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

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10-27-2013, 03:48 AM
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JetsAlternate
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How Pavel Bure Almost Became the Next Face of the NHL as of 1995.

As Pavel Bure's jersey retirement approaches, I think the majority of fans will reflect on his on-ice accomplishments. He was certainly one of the most exciting players to watch on the ice, and this definitely made him one of the most marketable players in the league. Off ice, however, one of his most overlooked achievements was the extent to which he generated overall enthusiasm around the league and became one of the most appreciated players of the early 1990s. Pavel brought excitement as people of all ages flocked to see him; in Vancouver, he was the most recognizable person in town. In other NHL markets, he created an aura of excitement whenever he visited. He was on the verge of becoming a celebrity across the league, and the NHL recognized this. While these days he is appreciated for his contributions on the ice, many seem to forget the extent of Pavel's popularity at the time and the plans the NHL had made to market him as their next poster-boy:

Quote:
Bure can't bear standing in glare of publicity MARKETING MANIA / The Canucks and the NHL have a vested interest in the selling of Pavel Bure
Campbell, Neil A. The Globe and Mail [Toronto, Ont] 27 Mar 1995: D.1.

...

"Our estimate is that within five years Pavel's full marketing potential should be understood."... Bure's exquisite skill, his back-to-back 60-goal seasons and his fine play during the Canucks' run to the Stanley Cup final last spring suggest he is likely to spend most of his career near the top of the hockey heap.

...

"I don't know yet," he said when asked if he feels he has the personality to emerge as the media and advertising icon the Canucks and the NHL desperately want him to be. "We have to start to do this (marketing) thing and see where it goes. I do want to do it, but... Maybe I wouldn't mind, but I don't know. I don't know if I want to be (a marketing icon) or not." The Canucks have certainly been working hard, and in concert with the New York-based firm J. Michael Bloom, to milk Bure's marketing possibilities fully:

...

The NHL has bought marketing rights to seven Russian hockey teams - uniform jerseys coming soon to a store near you - and Bure will be the pitchman. Canstar is beginning a hockey-equipment campaign based around Bure and a Pavelocity slogan. Nike is apparently extremely interested in using Bure, both in cross-training advertising and in a street-hockey/rollerblade campaign. Coca-Cola and General Motors are other possibilities, as is a Pavel candy bar.

...

"We have reason to believe he could achieve the (endorsement) levels of Mario Lemieux, perhaps even Wayne Gretzky at some point," Ringdal said. "He would do it in a different way, of course. Wayne is very articulate. Mario has other qualities. Pavel is extremely attractive in an appearance way. His characteristics as a hockey player, his special acceleration, could be played upon.

"Because of his language barrier and his personal demeanour he comes across in a James Dean sort of way. He's got the look and the attitude." It is a look and attitude that not only the Canucks hope will sell. The NHL is watching keenly. Commissioner Gary Bettman joined the league from the National Basketball Association, which rose to popularity by hanging on to the winged sneakers of individual stars such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. With the NHL soon to appear on Fox TV in the United States, Bettman seeks marketable young talent to replace fading icons such as Wayne Gretzky.

"Gary and I were lawyers at the same New York City bar association," said Marc Perman, Bure's New York-based commercial agent. Perman works for the J. Michael Bloom agency and his other clients include commercially successful basketball superstar Charles Barkley. "It was Gary who got me involved in this. The league has a real vested interest in making Pavel happen." Neither Perman nor Ringdal think Vancouver will prove a handicap in the selling of Bure. They think of him as an emerging star in an emerging city. "Obviously it would be ideal if he played in Los Angeles or New York," Perman said.
Paul Hunter's article, written from a Torontonian perspective, provides a very captivating look at Pavel's appeal and how it transcended boundaries. He was not only popular amongst hockey fans but even non-hockey fans:
Quote:
Bure's electrifying play is taking NHL by storm: [AM Edition]
Paul Hunter TORONTO STAR. Toronto Star [Toronto, Ont] 07 Jan 1993: D3.

On Church Street, outside Maple Leaf Gardens, the ubiquitous horde of autograph seekers was about three times its normal size.

Inside, the gaggle of reporters was equally disproportionate.

This was no ordinary game-morning skate. The Russian Rocket had touched down in Toronto.

Pavel Bure, the 21-year-old who sets teenage girls - and opposition defences - aquiver was in town with his Vancouver teammates to weave his magic.

In a 5-2 win against the Leafs last night, he potted a goal and an assist in what, for him, was an average outing. Though not quite at full amperage, he still managed to electrify the crowd with his now familiar bursts of speed and ballet-like moves.

For the first time in its history, Vancouver - the team that lost the chance to draft Gilbert Perreault on the spin of roulette wheel - has perhaps the most exciting player in the game.

Pavelmania is sweeping the west coast.

Vancouver sports stores have trouble keeping his No. 10 jersey in stock. At the Pacific Coliseum fans come to chant his name. Even in Toronto, more than 500 admirers lined up for hours at a downtown store last year to get his name scrawled on a piece of memorabilia.

"Lots of people come up to me and wish me luck or just shake hands - nice people," he says.

In the fan balloting for this year's NHL all-star team, those nice people gave Bure more votes than Luc Robitaille or Steve Larmer to make the Russian one of the starting wingers on the Campbell Conference team. He even outpolled such luminaries as Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman and Jeremy Roenick.

His popularity is something even Bure himself doesn't fully understand.

...

"I don't know why (I'm so popular). I get so much attention from the media. In Russia it was not like this. In Russia, sometimes you'd be in the newspaper; sometimes on TV but here it is every day. Even after practice I have to talk to reporters.

...

That Bure, the NHL's top rookie last season, is from hockey's once-hated evil empire makes this outpouring of admiration even more notable. But this is not about borders. It is about the pure pleasure of watching a player with boundless grace raise the game to an art form.

...

"He's easily the most exciting player in the league," team captain Trevor Linden said yesterday.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...29/1/index.htm
Quote:
December 07, 1992
Moscow-born right wing Pavel Bure is having a blast in Vancouver
Austin Murphy

Glen Ringdal's job suddenly got much easier on Oct. 31, 1991. That was the day the Vancouver Canucks signed Pavel Bure. At long last Ringdal, the Canucks' marketing director, had someone to market.

...

Finally, the tact gives way to candor. "I guess there were no real stars before Pavel, who holds the audience captive every time the puck is on his stick," says Ringdal. "The fans liked Harold. What you have with Pavel is more of an idolization, like you get with certain musical artists. Like you got with Elvis."

Hyperbole? Two thousand people attended Bure's first practice in Vancouver, on Nov. 3, 1991. The freebie 8-by 10-inch glossies of Bure that the Canucks once distributed before home games now sell for up to $25 on the memorabilia market. There was such a crush for the pictures, says Ringdal, that "the people handing them out were getting mauled."

...

"He can take the puck from behind our net, carry it down the ice and score," says Linden. "That's rare."

