really was "the face" of the NHL in a way Crosby is today. Tough to be the face of a North American league as a Russian.
You mean until 08-09, right?


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10-27-2013, 01:56 PM
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Bure was one of the faces of the league for a while, although there was a lot of competition: Lemieux, Lindros, Gretzky, Roy, Messier, Yzerman, Kariya... Jagr, Hasek, Selanne, Fedorov, Forsberg, etc.

There were plenty of electrifying players, but starting in the mid-90s the clutch, grab, trap and XL goalies took hold. Brilliant marketing to let players tackle other players, slowing down the game and increasing injuries to star players.

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10-27-2013, 01:57 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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two memories from the early 90s:

1. there was a mainstream hockey mag from around '93 or '94 with the headline "the next one?" it listed fedorov, mogilny, bure, selanne, and jagr, then totally dismissed them because of the language barrier. said selanne was the only one with a shot because he came from the most westernized country (hence his sunny disposition-- five years after the cold war, people were still saying things like that) and spoke the best english. then lindros, of course. this must have been before kariya was in the league because he wasn't mentioned. but it ended with roenick, the only true saviour of the league if it had wanted to pay off in the sunbelt/expansion way that bettman had intended. a new breed of brash, outspoken, american hockey player, the article said, and if the league was smart this would be the guy they'd build their campaigns around.

2. i can tell you that in vancouver, bure was elvis. like, girls crying at the sight of him, crowds at the airport waiting for him after every road trip, people leaving things at the gates of his mansion. i've never seen anything like it. michael jordan was obviously the bigger national and global brand, but just in terms of what a guy meant to one city and everyone who lived in it, hockey fan or not, i'd put this on a legitimate rock star/matinee idol level. combine that with him being vancouver's first superstar, and the then-relatively small scale of the city (compared to chicago, toronto, ny, etc.) and the fact that hockey was, is, and always will be king, and yeah i get why that 22 year old kid never felt comfortable there.

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10-27-2013, 02:00 PM
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You mean until 08-09, right?
no. Ovechkin's suspensions in 2009-10 were the only reason he didn't win his third straight Hart to go along with third straight Pearson/Lindsay.

Crosby with his developing all-round game may have been at a similar level (and IMO deserved the Hart Trophy with the way things actually played out), but at that point, I would have said Ovechkin was the league's best player, based on his performance over the past three seasons.

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10-27-2013, 02:04 PM
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As for your contention that Bure was considered a candidate for the Hart Trophy in 1993 by "many," why didn't he receive a single vote, not even a third place one?
I think he meant somewhere halfway through the season when Bure held a Mogilny|Selšnne pace.

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10-27-2013, 03:05 PM
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seventieslord
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no. Ovechkin's suspensions in 2009-10 were the only reason he didn't win his third straight Hart to go along with third straight Pearson/Lindsay.

Crosby with his developing all-round game may have been at a similar level (and IMO deserved the Hart Trophy with the way things actually played out), but at that point, I would have said Ovechkin was the league's best player, based on his performance over the past three seasons.
You said "clearly a step up" though. I don't think that was any longer the case. Beginning in the 09 playoffs, actually.

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10-27-2013, 04:21 PM
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The ONLY Euro who was ever the "face of the NHL" is Alex Ovechkin. He and Crosby own the post-lockout (new NHL) era. He is the only Euro hockey player who is/was recognizable by mainstream (non-hockey fan) North America.

In the mid-90s, Gretzky, Lemieux, Lindros, Messier, etc. were the faces of the NHL. Hasek, Fedorov, Bure, even Jagr were recognized widely by hockey fans but were never mass-marketed to the general public in non-traditional hockey markets the way Ovechkin is today.

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10-27-2013, 05:58 PM
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^^^ Ya I dont know about that Gustafsson. Fact is, there really isnt any star currently playing in the NHL that transcends the sport and is capable of carrying his own brand, the NHL's & the game itself beyond fans & casual fans as being particularly recognizable beyond the sport. Crosby is currently tops & receives app $4M in endorsements per annum, Ovi $2M and Malkin in 3rd spot at just $400,000. None of them even make the Forbes Top 100 in Athlete Endorsements. Theres actually a thread on the BOH Board discussing this, comments made recently by Bruce McNall pursuant to the growth of the game (or lack thereof in the southern US) that "Crosby could walk into the lobby of a major hotel in LA and no one would recognize him" (words to that affect). Really, not since Gretzky has any player transcended the sport to the degree your suggesting and that includes both Crosby & Ovechkin. I expect we'll see his face a lot more leading up to & during the Sochi Olympics as were now seeing spots with Crosby in tv and on web based creative but still....

