|Born||March 31, 1971 |
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight||191 lb (87 kg; 13 st 9 lb)|
|Played for||SCL/IHL (Russia)|
New York Rangers
|National team||Template:Country data Soviet Union &|
Template:Country data Russia
|NHL Draft||113th overall, 1989|
|Hall of Fame, 2012|
Pavel Bure (born Pavel Vladimirovich Bure on March 31, 1971) is a retired Russian professional ice hockey right winger.
He is the brother of former NHL right winger Valeri Bure.
Central Red Army
Pavel began his professional hockey career at age 16, playing for the Central Red Army team. He was invited to the senior club's training camp for the 1987–88 season and although he was deemed too young and not yet ready for the Soviet League, Bure earned minimal playing time filling in for absent regulars.
He made his debut in September 1987 when the club briefly lost several players to the 1987 Canada Cup; Pavel played in five games that season. He scored his first professional goal for CSKA Moscow while playing on the fourth line in his senior club debut.
Pavel joined the club full-time in 1988–89 and amassed 17 goals, a Soviet League record for rookies. The record-setting mark stood for 18 years before New York Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov scored 18 goals in 2006–07. He added 9 assists for 26 points to earn the league's rookie of the year honours.
Pavel's individual success helped CSKA Moscow capture their thirteenth consecutive Soviet championship and twelfth consecutive IIHF European Cup in 1989 (they repeated as European champions the following year).
As a member of the Moscow-based club, Pavel joined a lineup that featured several future NHL players, including linemates Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Mogilny as well as Igor Larionov, Slava Fetisov, Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Konstantinov.
The combination of Pavel, Fedorov and Mogilny formed a promising combination for head coach Viktor Tikhonov, with expectations to replace the previous top Soviet line, the K-L-M combination of Vladimir Krutov, Larionov and Makarov.
The trio was short-lived as Mogilny defected to play for the Buffalo Sabres in 1989 and Fedorov joined the Detroit Red Wings the following year.
In his third and final season with the Red Army, Pavel tied for the lead in team-scoring with Valeri Kamensky, tallying 46 points. His 35 goals was second in the league, one goal behind Ramil Yuldashev of Sokil Kyiv.
Pavel turned down a three-year contract extension in August of 1991 which resulted in him being left off the roster of the Soviet team for the Canada Cup.
Prior to the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, William Houston of The Globe and Mail wrote, "The best of the group is Soviet star winger Pavel Bure, a spectacular player with outstanding speed. He is compared to Vladimir Krutov and also the late Soviet superstar of the 1970s, Valeri Kharlamov."
NHL organizations were afraid he would not leave the Soviet Union to play in the NHL thus deterring teams from selecting him early, although scouts and analysts believed he could have been selected as high as the second round in case he defected.
Many analysts compared Pavel to Valeri Khalarmov.
Edmonton Oilers scout Barry Fraser commented, "From what I've seen of him, Bure can play on any team in the NHL right now... he's quick, real quick, small and very exciting. He may be the top player in this year's draft, but because he is from the Soviet Union, we don't analyze him the same way as a kid from the West... I don't expect him to go really early because it is still too much of a gamble to hope he will defect."
Pavel was selected 113th overall in the sixth round of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks, following his rookie season with CSKA Moscow. The pick was controversial, as the Canucks had chosen him seemingly a year ahead of his eligible draft season.
At the age of 18, Pavel was available to be chosen in the first three rounds of the draft, but in order to be selected any later than that, he would have needed to play in at least two seasons—with a minimum of 11 games per season—for his elite-level Soviet club, the Central Red Army.
While most teams believed Pavel was ineligible, the Canucks' head scout at the time, Mike Penny, discovered that he had played in additional exhibition and international games to make him an eligible late-round draft choice a year early.
Jack Button, the Washington Capitals' director of player personnel, admitted, "everybody would have taken him earlier. We assumed he was not eligible... you've got to give the Canucks credit for doing their homework."
Several other teams either had similar knowledge or had pursued Bure, but there was confusion as to the legitimacy of the extra games.
The Detroit Red Wings had inquired to league vice president Gil Stein as to Bure's supposed availability prior to their fifth-round pick, but were told that he was not eligible.
According to General Manager Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings, their European scout Christer Rockstrom insisted that the Wings select Bure while he was still available in the fifth round, but upon being told of his ineligibility the team selected Shawn McCosh instead.
The Red Wings then decided they would select him with their sixth-round pick, 116th overall, "no matter what" and then settle his eligibility later. The Canucks selected Pavel three picks ahead of Detroit's turn.
Winnipeg Jets general manager Mike Smith, meanwhile, claimed he travelled to Moscow prior to the draft and made an offer to the Soviet Ice Hockey Federation.
The deal involved a transfer fee to be paid to the Soviets over three years, after which time, Bure would join the Jets as a 21-year-old. Smith did not have any plans to draft Bure in 1989, however, as he believed Bure was ineligible.
General manager Pat Quinn originally intended to draft Pavel in the eighth round, but after receiving word that the Edmonton Oilers had similar intentions, he selected him in the sixth.