That's Bure. With 24 goals at the end of last week, he was on a pace to score 81 this season. In their 22-year, Stanley Cup-less history, the Canucks have never had a 50-goal scorer. Until Bure won last year's Calder Trophy as the league's best rookie, no Vancouver player had ever won an NHL postseason award. Linden, the Canucks' former glamour-puss, now gets letters like this one:

Dear Trevor,

You've always been my favorite Canuck, so could you get me Pavel's autograph?

"Humbling," says Linden. Overwhelming, admits Bure, who has hired someone to deal with the sacks of fan mail. The Russian Rocket, as Bure has been christened locally, is seen all over town. There he is, decked out to resemble James Dean, in a fashion spread in Western Living magazine, which gushed, "We think [Dean's] Little Boy Lost good looks have been reincarnated in Pavel Bure." And there he is in Canuck ads in bus shelters and on billboards: Where Linden's photo once appeared, there is now a picture of Bure, a rocket on his back, with a caption reading, WE HAVE LIFTOFF.
Unfortunately, one of Pavel's greatest curses was simply playing for the Canucks instead of another team; as Perman mentions, had he played for the Kings or Rangers he would have had automatic success from a league-wide marketing standpoint. Instead, few fans outside of Vancouver ever had a chance to watch him, perhaps lending to the reasons for so many misconceptions about his early game and the extra work needed to market Pavel. Had he been in a larger market, his on-ice feats would have done all of the work necessary. Being in Vancouver certainly obscured Pavel to some and to this day complicates many fans' understanding of his early game:
Quote:
Bure, Kovalev battle for title of top Russian in Stanley Cup: [FINAL Edition]
Beamish, Mike. The Vancouver Sun [Vancouver, B.C] 02 June 1994: C3.

RYE, N.Y. -- Pavel Bure's Stanley Cup final debut could be compared with a Broadway play that drew mixed reviews. The public scored it low in artistic appeal; the critics saw some merit.

``Everybody says we shut Pavel Bure down,'' said the Rangers' Craig MacTavish. ``But yet, he makes the play to win the hockey game. Now if that's shutting a player down, that speaks volumes for the player.''

Since New Yorkers only see the Russian Rocket zip across their their TV screens on late-night, pick-of-the-month highlight clips, his flight into Madison Square Garden was eagerly anticipated.

...

Kovalev, 21, wants to be known as the NHL's best Russian, or at least Bure's equal.

``I think the fact he's playing against Pavel Bure has really motivated him,'' said Ranger coach Mike Keenan.
Stephen Brunt articulates the sheer pleasure of having the opportunity to watch Bure; through this lens, we can understand that the hockey world rarely saw Pavel, but when they did they were in awe:
Quote:
Bure stands alone in his own world of possibilities
Brunt, Stephen. The Globe and Mail [Toronto, Ont] 19 May 1994: E.8.

...

With the Vancouver Canucks pressing hard in the first period last night, Pavel Bure picked up the puck behind the Toronto Maple Leafs' net... he paused for an instant and flipped the puck over the mesh in a high, tumbling arc... And then -- think of a quarterback running to catch his own pass -- somehow Bure was there when the puck landed in the slot, before his teammates, before the Leaf defenders. He wheeled and snapped a shot on net.

...

As was the case after Wayne Gretzky's bounce-in goal last spring, the one that finally broke the Maple Leafs' heart, a debate began as to whether Bure was trying to do what it seemed he was, or whether it was just a bit of dumb luck.

A lesson learned: there's usually no point in questioning genius. Among the Vancouverites, it was just another piece of ho-hum brilliance from the most explosive player in the sport.

...

This was not, however, a case of style without substance.

...

On the Maple Leafs' side of these playoffs, it's rarely been so intense. Toronto has no Bure, though, and if anything, that was the difference. The Leafs' greatest artists, even the splendid Doug Gilmour, are more of the house-painting variety, providing high value for honest toil, but nothing to take your breath away.

Bure is a nonpareil, a van Gogh, a Picasso, a Charlie Parker. Like those other great No. 10s -- Pele, Maradona, Roberto Baggio, not Bill Berg -- he is someone who sees in his game a world of possibilities that just never occur to others... His early flourish last night was followed closely by his scoring the first goal of the game, a beautiful solo effort in which he left a Toronto defenceman flat on his back before firing the puck high past Felix Potvin.

...

There were other chances to follow, none of which Bure could finish. "I was frustrated when I couldn't score," he said. "I could have scored tonight four or five times." His most significant shift may well have been one that didn't put his name on the scoresheet. When the Canucks scored the game winner on a third period power play, as Jyrki Lumme cruised in from the blueline to pick up a pass in the slot, it was Bure's presence in front of the net that held the attention of the Toronto defence... And then, in the final minute, with Potvin on the bench for an extra attacker, Bure stayed on the ice not for the circus act, but for his defensive abilities, to help steer away the final Toronto surge.

That's like asking van Gogh to paint your bedroom or Bird to play polka... But those who know the muse can do it any way they choose.
Especially considering the Canucks were a very defensive team, Bure was the sole attraction for many fans when they had an opportunity to watch his team:
Quote:
Canucks hand Habs rare home defeat: [Final Edition]
The Ottawa Citizen [Ottawa, Ont] 29 Nov 1992: C3.

Peter Nedved scored two goals as Vancouver handed Montreal a rare home defeat with a victory over the Canadiens on Saturday night.

Nedved's second of the game and 14th of the season 2:53 into the third period proved the game-winner in a shootout between two of the league stingiest defensive sides.

Sergio Momesso, Gerald Diduck, Greg Adams and Pavel Bure also scored for the Canucks, who showed little fatigue in their third road game in four nights.

Vancouver improved to 14-9-2 and became the first team from the Campbell Conference to defeat Montreal in nine games this season. It was only the second loss in 14 home games for the Canadiens.
Quote:
Bure ignites Canucks attack: [Final Edition]
Edmonton Journal [Edmonton, Alta] 13 Oct 1992: D4.

...

CANUCKS 8 JETS 1

Pavel Bure scored four times Monday night, including three in the second period, when Vancouver manhandled the Winnipeg Jets 8-1 in a rare show of offensive firepower for the defensive-minded Canucks.

...

Bure added his fourth marker in the last period - his second shorthanded effort of the night.
In fact, without Bure, the team really was not that good:
Quote:
Bure's ill-timed faux pas could be decisive major, misconducyt hedlyne here for Mike on Monday morning please: [FINAL Edition]
Beamish, Mike. The Vancouver Sun [Vancouver, B.C] 06 June 1994: D2.

Older hockey fans, if asked what they best remember about Maurice (Rocket) Richard, the player, undoubtedly would point to the eyes.

...

Magnetic like his namesake, Pavel Bure is a spiritual descendant of the original Rocket in at least one other respect. When he isn't scoring in bombastic clusters, the Russian Rocket is embellishing his reputation as a guy not to mess with.

``He's got legs like a horse and when he delivers a blow you think you've been hit by a train,'' says Bure's agent, Ron Salcer.

It's the cruel beauty of the Rocket. He carves out his own space, literally.

When Bure crushed Shane Churla's head with his flying elbow in the second round of the playoffs against Dallas, the series pivoted on the blow. To see their toughest player reduced to insensibilty took the effervescence out of the Texas team. The Stars' Stanley Cup bubbles went flat.

