Bure legacy worthy of jersey retirement 0
Hockey Hall of Fame 2012 inductees (L-R) Mats Sundin, Joe Sakic, Adam Oates and Pavel Bure flip pucks off hockey sticks during a news conference in Toronto November 12, 2012. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)
For some, Saturday's game at Rogers Arena was circled as soon as the 2013-14 NHL schedule was released this summer — simply because of the team coming into town. For others, they've been waiting for the moment preceding it for a very long time.
When the Toronto Maple Leafs make their lone visit this season — which generates enough buzz as it is — the Vancouver Canucks will also be retiring Pavel Bure's No. 10 jersey prior to the game.
The debates are over, the time is here, and arguably the most exciting player ever to don a Canucks jersey will see his name and number raised to the rafters.
Dubbed the "Russian Rocket," the now 42-year-old Bure will become the fourth player in team history to receive the honour along with Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund.
Selected by Vancouver in the sixth round of the 1989 NHL entry draft, Bure spent seven seasons with the team, winning the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie in 1992 and appearing in four All-Star games as a Canuck.
The electrifying Russian forward made an immediate impact when he first stepped onto the ice in Vancouver on Nov. 5, 1991. He went on to put together back-to-back 60-goal campaigns — in 1992-93 and 1993-94 — which still remain the team's single-season record. He currently hold multiple franchise marks, including most goals by a rookie (34), most power-play goals (25), most shorthanded goals (seven), most points by a right winger (110) and the all-time playoff goal total (34), which is tied with Linden.
He also sits seventh all-time in Canucks scoring with 478 points, fifth in goals (254) and game-winning goals (32), seventh in power-play tallies (69), and first overall in shorthanded goals (24).
But while his time with Vancouver was memorable — especially during the 1994 Stanley Cup run — so was his exit.
Following the 1997-98 season, Bure went public that he did not intend to play for the team due to "personal reasons," holding out until January when he was traded to the Florida Panthers. The two-time Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner was then dealt to the New York Rangers in 2002 before retiring in 2005 due to his chronically injured knee.
It was the bitter split with the Canucks that left a sour taste with many fans, but time has passed, wounds have been healed.
With the team finally retiring his number, that's all in the past now.
In April, months prior to the announcement his number will be retired by the Canucks, Bure reflected on what it would mean to him to be recognized.
"To be a member of the (NHL) Hall of Fame it's a huge honour," he said of the induction last year. "To have a jersey retired, it's another honour. Both of them obviously is a huge recognition."
Saturday it will be Bure's night, a reflection on an era that saw him not only entertain the masses in Vancouver, but all around the league.
And as fast as he was on the ice, his legacy now — in the form of a banner with his name and unforgettable No. 10 — will be hanging high above it.