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More About Pavel Bure Jerseys
In NHL history it can be argued that there has been no more exciting, dynamic player than Pavel Bure. The Russian Rocket thrilled Vancouver Canucks fans on his very first shift, and continued to thrill fans in Vancouver, Florida, New York and internationally for Team Russia for the rest of his hockey career. Though he may not have left Vancouver on the best of terms, fans there still reminisce about Bure's incredible skill and speed, and at many Canucks fans Pavel Bure jerseys can be seen peppering the crowd.
Before Pavel Bure ever set skate in an NHL arena it was apparent he would be a star. He was an absolute force at the World Junior Championships, playing alongside Alexander Mogilny and Sergei Fedorov. Bure would win two silver medals and a gold over three years, and set the all time goal scoring record for the tournament, tallying 27 goals in 21 games.
Bure is Drafted by the Vancouver Canucks
Bure was selected 113th overall in the 6th round of the 1989 NHL entry draft. Though this may seem late for a star with his potential it was during an era when the iron curtain was still in place in the Soviet Union and players selected from that region only had a small chance of ever suiting up for an NHL game. The draft pick was controversial, as other teams complained that Bure was ineligible due to the fact he had not played two seasons for a professional club - a stipulation for drafting a young Soviet player. However, the Canucks managed to get through the red tape on a technicality and Bure eventually became a member of the Vancouver Canucks.
The Russian Rocket would finally make his long awaited debut in November of 1991, playing in front of his home crowd against the Winnipeg Jets. Bure would electrify the building all night, making multiple end to end rushes and demonstrating his incredible speed and skill with the puck. He wouldn't record a point that night, but fans were salivating over the young Russian star's potential.
Bure finally notched his first goal (scoring two) against the Los Angeles Kings in his 4th NHL game. After that the flood gates were open. Bure went on to register 34 goals and 60 points in 65 points, earning himself the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in the process and becoming the first Canuck to earn a major award.
Over the next few seasons Bure was one of the most dominant players in the game, recording back to back 60 goal seasons, joining an exclusive club that to date only includes Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Phil Esposito, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Mike Bossy and Jari Kurri. Though primarily a goal scorer, Bure was a slick passer as well and in both seasons he racked up enough assists to eclipse the 100 point plateau, again the first Canuck to do so.
Bure Leads the Canucks to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals
Following his second straight 60 goal season Bure would lead the Canucks into the playoffs. The 7th seed in the Western Conference no one expected the Nucks to do much damage, but Bure, Trevor Linden, Cliff Ronning and crew had other ideas. Bure was the hero in the first round against Calgary. After Canucks goaltender Kirk McLean had stone Calgary sniper Robert Reichel earlier, Bure scored a beautiful breakaway goal in OT to give the Canucks a hard fought 7 game victory.
Bure would continue to light it up as the Canucks moved past the Dallas Stars and the Toronto Maple Leafs, setting up a Stanley Cup Final bout against Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Mike Richter and the New York Rangers. After the Canucks dropped three of the first four games and were on the brink of elimination, Bure played the hero again in game 5, scoring twice to give Vancouver new life. Ultimately, Bure and the Canucks would fall in 7 games, losing a bitterly contested seventh and deciding game by a single game. The loss was a bitter pill for the Canucks players and their fans to swallow, but to this day that run still marks the best success the team has enjoyed in the post-season.
Bure Goes to the Florida Panthers
Though his early days with the Canucks were filled with glory, Bure's latter days with the club weren't so rosy. After multiple knee injuries and a contract dispute it became clear to both parties that it was time for Bure to move on. After a lengthy contract holdout at the beginning of the 1998-99 season Bure was moved. From that day forward Pavel Bure jerseys would be worn by the fans of the Florida Panthers where he would ply his trade.
The change of scenery was obviously good for Bure. He scored 13 goals in his first 11 games before being shelved for the season with yet another knee injury. He would return the next season, ready for liftoff. Bure tore the league apart much as he had in his second and third seasons in Vancouver, scoring 58 goals and 59 goals respectively. The following season was an injury-plagued campaign and at the trading deadline he was dealt to the New York Rangers.
Bure would have minimal impact with the Rangers during his short time (though the marketing department probably sold a shed-load of Pavel Bure New York Rangers jerseys). Much like Bobby Orr before him, Bure was forced to retire, before his time, with bad knees, and one of the most exciting players the game has ever seen faded into the sunset.
Pavel Bure's International Career
As I mentioned above Bure was an absolute force at the World Junior Championships. He also suited for Team Russia at three World Championships and two Olympics, including in 1998 in Nagano where he scored 9 goals (including 5 in a single game against a Finnish squad helpless against Bure's breakaway speed) to help lead his nation to a silver medal.