Unfortunately, for Canuck fans, it is time to accept the other part, the downside risk when Bure resorts to his own brand of retributive justice (to borrow a phrase from Mike Keenan's Thesaurus): namely, that he isn't very valuable sitting in the press box.

...

Sent to the showers for high-sticking and cutting the Ranger defenceman at 18:21 of the first period, the game tied 1-1, Bure exposed the Canucks as a one-ring circus. His value as a franchise player increased by the minute as the Canucks, rudderless without Bure, floundered and and fell 5-1 to the Rangers.

``We play a much sounder game defensively when Pavel's flying, as he was in the first period,'' says Cliff Ronning. ``When we lose him, it's important that other guys help out more offensively.''
In regards to his importance, Pavel was considered by many to be a top candidate for the 1993 Hart Trophy. I've already posted Bob McKenzie's thoughts in another post in which Pavel is named a top candidate. This certainly added to his popularity at the time:
Quote:
Wide-open field for NHL's MVP: [Final Edition]
Matheson, Jim. Edmonton Journal [Edmonton, Alta] 31 Jan 1993: C6.

In the last 10 years there's only been two close votes for MVP. In 1981, Wayne Gretzky beat Mike Liut, who's now going to law school and working for the players' association, by five votes. In 1990, Mark Messier edged Ray Bourque by two votes in the closest race in history.

...

This year's race could be the most wide-open in 25 years. It's easier to say who won't win: Mario Lemieux, Messier, Gretzky, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch or Bourque. Unless Lemieux makes a remarkable return in a month after radiation treatment, here are the six leading candidates:

* Pavel Bure, Pat LaFontaine, Adam Oates and Alexander Mogilny - four guys chasing the absent Lemieux for the scoring title -along with Chicago's Chris Chelios and Ed Belfour.

* Here's one man's mid-season vote:

1. Chelios 2. Bure 3. Belfour.

...

Bure is the most exciting on the list, probably the fastest at making moves in traffic. He could become the seventh guy to score 70 goals and first European to legitimately have a shot at the MVP. The fact his Vancouver team is challenging for No. 1 overall gives him an edge over the first four guys on the list.
Perhaps the reason for so many misconceptions about Pavel's early game stem from the lack of opportunities for fans from other markets to watch him. There are many, many articles available from the period to establish that he was crucial to his team both offensively and defensively. I elaborate on that point in more detail here: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...7&postcount=72

Despite these few chances to watch Bure, though, he was a very popular player around the league; as noted earlier, he was a favorite in the 1993 NHL All-Star fan balloting. Bure's popularity across the league in the early 1990s was astounding. He looked to be one of the next faces of the league if not for three factors: 1) his injuries, beginning in 1995, which had a substantial effect on his performance the following few seasons and ultimately ended his career; 2) his relationship with the team, which at times caused him to be looked upon as a villain; 3) his own humility and unwillingness to be viewed as a superstar.
The third point is articulated here:
Quote:
The ripple effect of Pavel Bure's pectorals: [National Edition]
Banks, Kerry. National Post [Don Mills, Ont] 06 Nov 1999: B3.

...

In Bure's case, the attraction is magnified because he projects an androgynous allure, as James Dean did. He appeals to both men and women. A few hockey players in the past have possessed this quality. Author Roy MacGregor, citing the young Wayne Gretzky as an example, told me: "I've always thought that Gretzky resembled Princess Diana. You could see it especially in his downcast eyes and shy smile. It was a very disarming quality. Bure has the same appeal. It cuts across all kinds of levels."

...

As part of Bure's new $25- million (US) contract, the club had acquired the marketing rights to his image and likeness. According to the deal, the team would earn the first $500,000 from selling Bure's rights, with a 50-50 split taking effect past that point. The team believed it could eventually recoup a fifth of its overall investment by selling the photogenic Russian's marketing rights.

To help make this a reality, a New York-based talent agency, J. Michael Bloom and Associates, was hired to develop marketing vehicles for Bure. Projects considered included a pictorial biography; a video about his life and times; a bit part in a new Mighty Ducks hockey movie; a hockey-equipment advertising campaign with Canstar based around a "Pavelocity" slogan; endorsements for Nike, Coca-Cola and General Motors; and even a Bure candy bar.

None of these endeavours bore fruit. In fact, nothing of any significance was ever accomplished in terms of marketing the NHL's flashiest player, due largely to Bure's lack of interest in becoming a public-relations tool. Although the Russian Rocket was a dedicated athlete, he was always a reluctant superstar.
Quote:
Works Cited

Banks, Kerry. "The Ripple Effect of Pavel Bure's Pectorals." National Post: 0. Nov 06 1999. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

Beamish, Mike. "Bure, Kovalev Battle for Title of Top Russian in Stanley Cup." The Vancouver Sun: 0. Jun 02 1994. ProQuest. Web. 25 Oct. 2013 .

Beamish, Mike. "Bure's Ill-Timed Faux Pas could be Decisive Major, Misconducyt Hedlyne here for Mike on Monday Morning Please." The Vancouver Sun: 0. Jun 06 1994. ProQuest. Web. 25 Oct. 2013 .

Brunt, Stephen. "Bure Stands Alone in His Own World of Possibilities." The Globe and Mail: 0. May 19 1994. ProQuest. Web. 17 Oct. 2013 .

"Bure Ignites Canucks Attack." Edmonton Journal: 0. Oct 13 1992. ProQuest. Web. 25 Oct. 2013 .

Campbell, Neil A. "Bure can't Bear Standing in Glare of Publicity MARKETING MANIA / the Canucks and the NHL have a Vested Interest in the Selling of Pavel Bure." The Globe and Mail: 0. Mar 27 1995. ProQuest. Web. 23 Oct. 2013 .

"Canucks Hand Habs Rare Home Defeat." The Ottawa Citizen: 0. Nov 29 1992. ProQuest. Web. 25 Oct. 2013 .

Hunter, Paul. "Bure's Electrifying Play is Taking NHL by Storm." Toronto Star: 0. Jan 07 1993. ProQuest. Web. 23 Oct. 2013 .

Matheson, Jim. "Wide-Open Field for NHL's MVP." Edmonton Journal: 0. Jan 31 1993. ProQuest. Web. 25 Oct. 2013 .
Pavel had an incredible amount of marketing potential with his style of play, excitement factor, and especially his appearance. He had an appeal that extended beyond the interests of the diehard hockey fan. In Vancouver, he was already the most popular person in the city -- a true celebrity -- and he was the primary reason for the exponential growth of hockey's popularity here. He was a rock star in Vancouver and was always the talk of the town even amongst non-hockey fans. The league was ready to introduce him to the entire hockey world. If not for his injury in 1995 and his poor relationship with management, he might very well have been pushed to become the next face of the NHL. Upon returning from his first major, he was injured again for the entire 1996-97 season, then he held out for half of the 1998-99 season. Once he was traded, he was buried in Florida and never reached that level of star power again despite his personal on-ice success.