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10-27-2013, 06:11 PM
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^^^ Ya I dont know about that Gustafsson. Fact is, there really isnt any star currently playing in the NHL that transcends the sport and is capable of carrying his own brand, the NHL's & the game itself beyond fans & casual fans as being particularly recognizable beyond the sport. Crosby is currently tops & receives app $4M in endorsements per annum, Ovi $2M and Malkin in 3rd spot at just $400,000. None of them even make the Forbes Top 100 in Athlete Endorsements. Theres actually a thread on the BOH Board discussing this, comments made recently by Bruce McNall pursuant to the growth of the game (or lack thereof in the southern US) that "Crosby could walk into the lobby of a major hotel in LA and no one would recognize him" (words to that affect). Really, not since Gretzky has any player transcended the sport to the degree your suggesting and that includes both Crosby & Ovechkin. I expect we'll see his face a lot more leading up to & during the Sochi Olympics as were now seeing spots with Crosby in tv and on web based creative but still....
I agree with you overall.... because no player today is as GREAT as Wayne or Mario.... but the NHL has become more mainstream due to TV, NHLNetwork, Twitter, YouTube and the interwebs.... vehicles, players in the 90s didn't have at their disposal.

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11-02-2013, 12:02 AM
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Thats just shameful. The Bure you're describing was the Florida/New York Pavel, in his heyday in Vancouver the guy was a flat out force.
Bure was a force in a time when there were a lot of other demigods circulating around the league below Gretzky and Lemieux. Bure had some ridiculous offensive seasons but guys like Fedorov, Selanne, Mogilny, Yzerman, Lafontaine, Oates, Hull, Neely, Sakic, Jagr, Gilmour, Lindros etc. were also in the midst of their best season.s between 1992 and 1995. If the Canucks had won that 94 cup maybe things would have been different.

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11-02-2013, 03:29 PM
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I've been meaning to continue my video scouting series with Pavel, though I haven't had much of an opportunity to work on that. I'd ideally like to start analyzing other players as well once I obtain enough footage.

Early Pavel was excellent at both ends of the ice. I've been seeing some people identify him lately as a "north south" player, which is as far from the truth as one could possibly be. That's just another indicator that the average hockey fan has predicated their opinions of him on a false reputation. In fact, Ray Ferraro was interviewed about Pavel on the TEAM 1040 today, and he was blunt about the fact as a player on Long Island he actually had little exposure to Pavel the Canuck. The most Ferraro knew about Pavel was that he was a dangerous scorer, and one of the articles above states that most of what New Yorkers saw of Pavel was contained within the late-night goal highlights. While everything can be analyzed to the greatest extent these days, many people missed the details of early Pavel's game the first time around. Early Pavel was a fairly complete player and there are countless games and articles to remind us of that.

As we've already seen, he excelled at roving around the ice; the closest comparable in today's game to that type of positional game, in my opinion, would be Patrick Kane's, though Kane lacks Pavel's overall skating ability and particularly his speed. He was also a very good back checker, possessed a strong creative mind, and had a tremendous hockey IQ; he was an underrated playmaker, playing alongside such teammates as Anatoli Semenov, Murray Craven, Greg Adams, Gino Odjick, Alexander Semak, etc. A lot of his one-touch passes, tip passes, and displays of his playmaking abilities have been forgotten, and the tenacity, creativity, and vision he displayed on the ice show he would have worked well with better linemates. I am actually quite frustrated at the hockey media for showing the same goal highlights over and over again -- Pavel was much more than that. Those who revisit Canucks games featuring Pavel will be pleasantly surprised at what they find. Late Pavel -- New York Pavel -- was also a two-way player, as articles and testimonial evidence from that period will show. My next work's focus will be on Pavel prior to his first major injury.

I'll hopefully have something soon for us to analyze.
Phil Kessel and his use of the neutral zone to generate speed reminds me a lot of what Bure used to do.

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11-02-2013, 03:46 PM
  #22
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No amount of these silly threads will ever convince me that Bure was a two-way player.

I watched him. I know what he was.

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11-02-2013, 05:29 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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No amount of these silly threads will ever convince me that Bure was a two-way player.

I watched him. I know what he was.
i'm pretty sure the point of all these threads is to establish that bure wasn't a defensive liability, at least pre-'95 injury in vancouver.

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11-02-2013, 09:09 PM
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i'm pretty sure the point of all these threads is to establish that bure wasn't a defensive liability, at least pre-'95 injury in vancouver.
Unfortunately, I think you're wrong. I've seen JetsAlternate claim that Bure was "an excellent two-way player," and "an above average defensive player."

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