After 6 years of being snubbed by the induction committee, Pavel Bure is finally getting his due from the Hockey Hall of Fame. He joins Joe Sakic, Adam Oates, and Mats Sundin as the class of 2012, which makes me desperately hope that Bure’s portion of the ceremony comes before Sundin’s so that no one can say that Sundin was the first Canuck inducted into the HHOF on a technicality. Before you ask, Mark Messier never played for the Canucks; I don’t know who keeps spreading that myth, but it’s about time Snopes.com debunked it.
The Russian Rocket was one of the most thrilling players of his time, winning the franchise’s only Calder Trophy for rookie of the year and scoring 60 goals in each of his next two seasons, leading the league in goals in 1993-94. While the Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals in a season had not yet been created at that time, he went on to win it twice with the Florida Panthers.
In the Canucks’ 1994 run to the Stanley Cup Final, Bure was spectacular, scoring 16 goals and 31 points in 24 games, including the double-overtime game 7 winner over the Calgary Flames in the first round. Bure is 7th all-time in points for the franchise, despite playing in less than half as many games as the players ahead of him other than Thomas Gradin in 6th.
Quite frankly, it’s about time that Bure was inducted, and it’s also about time that the Canucks retire his jersey, although Gillis has claimed that he has approached Bure about the subject in the past with Bure having no interest in participating in such a ceremony. Bure denies this, however. In an interview in the Spring 2012 edition of Puck Life Magazine, Bure, when asked about not having his jersey retired, “I am a practical person and I’d like to live in a real world, not in a fantasy land. No one from the Canucks had discussed such a thing with me, so it would inappropriate for me to even comment on it” and again shortly after, “No one from the Canucks has approached me.”
It’s possible that Gillis approached Bure about being in the Ring of Honour, which may have seemed, at best, like a backhanded compliment. Bure clarified in the interview that he still has fond memories of his time with the Canucks.
One thing’s for sure, I don’t get bitter about my time with the Canucks. On the contrary, I like to remember many good things there, like the 1994 run, winning the Calder Trophy, or that I was able to reach a 50-goal plateau in a season three times, or the Canucks fans who treated me really great. I try to focus on the positive side, not negative things.
There was a delay from the Canucks official twitter account and website in congratulating Bure, leading to quite the clamor online from some of our compatriots. While I understand their concerns, I don’t share them. My suspicion is that the person who normally runs the Canucks Twitter account is on vacation, as is much of their web staff. While it is certainly regrettable in this instantaneous day and age, I see this as an unfortunate inevitability of people taking time off for vacation, rather than some intentional snub. Imagining some overarching conspiracy against Bure that extends all the way to tweeting a congratulations to one of the best players to ever don a Canucks sweater is a little over the top.
If you’re upset by the seemingly cold, clinical nature of the Canucks’ official press release congratulating Bure and Sundin, then you haven’t read many of the Canucks’ official press releases. Press releases are essentially all that is running on Canucks.com right now, as they enter into the offseason. While some more personable and social-media-friendly material might come out of the Canucks prospect development camp, things are likely to be slow for a while.
The history of the acrimonious relationship between Bure and the Canucks is a long and complicated one and many of the principal players have yet to go on record regarding the situation. At this point, I find it hard to care. Bure was one of my favourite Canucks in the 90′s, surpassed only by my love for Trevor Linden and Cliff Ronning. At this point, that’s all I care to remember.
If, however, Bure chooses to be inducted into the HHOF as a Florida Panther or, heaven forbid, a New York Ranger, my interest in the rift between Bure and the Canucks will once more be picqued. Actually, that’s putting it mildly: if he doesn’t go into the Hall as a Canuck, I’ll flip a pool. Fortunately, I just purchased a small kiddie pool for my son, so it won’t be very difficult and won’t cause too much property damage.
Bure will be officially inducted into the HHOF in a ceremony on November 12th in Toronto.Tags: drama, Flip the pool, Hockey Hall of Fame, Pavel Bure