Bure seemed on his way towards becoming the league's next poster-boy and had all of that taken away from him very quickly. The NHL had already begun plans to market him aggressively to the hockey world, but his injuries, quarrels with upper Canucks management, and consequent reluctance to take part in their marketing plans threw all of that off course.

Perhaps Pavel was unfortunate to have been drafted by Vancouver. While next week we celebrate his number retirement at Rogers Arena, we also may reflect on how much greater his career could have been both in his on-ice accomplishments and his off-ice recognition. He was at a point in the early 1990s when he very well could have become the next face of the league if not for injuries and personal decisions.









Last edited by JetsAlternate: 10-27-2013 at 04:10 AM.
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10-27-2013, 10:29 AM
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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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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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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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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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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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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
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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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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10-27-2013, 08:32 PM
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You said "clearly a step up" though. I don't think that was any longer the case. Beginning in the 09 playoffs, actually.
Between October 2009 and February 2010, Ovechkin scored 89 points in 54 games. That's on par with some of his previous seasons, I'd say.
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Originally Posted by Gustafsson View Post
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.
The first article I quoted, I think, makes clear just how intrigued the league was in the prospect of marketing Pavel Bure. I'll quote that excerpt here:
http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...05&postcount=1
Quote:
The NHL has bought marketing rights to seven Russian hockey teams - uniform jerseys coming soon to a store near you - and Bure will be the pitchman. Canstar is beginning a hockey-equipment campaign based around Bure and a Pavelocity slogan. Nike is apparently extremely interested in using Bure, both in cross-training advertising and in a street-hockey/rollerblade campaign. Coca-Cola and General Motors are other possibilities, as is a Pavel candy bar.

...

"We have reason to believe he could achieve the (endorsement) levels of Mario Lemieux, perhaps even Wayne Gretzky at some point," Ringdal said. "He would do it in a different way, of course. Wayne is very articulate. Mario has other qualities. Pavel is extremely attractive in an appearance way. His characteristics as a hockey player, his special acceleration, could be played upon.

"Because of his language barrier and his personal demeanour he comes across in a James Dean sort of way. He's got the look and the attitude." It is a look and attitude that not only the Canucks hope will sell. The NHL is watching keenly. Commissioner Gary Bettman joined the league from the National Basketball Association, which rose to popularity by hanging on to the winged sneakers of individual stars such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. With the NHL soon to appear on Fox TV in the United States, Bettman seeks marketable young talent to replace fading icons such as Wayne Gretzky.

"Gary and I were lawyers at the same New York City bar association," said Marc Perman, Bure's New York-based commercial agent. Perman works for the J. Michael Bloom agency and his other clients include commercially successful basketball superstar Charles Barkley. "It was Gary who got me involved in this. The league has a real vested interest in making Pavel happen."

Neither Perman nor Ringdal think Vancouver will prove a handicap in the selling of Bure. They think of him as an emerging star in an emerging city. "Obviously it would be ideal if he played in Los Angeles or New York," Perman said.


Pavel didn't just have the on-ice appeal, but also the features of a teen idol. He drew crowds from a wider demographic than most hockey players ever could. The league wanted to capitalize not only on his incredible on-ice abilities but also on his image. Especially prior to his first injury, Pavel was a hot commodity. If not for the injuries and his own lack of certainty about being a public marketing tool, the league may very well have placed him on ads, billboards, and in major marketing campaigns.

Here's an excerpt from an article from January 1993:
Quote:
Fanfare: [1* Edition]
The Province [Vancouver, B.C] 25 Jan 1993: B1.

COVER BOY:

Face it, is there a sports publication anywhere in these parts, including this one, that hasn't jumped on the Pavel Bure bandwagon?

You can now add Inside Sports to that list as well. The magazine had a photographer waiting for Bure when the Canucks were in Los Angeles last week to take his picture for an upcoming cover. Sports Illustrated did an earlier piece, which came on the heels of a fashion spread in Time magazine. For Time's piece, a reporter followed Bure's every move.

All this publicity is nice, but as Jim Robson noted on a recent broadcast, isn't it about time the Canucks took it upon themselves to start hyping Bure as a Hart Trophy candidate on their own?
A month prior to that, Sports Illustrated featured Pavel. I've quoted part of that Sports Illustrated article in the OP. Below is a brief commentary on that article:
Quote:
FANFARE: [1* Edition]
The Province [Vancouver, B.C] 02 Dec 1992: B1.

HITTING BIG TIME:

You're nothing in sports as an athlete if you are profiled in any publication other than Sports Illustrated. So for that reason, Pavel Bure of the Canucks is now officially big-time.

This week's edition of SI features a four-page profile on the Russian Rocket, which isn't terribly more revealing than anything you've read in this esteemed publication since Bure's arrival.

There are exceptions. One passage refers to a time when father Vladimir Bure nearly pulled his son out of the Red Army hockey program in the former Soviet Union as a six year old if Pavel didn't show some improvement as a player.

Another paragraph suggests Bure is a tad embarrassed about the Canucks' season-long marketing campaign, which features a picture at every other bus stop in town of a rocket on Bure's back under the heading We Have Lift-Off.

Says Bure: "In Russia, I was not Rocket. I was just regular guy."
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
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?
Thanks for the kind words, TDMM. I'm happy to share my thoughts, and I always appreciate the discussion.

I think the glaring statements that suggest the league's intentions to market Bure are the ones in reference to J. Michael Bloom, Bettman, Nike, Coca-Cola, and General Motors. The NHL head office seemed very serious about promoting Pavel as the league's next poster-boy, and many of these plans were discussed just prior to his first injury. The injury without a doubt halted those plans as Pavel was gone for the full 1995-96 season beginning in late 1995. All of the momentum that had been built prior to that was suddenly interrupted.

Pavel's appeal reached a wide demographic as mentioned. He appealed to hockey fans for his flashy and impressive play, but he was also a major teenage heartthrob and certainly a sex symbol. He had a mysterious aura about him, and had several qualities that few other hockey players had both in his appearance and personality, something alluded to in the other articles as well: some, such as Marc Perman, called him the James Dean of hockey; others compare him to Elvis for the powerful effects he had on the city of Vancouver and the rest of Canada. I think it's clear why the hockey world saw him as the league's next major promotional figure if not for the setbacks that eventually derailed these plans.

Quote:
The ripple effect of Pavel Bure's pectorals: [National Edition]
Banks, Kerry. National Post [Don Mills, Ont] 06 Nov 1999: B3.

When readers of the Vancouver Sun picked up their papers on Sept. 6, 1994, they came face-to-face with a front-page photo of Pavel Bure naked to the waist. The picture had been strategically positioned above the fold so that until you opened the paper, it was impossible to tell how far south his nakedness extended. The shot had been taken by photographer Ralph Bower as Bure was undergoing a "pinch test" -- sports scientist Ted Rhodes was applying calipers to Bure's waistline to estimate his body fat. Judging by his densely muscled torso, there didn't appear to be any.

