“Bettman has only a marginal interest in the weaker teams. He only wants the NHL to make a bigger profit as a whole.” -- Dominik Hasek

August 3, 2007

Portrait Of An Artist: Pavel Bure

It's Friday, it's the off-season, and it's a slow news day. Because of this, I'll take the time to explore a little bit of recent hockey history to pass the time.

The careers of most great artists can be divided into "periods," long or brief spans of time in which they explored different styles and techniques and then moved on to something greater or different. Picasso had, among others, his "Blue Period" and then later his better-known "Analytic Cubism Period." Pollack had his "Springs Period" and later his famous "Drip Period."

If you consider great goal-scorers in the National Hockey League to be artists, then Pavel Bure should be considered the greatest hockey artist of the 1990s. His creativity and skill with a puck outclassed his opponents year in and year out. In two consecutive seasons (1992-93 and 1993-94), the young Bure scored 60 goals with the Vancouver Canucks. In 1997-98, after a lockout and some injury problems, he scored 51.

All great artists must change their surrounding environment sometime, and Bure did just that when he was traded to the Florida Panthers in 1998-99 after refusing to play for Vancouver any longer.

This, his "Florida Period," saw Bure mature as a player and develop into a true scoring phenomenon. In a league dominated by defensive plays like the trap and the collapsing box, Bure had no trouble racking up the points. In 1999-00, he scored 58 goals. In 2000-01, he scored 59 goals and 92 points---on a horrible team where the second-best player, Viktor Kozlov, scored only 37 points.

Bure was a true master. Unfortunately, his career was cut short by chronic knee injuries, and his true potential was never fully realized, despite his career total of 437 goals in 702 games.

In order for everyone to grasp the greatness of Pavel Bure, I submit to you a sample of his work during his superb "Florida Period." Enjoy.

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Jibblescribbits said...

I am always amazed how easy it is to forget how good he was.

Dear Lord Stanley said...

Truly amazing, indeed. Had he been healthy and played twice as long as he did, he could have given Gretzky a run for his money in the career goals department. He was on pace to score just under 900 goals in 1400 games.

His early exit from the league was a tragedy.

GoalieGallery said...

That is so sad. Bure was such a talent. But, at least we got to enjoy him for a short time.

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