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Bure's age not just a number - APR.02.08

Chuck Stanley


<table align="center" border="0" width="80%"><tbody><tr><td><img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/chuckstanley_sm.jpg" align="left" hspace="4">Just the thought of Pavel Bure turning 37 on March 31 was enough to make my head spin (it was either that or the scotch I was drinking during the Canucks/Flames game the night before).

So many thoughts run through my head as I think about it, such as:

It’s no secret that the Canucks are a little short on offence. At this year’s trading deadline, many Canuck fans were excited at the prospect of Mats Sundin, and why not? He’s a character guy who can score 30-40 goals, and he has a few good years left in him. The funny thing is that Sundin is actually older than Pavel, who hasn’t played a game in 5 years.

<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/04/APR0208_PavelBue01_t.jpg" align="right" border="0" hspace="4" vspace="1"></a>I know this is a huge game of “what if”, and that Pavel asked for a trade out of Vancouver, but I can’t help myself. On a team desperate for goal scoring, how good would Pavel Bure with strong knees look on the team right now, even at 37 years old? Would there be many better lines in the NHL than Sedin-Sedin-Bure? While we’re playing “what if”, how scary would Pavel have been playing on the same team as the West Coast Express line of a few years ago?

Realizing that Pavel is only 37 reminds me of how sad it was that he was forced to retire at such a young age. It’s common to see players still producing in the NHL at 37 and even older. Chris Chelios is still a very effective player at 46. Pavel played his last game in the NHL in 2003, when he was only 32. He had 437 goals in his NHL career. If he was healthy, how many goals would he have by now? 600? 650? He would be a sure-fire Hall of Famer among the most prolific goal scorers in hockey history. Not since Bobby Orr has such greatness been dashed by a bad set of knees.

<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/04/APR0208_PavelBue02_mt.jpg" align="left" border="0" hspace="4" vspace="1"></a>Pavel may feel old on his birthday, but he’s not alone. One of my first thoughts when remembering Pavel is the Canucks’ run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1994. Bure was transcendent in those playoffs, like a man playing against mere boys. That man, however, was only 23 years old. As kids hockey fans get used to the notion that their heroes are grown men, much older than themselves. Realizing that Bure was only 23 when he electrified the city in 1994 makes this 40 year old feel even older than that.

As many of you know, Pavel is currently the General Manager of Russia’s Olympic hockey team. I hope we see Pavel in Vancouver in 2010, where we can give him a warm welcome back to our city and cheer Russia to a silver medal in men’s hockey (this town loves you, Pavel, but we are Canadians, after all). Hopefully all of this will happen while he’s at the ripe old age of…..38. Sigh. Happy birthday, Russian Rocket--you were grounded far too soon.


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I hate Pavel Bure for what he did to this team.. Sitting on the bench night after night, he makes me sick. I will boo him if i ever get the opportunity.

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