Canucks management was upset by the beefcake. The Sun, it said, had broken the rules. No players were to be photographed during physical-fitness testing. The Canucks' sensitivity was the result of an incident that had occurred a couple of years before when a wire- service photographer had snapped a picture of a naked Wayne Gretzky as he emerged from the shower. The Gretzky shot had been cropped at his waist when it was published, but the photographer sent a copy of the full-frontal version to a friend and the photo eventually made its way into the public domain. After that, the National Hockey League banned still photographers from its dressing rooms.

According to Bower, the photo came about completely by chance. He was standing outside an empty theatre complex at the Coliseum used for after-game functions when the Russian was brought in for his physical. Since it was a public setting, Bure was wearing sweatpants.

"I looked over and the doc winked at me and I stepped up and took the shot," Bower recalls. Bure voiced no objections. "A few days later I asked him to autograph a couple of prints for me. He had a big grin on his face. He said to me, 'Hey, Ralph, are you working for Playboy now?' " The photo was a huge hit. More than 4,000 extra copies of the paper were sold that day and Bower received a lot of mail from women.


In a 1993 article about Teemu Selanne, Mike Beamish outlines the differences in the cultural effects of Selanne and Bure:
Quote:
Selanne shares Hart spotlight with our own Russian Rocket: [1* Edition]
Beamish, Mike. The Vancouver Sun [Vancouver, B.C] 23 Jan 1993: E1.

...

Vancouver - Hollywood North - has a groupie's infatuation with Bure, but Winnipeg's curious caution won't allow the same level of rock-star rapture. Maybe it's because Jets' fans are concerned about Selanne's long-term future in Winnipeg.
Quote:
Bure leads popularity polls: [*1 Edition]
Gilchrist, Kent. The Province [Vancouver, B.C] 03 Mar 1993: A45.

It should be Pavel Bure Day. Nobody would mind if the civic leaders declared March 1 a holiday.

...

This being hockey-mad Vancouver and the Canucks having to wait until their 23rd season for their first 50-goal scorer, it isn't that far-fetched to think someone may ask Bure to run for the Liberal leadership.

So what if he doesn't have his Canadian citizenship. So what if he has only been in town a couple of years. He could not only get elected leader by the Liberal Party, but probably take them to a win in the next provincial election!

This kid has the city, indeed the province, at his feet. In less than two seasons, Bure is the most popular athlete to ever play games for money here.

He has his own fan club. He does advertisements with the Wingnut at the Hockey Nut radio station for a car dealership.

There is a Bure video. A Bure calendar. There are Russian Rocket billboards. There are television ads.

And he is just scratching the surface. He is the Franchise Player the organization has been unable to acquire or keep; if you count Cam Neely as the club's only other potential Franchise Player.

Neely scored more than 50 goals in back-to-back seasons for Boston Bruins after Canucks gave him away and so did Ricky Vaive, but Bure should easily go over 60 before the end of this season.

He led the team in goals last year when he got 34 in only 65 games. And he was rewarded with the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's best rookie. It was the first major award for a Vancouver player.

This year he was a Hart Trophy candidate until he lost ground to the likes of Mario Lemieux, Pat LaFontaine and Doug Gilmour.

...

There are few 50- goal scorers in the history of the NHL that can electrify the fans the way Bure does.

If he hasn't already agreed to run for the Liberal leadership, the Canucks would be wise to tie him up to a long, long-term contract as soon as possible.
As for Pavel's place as a Hart candidate in 1993, he was on pace for an incredible sophomore year on an otherwise offensively-lackluster team. We can look at his 1992-93 splits to see what went wrong -- an unusual cold streak between February and April 1993 in which he only scored at a point-per-game pace, dropping from a 122-point and 70-goal pace between October and January. While in other seasons he usually finished quite strong, this season he inexplicably slowed down. Certainly before March, however, the majority of analysts viewed Pavel as a favorite to win the Hart. Here are the NHL coaches' opinions from February 1993:
Quote:
And this year's winners are . . . The Star's Bob McKenzie's Best of Everything Coaches' Poll results: [SA2 Edition]
McKenzie, Bob. Toronto Star [Toronto, Ont] 13 Feb 1993: D4.

...

Four of the 21 coaches polled chose someone other than Mario, citing Lemieux's indefinite absence as the reason. Still, if Lemieux can return from treatment of Hodgkin's disease in this extended regular season (it ends April 15) and pick up where he left off, he must still be considered a favorite for the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

...

Voting results: Lemieux (17 ), Chelios (1), Bourque (1), Selanne (1), Bure (1).

...

Best stickhandler: Mario Lemieux

...

Lemieux received 14 of 21 votes. The only other player to get more than one was Pavel Bure, Vancouver's Russian Rocket.

Voting results: Lemieux (14), Bure (3), Pat LaFontaine (1), Teemu Selanne (1), Jeremy Roenick (1), Wayne Gretzky (1).

...

Smartest player: Mario Lemieux

...

Voting results: Lemieux (11), Ray Bourque (2), Adam Oates (2), Doug Gilmour (2), Wayne Gretzky (2), Chris Chelios (1), Pavel Bure (1).

...

Best penalty killer: Dave Poulin

As a team, the Bruins' penalty killing efficiency could use some improvement (16th over-all), but Boston centre Dave Poulin still gets top marks in this discipline - only just.

Poulin received four votes and five others, including Gilmour, had two each in a diversified vote. The notable absentee? Washington's Kelly Miller.

Voting results: Poulin (4), Gilmour (2), Mario Lemieux (2), Pavel Bure (2), Dirk Graham (2), Sergei Fedorov (2), Mike Ridley (2), Gaetan Duchesne (1), Neal Broten (1), Craig MacTavish (1), Guy Carbonneau (1), Ron Wilson (1).

Best skater: Pavel Bure

...

Eight coaches chose Bure, while four opted for New York Rangers veteran Mike Gartner, who won the fastest skater title at the all- star skills competition.

"Bure has the best combination of speed, agility and balance," one NHL coach said. "He can also use change of speed better than anybody in the league right now."

Voting results: Bure (8), Gartner (4), Paul Coffey (3), Sergei Fedorov (2), Teemu Selanne (2), Pat LaFontaine (1), Chris Chelios (1).

...
In discussions with NHL general managers about who the first ever European Hart Trophy winner would be, many pointed towards Bure:
Quote:
Bure hot topic in heart-to-Hart chat: [SA2 Edition]
Milt Dunnell TORONTO STAR. Toronto Star [Toronto, Ont] 09 Jan 1993: B5.

...

But Pat was lucky - as he has been on many occasions, such as that day he leaned so heavily on Bobby Orr and escaped mob justice in the Boston Gawden. He was able to retrieve his cigar when the intruder turned out to be a newspaper wretch with nothing more important to do than ask Pat to guess who will be the first European invader to win the Hart Trophy.

...

So far, they've had one thing in common. All have been North Americans.

With so many outstanding Europeans in the league now, there is going to be a breakthrough and attorney Quinn would appear to have one of the more likely candidates on his roster. His latest and most talented Muscovite, Pavel Bure, may be young (21) but he has a tendency to get things humming in a hurry. Since fleeing from the gulag of Victor Tikhonov, the old stoneface of the one-time Soviet Superbas, in 1991, Bure has been married, divorced and endowed with a contract worth $2.7 million.