Detroit's European scout Christer Rockstrom immediately began protesting, while several other unidentified team representatives reportedly stormed the Met Center stage in Minnesota, where the draft was being held, following the announcement of Pavel's draft.
The Hartford Whalers and Washington Capitals then filed formal complaints to the league, resulting in an investigation into the selection.
After the pick was deemed illegal by league president John Ziegler in a press release on May 17, 1990, the Canucks appealed the decision, procuring game sheets proving Bure's participation in the additional games with the help of recent Soviet acquisition Igor Larionov.
It was not until the eve of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft in which Pavel would have been re-entered, that the draft choice was upheld.
Although Larionov and Fetisov had successfully spearheaded the rebellion against Soviet ice hockey officials in the late 1980s that led to the allowance of Soviet players to join the NHL, Pavel's transfer to the Canucks met with resistance. Soviet authorities forbade the Canucks to contact Bure personally.
During the 1991 World Junior Championships, Pavel told the Toronto Sun in an interview that he was hesitant to defect for fears that the Soviets would make things difficult for his younger brother Valeri Bure, who was 15 years old at the time and playing in the junior league.
On September 6, 1991, Pavel left Moscow with his father and brother, temporarily staying in Los Angeles. His mother arrived shortly afterwards.
The Canucks began negotiating a contract with him, but before one could be finalized, the issue of his existing contract with the Central Red Army had to be settled. The Canucks management and officials from the Soviet Ice Hockey Federation met in late-October of 1991 in a Detroit court where they bartered for a cash settlement.
After the Canucks offered $200,000, Pavel stood up in the courtroom to offer an additional $50,000, bringing the total to $250,000. The Soviet officials accepted and the Canucks management paid the full $250,000.
He signed a four-year contract worth a reported $2.7 million with an $800,000 signing bonus soon thereafter.
The deal made Bure the Canucks' second highest paid player behind team captain Trevor Linden, who had just recently signed a four-year, $3.7 million contract.
Due to the court proceedings, Pavel's Canucks debut in 1991–92 was delayed until a month into the season. Garnering much attention in Vancouver, his first practice with the club on November 3, 1991, was attended by approximately 2,000 fans at Britannia Ice Rink in East Vancouver.
He played in his first game for the Canucks on November 5, 1991, in a 3–3 tie against the Winnipeg Jets.
Despite being kept off the scoresheet in his NHL debut, Pavel showcased his talent and speed with several end-to-end rushes, carrying the puck past several defenders from near his defensive zone to the opposing net.
Following the game, Vancouver Sun columnist Iain MacIntyre compared him to a rocket, calling him "the fastest Soviet creation since Sputnik". MacIntyre's comments are credited for having laid the groundwork for his moniker as the "Russian Rocket".
It took Pavel until his third game, a 6–0 win against the New York Islanders, to record his first point, an assist on a Cliff Ronning goal. He scored his first two NHL goals in the next game on November 12th against Daniel Berthiaume of the Los Angeles Kings in an 8–2 win.
Pavel scored 34 goals and 60 points in 65 games that season, including 22 goals in his final 23 games. In the last game of the regular season, he scored a goal to tie Ivan Hlinka's 1981–82 team mark for most points by a rookie.
Pavel's addition to the Canucks lineup bolstered a core that featured Linden and goaltender Kirk McLean, a Vezina Trophy nominee in 1989 and 1992 as the league's best goaltender and helped the Canucks to their first of two consecutive Smythe Division titles.
As the Canucks opened the 1992 playoffs against the Winnipeg Jets, Pavel recorded his first NHL hat trick in game six to help force a seventh and deciding game. Vancouver won the series to advance to the second round, but were then eliminated by the Edmonton Oilers. He finished his first Stanley Cup playoffs with 6 goals and 10 points in 13 post-season games.
At the end of the season, Pavel was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year over Detroit Red Wings defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom. His 60 points were second among first-year players to Tony Amonte's 69 points with the Rangers, although he played in 14 fewer games.
When accepting the award, he thanked Canucks linemate Igor Larionov for his guidance. On arriving in Vancouver, the former Red Army teammate took Pavel into his North Vancouver home for two weeks before Bure moved into his own downtown apartment. The two also roomed together on the road.
Pavel's Calder Trophy (along with head coach Pat Quinn's Jack Adams Award) as the league's top coach, marked the first major individual NHL awards in Canucks team history.
Despite being distinguished as the league's top rookie, however, Pavel was left off the NHL All-Rookie Team, making him the only Calder recipient to not be named to the lineup. He was left off the All-Rookie Team because he split his time playing both left and right wing.
When it came to voting for the players, Pavel had the most total votes, but not enough at either position to claim a spot.
Pavel improved on his rookie season in 1992–93 for his first of two consecutive 60-goal seasons. In the third game of the season, Bure scored a career-high four goals against the Winnipeg Jets.
His three goals and one assist in the second period set a pair of Canucks records for most goals and points in a period, in addition to the team mark for most goals overall in a game (for which he is tied with several players).
