A legendary former Canuck will be in the building Saturday night when the Vancouver Canucks play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs. I refer, of course, to the Cochrane Rocket himself, Mason Raymond.
Okay, no I don’t. And come to think of it, Cochrane Rocket sounds weirdly inappropriate, so let us never use this nickname again.
I’m actually talking about Pavel Vladimirovich Bure, arguably the most talented player ever to play for the Canucks . On Saturday night, the Hockey Hall of Famer will finally get to see his number raised to the rafters, joining the likes of Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden, and Markus Naslund.
Bure will be remembered for a lot of things. This photo. This photo. This photo for sure. His legendary, super nineties hockey card. The stick-to-skate goal. But more than any of those things, he’ll always be remembered for his double overtime goal versus the Flames, which propelled the Canucks into the second round of the 1994 playoffs:
In honour of the Russian Rocket’s big day, let’s break this one down.
We’ll start the play here, as the Canucks attempt to gain the Calgary zone. Trevor Linden has just moved the puck to Greg Adams, and now he and Bure are skating towards the Calgary blueline.
I think it’s safe to say they’re not going to have much room to operate here, and Adams agrees, so he dumps the puck ahead and goes after it.
Unfortunately, Adams steps on Musil’s stick as he’s coming across the blueline and falls down. By the time he’s at the dots, Mike Vernon has had time to leisurely venture out behind the goal and retrieve the puck.
Vernon moves the puck up the boards to Kruse, who’s waiting at the near wall for it.
Meanwhile, our old pal Bure takes the long way out of the zone, hoping people will forget that he’s still in there.
Kruse turns to the wall to collect the puck and start a breakout. But when he looks up ice, he spots Trevor Linden, who isn’t even in this frame, about a foot away from flattening him. Knowing he’s about to experience a crushing, he flips the puck out to centre ice rather than carrying it or making a pass to a teammate, thus giving it right back to the Canucks.
And then he gets demolished.
I wonder if that would be considered boarding or checking from behind by today’s standards. But whatever.
Dave Babych, he of the legendary duster, picks up the puck in the neutral zone, then turns back and backhands it over to Jeff Brown, who has a little time and space. He takes a look. And Brown spots Bure, still drifting just behind the play.
Brown makes an incredible pass, hitting Bure in stride through a very narrow passing lane.
It helps that Kruse, who might have been able to stop this pass, isn’t really back in the play yet after getting crushed. And it also helps that Linden is keeping the only other Calgary defender with a chance to catch Bure out of the play by means of some casual interference.
And, of course, it helps that Bure was among the fastest, strongest players in the game. Zalapski tries to catch him, even to hook him, but there’s just nothing doing. They’re all beat.
Then this happens.
The rest, as they say, is history.
And that’s how one of the greatest goals in Canucks history was scored.