"Bure would be on a very short list," Pat Quinn concedes, pondering the possible future Hart candidates of European origin. "He has the ingredients to which one would look. Leads our club in shorthanded goals, winning goals, has the type of skills that can change the momentum of a game or create a spectacular play. He has great acceleration and can control the puck at high speeds. Henri Richard used to do that. This kid (Bure) adds a little stutter step, which enables him to beat you inside or outside."

...

Larionov was good, but far from great. Krutov was a complete flop. Bure makes it easy for Quinn to forget those disappointments.

"First European to win the Hart would be either Bure, Mats Sundin or Sergei Fedorov on my list," says Bill Watters, former broadcaster, now assistant GM of the Leafs. His boss, Cliff Fletcher, agrees - in part.

...

"(Bure) is the most exciting young player in the game today. As good as Fedorov is, I doubt he has Bure's potential."
Bure's value was extremely high in the early 1990s and certainly prior to his 1995 injury; leading up to the 1992 NHL Awards (in which Pavel won the Calder Trophy), Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher stated that if his team had possession of Bure he would not relinquish his rights even for Eric Lindros:
Quote:
MVP fits Messier like a glove: Canucks in running for year-end silverware: [1* Edition]
Beamish, Mike. The Vancouver Sun [Vancouver, B.C] 28 Mar 1992: E1.

...

CALDER (top rookie) -

...

Bure, bidding to become the first Vancouver player to win an individual award in the franchise's 22-year history, might be a lock if the season was 90 games long. Barring a strike, however, the Red Rocket can participate in a maximum of 65 games; he will miss almost 20 per cent of the 80-game schedule.

...

A number of voters belatedly have jumped aboard the Bure bandwagon, swayed by glimpses of his high-voltage rushes and unqualified endorsements by respected hockey men such as Cliff Fletcher. The Toronto GM says he wouldn't trade Bure for Eric Lindros.

...

My choice: Pavel Bure.
Even amongst the Eastern media who hardly had an opportunity to watch Pavel, he was a near-unanimous choice to win the Calder Trophy.
Quote:
It's a landslide for Bure: Poll reveals Russian Rocket is easy rookie-of-the-year winner: [1* Edition]
Gallagher, Tony. The Province [Vancouver, B.C] 31 May 1992: B3.

So much for speculation. This prediction you can take to the Safeway and spend. You heard it here first. Pavel Bure is the NHL rookie of the year.

An extensive, informal survey of the writers filling out ballots in the voting for rookie of the year has made it abundantly clear the Russian Rocket is over the top. It is not close. It's landslide city and the Canucks will be paying out his bonus money - quite happily, as it turns out.

...

Bure swept New York. Eastern bigotry is on the wane, at least within the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

...

And there is the fact Bure deserves to be the winner based purely on merit, given he missed 15 games and was eased into offensive and power-play situations slowly by coach Pat Quinn.

Bure also does not have to worry about winning based on vote- splitting between Lidstrom and Amonte.

...

Bure topped the bill on so many, splitting was not a factor.
Canucks coach Pat Quinn also acknowledged how happy he was with Pavel's play, another indication of Bure's integration into Quinn's strong defensive system. My post in the OP links to more evidence of Pavel's strong two-way play in the early 1990s:
Quote:
Canucks shine: Quinn and Bure haul in NHL hardware: [1* Edition]
Jamieson, Jim. The Province [Vancouver, B.C] 17 June 1992: B1.

...

As expected, Pat Quinn captured the Adams Trophy as coach of the year and, as predicted last month by a Province poll, right winger Pavel Bure was honored with the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie.

...

"It means a heckuva lot to me," said Quinn, who became the first individual to win the award with two teams, having won in Philly in 1980. "It's been quite a day. (With Bure's win) it means a lot to the organization.

...

Quinn punched the air with glee when Bure was announced as the Calder winner.

"I watched him every day," said Quinn. "You see the talent, but there are other ingredients, too, like determination and hard work."

Bure caught fire in the second half of the season after some spectacular games early on that didn't yield much in results. The Russian scored 22 goals and 32 points in his final 23 games
When Wayne Gretzky was asked who his choices for the Hart Trophy would be in February 1993, Bure was one of his answers. This article also references the transition away from the old faces of the NHL to the new faces. Wayne Gretzky was without a doubt fading as the face of the league at that time:
Quote:
Gretzky trade rumor seems bizarre but who knows anymore?: [2* Edition 1]
Beamish, Mike. The Vancouver Sun [Vancouver, B.C] 06 Feb 1993: B8.

...

When reporters ask Gretzky about the Hart, he rhymes off five candidates who have caught his eye for the MVP trophy: Adam Oates, Doug Gilmour and three Europeans - Pavel Bure, Alex Mogilny and Teemu Selanne.

...

It's not hard to see that the NHL is in an unmistakable state of transition. There is a new direction, away from the game's roots, a new commissioner, and the league's wagon is no longer hitched to Gretzky and Lemieux, the two fragile Canadian superstars.

Kevin Stevens, the loquacious Pittsburgh star and the premier left winger in the game, wanders by a media scrum and looks hurt. Maybe he is wondering why no one wants to interview him?

Why? They're all surrounding the two new hot guns, Mogilny and Bure, wanting to know their life stories.
When NHL general managers were asked who the three best players in the league were, Bure's name appeared multiple times:
Quote:
Young talent can sell NHL; Perfect showcase: [Final Edition]
JIM SMITH Newsday. Edmonton Journal [Edmonton, Alta] 06 Feb 1993: H4.

The NHL is delighted that at a time when commissioner Gary Bettman is seeking to expand the league's fan base and re-acquire a network television contract, it has its largest crop of young stars ever.

They will be on display this afternoon in the 44th NHL All-Star Game at the Forum. The league's top three scorers are European right-wingers: Russians Alexander Mogilny of the Buffalo Sabres and Pavel Bure of the Vancouver Canucks and Finnish rookie Teemu Selanne of the Winnipeg Jets. All are contenders for the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

...

"I give up," Capitals general manager David Poile said. "Who are the best three players in the NHL? I wish I had one. Lemieux stands out above everybody else, but you have a dozen next-best players."

...

Islanders GM Don Maloney voted for Mogilny, Bure and Turgeon.

...

Blues GM Ron Caron said, "Bure is a young Yvan Cournoyer, breaking on the fly, beating you and finishing the play with great hands.
We can see what went wrong at the end of the 1992-93 season for Pavel through these two articles:

It's strange that this article was written in November 1992, in the midst of Pavel's early Hart Trophy-worthy play that year. He had tremendous pressure on him, and perhaps was unfairly judged when he slowed down to a point-per-game pace at the end of the season. The Canucks media were relentless and unfair most of the time as we'll see a bit later in this post.
Quote:
Holy slump, Batman!: Even Bure struggling: [1* Edition]
Jamieson, Jim. The Province [Vancouver, B.C] 01 Nov 1992: B2.

