Pavel Bure; the Russian traitor
By Josh Martin, Sports Editor
Pavel Bure, the “Russian Rocket” and arguably the most exciting player to ever don a Canucks jersey, was inducted into the Hall of Fame last week — and for some reason, the Canucks are getting heat for not retiring his jersey.
Bure recorded back-to-back 60-goal seasons with Vancouver, brought fans to their feet in astonishment, was a vital part of the ’94 Cup run, and ultimately demanded to leave the city that brought him into the NHL. Bure had the numbers, talent, and skill to be honored into the Hall of Fame, but the fact that the Canucks are being criticised for not retiring his number is an insult, and a joke.
Leadership, captaincy, heart, and sacrifice are just a few of the assets that should be considered with the retirement of a jersey. Look at numbers, 12, 16, and 19—Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden, and Markus Naslund; these players were all leaders, captains, contributing members of the Vancouver community, and men who continue to give back in their own specific way. What has Bure done since demanding to leave the city after the 1997–’98 season? Yup, you’ve guessed it, nada.
Typically when you sign a contract with an NHL team, that means that you have come to terms with playing for that organization for as many years that you signed on for. Maybe he needed to brush up on his English or something, because late in the ’94 season, Bure signed a five-year $25-million contract. Despite this, in the 1998–‘999 season, Bure refused to play for the Canucks—even though he was legally under contract to do so.
So why should we now, after he has been inducted into the Hall of Fame, consider Bure worthy of having his jersey retired? And why did it take such a significant event to set people off about the whole issue? “Oh, well now that he’s in the Hall of Fame, and he’s part of that status, he should probably have his jersey retired because he was the best Canuck ever to play and he went through a lot of hardships under Pat Quinn.” Bullshit. If he wasn’t inducted into the Hall of Fame, no one would even care. Just because he’s part of the “elite-status” doesn’t mean that the Canucks should feel obligated to present him with the biggest possible honour that they have to offer.
If that were the case then the world would be backwards. Corporations would be honoured for screwing over their employees, housing prices would continue to go up even though young families wouldn’t be able to afford them, and job offers would be hard to come by… Oh wait, that’s reality.
Still, retiring Bure’s jersey is so much more than how it looks on the surface. Giving in to the social norms and the twisted ways this world works just because there’s an obligation to a now Hall of Famer, and selfish prima donna would be going against everything that the Canucks stand for. Where’s the class?
Smyl, Linden (a.k.a “Captain Canuck”), and Naslund are all icons in the city of Vancouver. Where does that leave the Russian Rocket?
The Russian Rocket belongs in the rafters
By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer
Pavel Bure. The Russian Rocket. The greatest Vancouver Canuck to ever take to the ice. The speedy forward was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame, and now the question in everyone’s heads all over town is, “will the Canucks retire his jersey?”
In a word, yes. It’s inexcusable for the club to ignore his accomplishments. The man is going into the Hall of Fame! Seeing as his glory years were in Vancouver, it would make no sense not to at least stick him onto the Ring of Honour.
When Bure was in Vancouver, I wasn’t really into hockey that much. At least not to the point where individual players mean something to you. I was almost six when he was traded, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what he did for this city. It doesn’t take a genius to run your eye down a page of statistics. And he sure had a lot of them. I’ve watched endless highlight clips of Bure in action, and it’s clear that he was something spectacular. Back-to-back 60 goal seasons…the triple-overtime goal against Calgary during the ’94 run…”the elbow”…and these are just to name a few. 478 points in 428 games as a Canuck. Enough said.
The main reason why there is any controversy about retiring Bure’s number, is the manner in which he left. It was ugly. Bure wanted out, and he made a huge stink about it, so he’s a terrible person and a useless scumbag. Or at least that’s what Canucks management painted the picture as. Through the magic of speech and reporting, details have leaked out over the years of how the Canucks mistreated their Russian star.
Right from the start, when it was necessary for Bure’s contract with CSKA Moscow to be bought out, the Canucks made Bure chip in $50,000 from his contract. Later, when trying to get a new deal while the Canucks were trying to get the most mileage out of his puny deal, Bure requested a trade. It was denied, but he did get offered a contract worth $14.7 million over five years…in Canadian dollars. The Canadian dollar was significantly less than the American dollar at the time, and the Canucks were trying to hoodwink Bure. Throughout Bure’s tenure in Vancouver, he put in several trade requests, and was very clearly frustrated by the straining contract talks. On top of this, the story about him threatening not to play in the ’94 playoffs was false.
At the very least, the Canucks owe Bure a major apology. And in light of these facts, not retiring his jersey would be an absolute disgrace. The guy goes out, plays hard, and turns himself into a living legend for the team. Meanwhile, the team tries to screw him over with every chance they get.
Bure is in the Hall of Fame. The Canucks are still trying to keep up the impression that they have reason to be steamed about him instead of the other way around. I’m no rocket scientist, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It’s time for the ‘nucks to quit the charade and retire the Russian Rocket’s jersey.