Thursday, October 31, 2013

The long-term implications of Bure to Florida

Fourteen years later: Ed Jovanovski and Kevin Weekes
 were two of Vancouver's key acquisitions in the 1999 trade.

It will continue to be the main sticking point for detractors of Pavel Bure's upcoming jersey retirement -- the trade.

Simply put, Bure wanted out. And that's gonna leave a sour taste in a lot of people's mouths long after November 2. But regardless of who was at fault for Bure's relationship with the team deteriorating, the trade ushered in a new era that the Canucks badly needed at the time.

Bald-deep in the Messier nightmare, Vancouver was a mainstay in the Western Conference basement. Rather than continue to shape the team around Bure, the trade allowed for then-marginal players like Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi to develop in the team's go-to guys. It is, in fact, no coincidence that Naslund emerged as the team's leading scorer the same year Bure was dealt.

After an initial close call with the Rangers, Brian Burke succeeded in dealing the Russian Rocket, sending him to Florida, along with veteran defenceman Bret Hedican, prospect defenceman Brad Ference and a third-round pick in 2000.

Here's what Vancouver got in return:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Bures, the Sedins and fraternal scoring supremacy

After years of poring over stats upon stats upon stats, one begins to accumulate what I refer to as 'trivia records'. They have little significance or relevance and typically only represent unique scenarios that don't really reflect what the NHL is like as a whole.

For example, the "brothers record". Perhaps you too have once been told that Wayne and Brent Gretzky hold the all-time record for career points by a pair of siblings at 2,861 -- Brent's contribution being a whole 4 points. Puts a different spin on Gretzky's dominance in the league, I suppose, but ultimately, this record yields about zero relevancy in terms of its ability to illustrate the history of actual brother tandems in the league.
Pavel and Valeri in their lone season
together in Florida.

Enter Pavel Bure and his younger brother, DJ Tanner's husband Valeri. While there is a pretty sizable disparity in skill between the Bures, it is far smaller than that between the Gretzkys. As such, a record held by the two of them might actually have some relevancy. And wouldn't you know it, in 1999-2000, Pavel and Valeri combined for 93 goals in a single season -- a league-leading 54 from Pavel and 35 from Valeri. As a result, they topped a rather legendary pair of brothers in Bobby and Dennis Hull, surpassing their previous mark of 88 goals, set in 1968-69.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pavel Bure and the progression of the Canucks point-scoring record

Recall Henrik Sedin's Art Ross-winning season three years ago. It was in that legendary final game against the Flames that Henrik eclipsed Alexander Ovechkin for the NHL's point-scoring crown. And in the process of securing the first Art Ross Trophy in team history, Henrik set another franchise mark. With his 111th point, he surpassed Pavel Bure for the highest-scoring season by a Canuck in team history.

Established in 1992-93, Bure's 110-point record, at the time, had stood for 17 years. In just his second season in the NHL, the Russian Rocket went all Soviet on goaltenders throughout the league and nearly doubled his output from the previous season. On the strength of 60 goals and 50 assists, he made a mockery of the previous team record of 91 points, set by Patrik Sundstrom in 1983-84.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The staying power of Bure's 60-goal record

The following is the fourth in BTD's 10-day series of posts counting down to Bure night.

Having played just 428 games as a Canuck, Pavel Bure is somewhat buried in the team's all-time stats lists. Though he left the Canucks as the second-highest goal-scorer (254, behind Smyl) and fourth-highest in points (478, behind Smyl, Linden and Gradin), both years and Swedes have gone by. As a result, he now stands fifth and seventh in those regards.

Nonetheless, Bure's name remains littered all over the Canucks single-season record books. Most power play goals in a season (25 in 1993-94). Most shorthanded goals (7 in 1992-93). Most shots (407, 1992-93). Most points by a winger (110, 1992-93). Though that mark stood for 17 years as the overall record until Henrik Sedin surpassed it in 2009-10.

The most impressive of them all, however -- and perhaps the safest  -- remains Bure's 60 goals, recorded in back-to-back seasons. Set in both 1992-93 and 1993-94, the mark is now 19 years strong and counting.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pavel Bure, Alex Ovechkin and other All-Star voting fallacies

Counting down to Bure night, this is the third in a 10-day series of posts that I now regret promising chronicling the Russian Rocket's career.

With Bure night exactly a week away, the Canucks are returning home from their road trip where they'll await Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Monday. Ovie's pure skill and goal-scoring ability have drawn him comparisons to Bure ever since he broke into the league.

This past off-season, Ovechkin made headlines when he was dubiously voted to both the First and Second NHL All-Star Teams. Thanks to a collective balloting error from the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA), he was named to the First Team as a right wing and the Second as a left. As you can imagine, it was the first such All-Star deuce in NHL history (I feel like somewhere Roberto Luongo's ears just perked) and effectively cheated Taylor Hall out of a Second Team spot.

So what does this have to do with Pavel Bure? Well, the Writers Association does in fact have a history for this sort of thing. Only the reverse happened to Bure following his rookie campaign in 1991-92.

Bure, the victim of voting error, and Ovechkin, the beneficiary.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pavel Bure's Top 10 Goals as a Canuck (honourable mentions)

Today's post is the second in a 10-day series chronicling Pavel Bure's career in anticipation of his jersey retirement on November 2.

As mentioned in yesterday's countdown featuring Pavel Bure's top ten goals as a Canuck, it is nearly impossible to isolate any number of the Russian Rocket's goals as 'the best'. Ten is just far too little.

So with that in mind, here are a few more of Bure's endless highlight reel efforts -- infused with the usual slapdash of trivia and facts -- that didn't quite make the cut:

First NHL goal vs. Los Angeles (November 12, 1991)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pavel Bure's Top 10 Goals as a Vancouver Canuck

Today's article is the first of a 10-day series chronicling Pavel Bure's career in anticipation of his jersey retirement on November 2.

Consider it "Bure-mania", re-lived. Ten days from now, Bure's iconic number will be raised to the rafters, ending more than a decade of divisiveness regarding the Russian Rocket's place in Canucks history. YouTube montages, engage!

There is no shortage of online videos by which fans can re-experience the brilliance that was Bure's career in Vancouver. Nonetheless, BTD would be remiss if we didn't contribute something to the collection (you could literally spend hours watching quality highlight reels dedicated entirely to Bure), as endless and as saturated as it may be.

Of the videos currently out there, TSN's Top 10 Bure goals, uploaded by several different users, has hundreds of thousands of views. And as much as I love TSN's nightly countdowns, a revised edition of Bure's best goals is sorely in order.