Everybody feels the heat when the team's in a slump.

But it's been a unique experience for Pavel Bure, who's been treated as a wunderkind here since the day he joined the Vancouver Canucks almost one year ago.

...

Just as the Canucks' first-place finish in the Smythe Division last season has raised expectations for the club, so has Bure's 34- goal rookie season brought tremendous pressure to bear on him to perform.

Last season's NHL rookie of the year started off like a Hart Trophy contender, with five goals - including one four-goal outing - and eight points in his first three games. But in the subsequent six games, Bure has just three points - all goals. An acceptable pace for an ordinary mortal, but disappointing for the standards the 21- year-old Russian right winger set for himself last season.

"I play so-so, a few games not so good," shrugged Bure when asked to assess his play so far. "For me - 10 games, eight goals - it's OK, I'm not worried about it. I'm just upset the team's not playing well."

...

Bure had some good chances against the North Stars, including a breakaway in the first period with Minnesota leading 2-1. But, like the rest of the Canucks, he couldn't convert.

"Sometimes you score, sometimes you don't," said Bure, who did assist on Doug Lidster's power-play goal. "Against Winnipeg (the four-goal game) everything I shoot goes in the net."

...
Here's a particularly vicious article written only months after Pavel was a Conn Smythe candidate in the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs and just prior to the shortened 1994-95 playoffs. This is the kind of trash Pavel sometimes had to deal with, and as his relationship with the team worsened, the media worked hard to paint him as the villain. In this article, Jim Taylor publicly calls for fans to be angry at Pavel for negotiating with the Canucks on recently well-documented, manipulative tactics by the team to cheat Pavel out of his proper earnings:
Quote:
Canucks fans mighty baaad: Wild and woolly masses worship pucksters: [Final Edition]
Taylor, Jim. The Province [Vancouver, B.C] 18 Jan 1995: A43.

Baaaa. Pavel Bure refuses to report to training camp until he gets $1.5 million US for doing absolutely nothing, which he and agent Ron Salcer insist is his contractual right. He could have reported and trained while the suits settled it, as did Jyrki Lumme, whose contract carries the identical clause, although for considerably fewer dollars. But no, he says he won't come back until it's settled.

Do the customers rebel? Of course not. Bure's agent announces that Pavel has changed his mind, that he'll come here and play while the contract hassle is settled -- and all you hear in the streets is "He's coming! Pavel's coming! He's gonna play Friday!" Baaaa. Barely noticed in Salcer's announcement is this little gem: "Pavel weighs about 225 pounds. He's still a rocket, but slower." Bure stands 5-foot-10 and was listed last year at 184 pounds. If he comes in at 225 he won't be the Rocket, he'll be the silo. Is he shooting for the Hart Trophy or the Vladimir Krutov Memorial?

But not to worry. The Rocket is returning. Even at Canuck Central, they've gone into celebration mode, the battles of the past week forgotten. "It's probably been driving Pavel crazy staying away, because he's a competitive kid," says hockey operations boss George McPhee. "He doesn't want to be perceived as this kind of person, because he's not." Excuse me? Salcer is on record from the beginning that the holdout was Bure's idea. Was he fibbing? Was it Salcer's idea and not his client's? If it was Pavel's idea, how can he not be that kind of kid? Who do we blame -- poltergeists? Alien possession? ("I was watching X-Files. Suddenly, strange feeling comes over me. I want to stay in Moscow. I wake up Monday, is gone.") Baaaa!

...

Professional hockey players -- particularly those operating in Canada -- operate on a plane so far off-skew with reality that they might as well be in a different dimension. They don't have customers, they have worshippers. As long as the puck is dropped, the world is spinning as it should. Oh, fans ***** at the ticket prices or the parking or the quality of the hot dogs or the fact that they're not considered adult enough to be allowed beer in the stands. But hey -- Pavel's coming back. He's going to try to earn his money. What a guy, that Rocket.

I honestly felt there'd be a fan backlash over the events of the past four months. Surely the people wouldn't stand for it. Surely some of them would follow through on their threats to stay home, to tell the NHL to kiss off. But no. In a week, it will be as though this whole thing never happened. "Only 48 games left! What a playoff race! Go, Rocket, Go!"

Fortunately, the fans at those open practice sessions weren't allowed over the boards. Their hooves would play hell with the ice.
This article discusses Pavel's slump at the end of the 1992-93 season and particularly recognizes the lack of appropriate linemates to play with him:

Quote:
Bure needs centre to prosper; Russian Rocket flies solo; Commentary: [Final Edition]
ARCHIE MCDONALD Vancouver Sun. Edmonton Journal [Edmonton, Alta] 02 Apr 1993: F2.

Let's play a name association game. I say Kurri. You say Gretzky. I say Richard. You say Lach and Blake. Get the idea?. Bossy? Trottier. Lafleur? Lemaire. Howe? Lindsay and Abel. Dionne? Simmer and Taylor. Mogilny? LaFontaine.

The point is, productive forwards in the NHL invariably run as an entry, often a three-horse entry. One great talent drags others along in his slipstream or two or three players complement each other so completely as to form a single dominating personality.

...

All this serves as a roundabout introduction to the place of Pavel Bure in hockey's dating game. Mention his name and who else comes to mind? I can't think of anyone. He is a gifted soloist but he could make sweeter music if he had someone to sing along with him. His 55 goals and 97 points are far ahead of Geoff Courtnall and Cliff Ronning, skilled players whose talents haven't magically meshed with those of the Russian Rocket.

...

Bure worked well in his freshman season with cagey countryman Igor Larionov and Greg Adams, and earlier this season he co-ordinated smoothly with Adams and Anatoli Semenov, another Russian. But Semenov has been ground down by the rigors of a travel mad 84-game schedule and Adams has sat out 27 games with injuries. So Bure logs a lot of solo flights. He has scored in only one of his last 11 games - a two-goal effort against the disorganized L.A. Kings - which leads to several conclusions. One of which is that he misses Adams, who is large, fast, and goes to the net, more than anyone would have guessed.

Where would Alexander Mogilny be without Pat LaFontaine in Buffalo? Brett Hull hasn't been quite the same since Adam Oates was sent to Boston. Teemu Selanne is brilliant in Winnipeg but he is glowing even more since Soviet Alexei Zhamnov is back making his sly moves. Sometimes Zhamnov looks even better than the Finnish Flash, but he lacks consistency. It doesn't hurt Selanne having Phil Housley on the blue-line either, creating acres of open ice with his lyrical skating. Toronto's Doug Gilmour has been on a Hart Trophy pace most of the year but he's picked up a step now that he's got towering Dave Andreychuk parked in front of the net. In Los Angeles, Luc Robitaille is scorching the opposition now that Gretzky is back in vintage form.

Pat Quinn said on trading deadline that he probably will continue to search "for that big, talented centre until the day I die."

...

Mike Bossy once described the chemistry which existed between him and Bryan Trottier. "It's instinct," he said. "There aren't any little signals. The thing between us is in the communication we have. We're not afraid to tell each other that we should have done this, or we should have done that. As much as Bryan helps me, I've helped him." The Canucks definitely need someone to help Bure. Get well soon, Greg Adams.
This article describes the problem with the Canucks -- a lack of offensive depth. When Pavel slumped, the whole team slumped. When Pavel was ejected from Game 3 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals for his high-stick on Jay Wells, the team's flaws were exposed:
Quote:
How the West will be won: Maple Leafs looking like best of the bunch with those new faces: [FINAL Edition]
MacINTYRE, IAIN. The Vancouver Sun [Vancouver, B.C] 20 Jan 1995: B.5.

...

Winger Pavel Bure is the best young player this side of Eric Lindros, and he'll play with Trevor Linden, who should finally break out offensively. Injuries could cause problems, however, as the Canucks aren't deep at forward. Rookie centre Mike Peca should compensate for the absence of free agent Murray Craven.
Pavel was especially important for his team, and when he slowed down at the end of the 1992-93 season, it very noticeably affected the team, exposing their many deficiencies. He was a definite Hart Trophy favorite by the midpoint of that season, but the particularly harsh and critical Vancouver media, as well as the weaknesses of the team, made apparent just how fragile the Canucks were when Pavel was not playing at the pace everyone expected him to; a point-per-game pace simply was not satisfactory for a player of his stature. He had a slow end to the 1992-93 season, thus taking him out of the race that year in the final two months of the season.

The Canucks were 35-19-8 at the start of March 1993. They went 8-9-0 in March; Pavel scored 6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points in 14 games that month. That just shows how important he was to the team, and when he wasn't constantly playing at an unreasonably high level without any helpful llinemates the team suffered. That ultimately took him out of the race, though the Canucks finished the year 46-29-9, sixth in the entire league in points.

Regardless of the possible snub at the end of the 1992-93 season, Pavel's stock continued to rise, and in 1993-94 he did in fact receive a number of Hart Trophy votes.
Quote:
Turning negative into positive: [Final C Edition]
Jamieson, Jim. The Province [Vancouver, B.C] 18 Apr 1994: A43.

CALGARY -- After two seasons of luxuriating atop the old Smythe Division, the Vancouver Canucks are in the unfamiliar position of underdogs.

...

If there's any doubt of Pavel Bure's importance to the Canucks' playoff fortunes or that he will be the NHL first-team all-star at right wing and get more than a few votes for the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP, a perusal of his stats will settle the issue.

Bure (60-47-107), who scored 49 goals in his final 51 games, finished in a three-way tie for fifth in regular-season scoring. Bure's 60 goals led the NHL and his 25 power-play goals tied him for the league lead with St. Louis's Brett Hull. He was tied for third in game winning goals (nine) with four other players.
His exposure to the entire hockey world in the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs continued to heighten his potential as the league's next major representative. Certainly, prior to his injuries and despite the unfair criticisms of the media towards him at times, Pavel was a cultural sensation throughout the hockey world and in most of the major markets amongst non-hockey fans as well, even bleeding into the rest of the sports universe through such outlets as Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated. Eastern fans likely never had an opportunity to watch his games at the time, but the other facets of his presence in the league took effect with authority.

Quote:
Works Cited

Banks, Kerry. "The Ripple Effect of Pavel Bure's Pectorals." National Post: 0. Nov 06 1999. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

Beamish, Mike. "Gretzky Trade Rumor Seems Bizarre but Who Knows Anymore?" The Vancouver Sun: 0. Feb 06 1993. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

Beamish, Mike. "MVP Fits Messier Like a Glove: Canucks in Running for Year-End Silverware." The Vancouver Sun: 0. Mar 28 1992. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

Beamish, Mike. "Selanne Shares Hart Spotlight with our Own Russian Rocket." The Vancouver Sun: 0. Jan 23 1993. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

Dunnell, Milt. "Bure Hot Topic in Heart-to-Hart Chat." Toronto Star: 0. Jan 09 1993. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013

"FANFARE." The Province: 0. Dec 02 1992. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

"Fanfare." The Province: 0. Jan 25 1993. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

Gallagher, Tony. "It's a Landslide for Bure: Poll Reveals Russian Rocket is Easy Rookie-of-the-Year Winner." The Province: 0. May 31 1992. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

Gilchrist, Kent. "Bure Leads Popularity Polls." The Province: 0. Mar 03 1993. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

Jamieson, Jim. "Canucks Shine: Quinn and Bure Haul in NHL Hardware." The Province: 0. Jun 17 1992. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

Jamieson, Jim. "Holy Slump, Batman!: Even Bure Struggling." The Province: 0. Nov 01 1992. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

Jamieson, Jim. "Turning Negative into Positive." The Province: 0. Apr 18 1994. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

MacIntyre, Iain. "How the West Will be Won: Maple Leafs Looking Like Best of the Bunch with those New Faces." The Vancouver Sun: 0. Jan 20 1995. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

McDonald, Archie. "Bure Needs Centre to Prosper; Russian Rocket Flies Solo; Commentary." Edmonton Journal: 0. Apr 02 1993. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

McKenzie, Bob. "And this Year's Winners are . . . the Star's Bob McKenzie's Best of Everything Coaches' Poll Results." Toronto Star: 0. Feb 13 1993. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

Taylor, Jim. "Canucks Fans Mighty Baaad: Wild and Woolly Masses Worship Pucksters." The Province: 0. Jan 18 1995. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .

Smith, Jim. "Young Talent can Sell NHL; Perfect Showcase." Edmonton Journal: 0. Feb 06 1993. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2013 .


Last edited by JetsAlternate: 10-27-2013 at 09:15 PM.
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11-01-2013, 11:57 PM
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As his retirement ceremony is mere hours away, I'll contribute a bit more with a few photographs, courtesy of Canucks.com:





http://canucks.nhl.com/club/gallery.htm?id=39484
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Photo 4 of 8 - 10 Days of Bure - Returning home
"That's where I used to park my car. I had to park inside because too many people would be outside after the games."

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11-02-2013, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by monster_bertuzzi View Post
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, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
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 seasons.
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.


Last edited by JetsAlternate: 11-02-2013 at 12:57 AM.
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11-02-2013, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by JetsAlternate View Post
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
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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, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by DisgruntledGoat View Post
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.
That's a very narrow-minded opinion, ignoring a lot of the evidence we've looked at. Articles, testimonial evidence, footage, and analysis all clearly distinguish details about the player that you seem determined to ignore. Few games were televised in the early 1990s, and most of the hockey world did not watch him play simply because of the limitations of that period.

What many remember are the Florida days; the deterioration of memory seems to have blended that with the rest of his career and brutalized the description of his game to the point of being completely inaccurate. He played a different game in Florida than in New York and Vancouver. We've established that already. Not a lot of people actually recall specifically the type of game he played under Pat Quinn's defensive system, nor can they describe it to to fullest extent. I've even seen someone recently call him a "north south player," which is as far from the truth as can possibly be. What we're doing here is uncovering the details of his game from that period.

Memory becomes distorted. If you watch those games again, you may see something you've forgotten or that you missed the first time.


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11-02-2013, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by DisgruntledGoat View Post
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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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
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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