Furthermore, Pavel scored two of his goals on the penalty kill to set a fourth team record for most short handed goals in one contest.
Pavel appeared in his first NHL All-Star Game that season in 1993, being named to the Clarence Campbell Conference Team as the lone Canucks representative. He scored two goals in his All-Star debut in a 16–6 loss to the Wales Conference.
Shortly after the All-Star break, he established a new franchise record for goals in a season during a 5–1 win over the Quebec Nordiques, surpassing Tony Tanti's 45-goal mark.
The next month, on March 1st, Pavel reached the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career, scoring against Grant Fuhr of the Buffalo Sabres in a neutral-site game in Hamilton, Ontario.
On March 9th, Pavel recorded two assists in a 7–2 win against the New Jersey Devils to surpass Patrik Sundstrom's franchise record of 91 points. This record stood until it was broken by Henrik Sedin's 112 points in 2009–10.
Pavel finished the season with 110 points in 83 games and became the first Canuck named to the NHL First All-Star Team.
Pavel began the 1993-94 season with 7 goals and 13 points in 8 games, but then suffered his first career injury on October 23, 1993, pulling his groin in a match against the San Jose Sharks.
Despite the injury, he was allowed to play the next night against the Sharks. He had to be helped off the ice after his first shift because he re-injured his groin.
As a result of the injury, Pavel's production the following two months declined substantially.
On October 27, 1993, Pat Quinn voiced his opinion, stating in regards to his injury, "groins aren't something you can fool with. You can have a problem all year long. If it actually pops, it could mean a career problem."
Pavel recorded only four goals between his return on November 14, 1993 and December 19, 1993, a dramatic decline from his near goal-per-game pace throughout that season. Although he missed eight games with the injury and struggled over the next two months, Bure led the league in goal-scoring by repeating his 60-goal feat from the previous season.
In doing so, Pavel became the eighth player in NHL history to record back-to-back 60-goal seasons. He concluded the season with a streak of 49 goals and 78 points in his final 51 games, and earned player of the month honours in March 1994 after scoring 19 goals and 30 points in 16 games that month.
Pavel's March scoring burst was just one point shy of Stan Smyl's 31-point March in 1983 for the most productive month by a Canucks player. His 154 NHL goals at that point in his career put him behind only Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy for the most in any NHL player's first three seasons.
As the Canucks struggled to score in the second half of the 1993-94 season, Pavel recorded 49 goals in the club's final 51 games and contributed to 46.45% of his team's goals in the final 47 games of the season to carry the Canucks into the 1994 postseason. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal called him "the NHL's best forward the last 40 games, scoring almost a goal a game."
Pavel played that season with linemates Gino Odjick and Murray Craven. The previous season, he played with Anatoli Semenov and Greg Adams. Pat Quinn acknowledged, in failing to acquire suitable linemates to complement him, that he would likely continue to look "for that big, talented centre until the day I die."
Entering the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the seventh seed, the Canucks went on a run to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the seventh game of the opening round series against the Calgary Flames, Bure scored one of the most significant and well-known goals in Canucks history.
After receiving a breakaway pass from defenceman Jeff Brown, he deked and scored on Flames goalie Mike Vernon in the second overtime to win the series. The Canucks advanced past Calgary with three consecutive overtime wins after having been down 3–1 in the series.
In game two of the second round against the Dallas Stars, Pavel knocked enforcer Shane Churla to the ice with an elbow to the jaw. The hit came after Bure had been cross-checked from behind by defenceman Craig Ludwig and hit in the head by Churla while he was still on his knees on the ice. He also scored two goals in the game to help Vancouver to a 3–0 win.
Although Pavel was not initially penalized for the play, he later received a $500 fine from the league. He recorded 6 goals and 8 points in five games against the Dallas Stars, and against the Toronto Maple Leafs the following round scored 4 goals and 6 points in five games.
Sports journalist Damien Cox recognized Bure as an emerging, committed playoff performer.
After defeating Dallas in five games, the Canucks eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Campbell Conference Finals to meet the New York Rangers in the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals.
With the series tied 1–1, Pavel was ejected in game three after delivering a high stick to Rangers defenceman Jay Wells. His stick caught Wells beneath the eye, drawing blood and resulting in a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
With Pavel out of the game, the Canucks lost the contest 5–1. A 4–2 loss in game four put the Canucks at the brink of defeat in the series.
When Vancouver won game five in New York on the strength of Pavel's two goals and game six in Vancouver, the series was pushed to seven games. In the deciding game, the Rangers ended Vancouver's playoff run by a 3–2 score to capture the Stanley Cup.
Pavel finished with a team-high 16 goals and 31 points in 24 games, second in playoff scoring only to Conn Smythe winner Brian Leetch. His points total also remained the highest by any Russian player until Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins recorded 36 in 2009.
In the subsequent off-season, the Canucks announced they had re-signed Pavel to a five-year, US$24.5 million contract on June 16th The deal was reported to have been signed prior to game three of the Stanley Cup Finals against New York.
It also obtained Pavel's marketing rights and put his father, Vladimir, on the team payroll as a fitness and marketing consultant.
The average annual salary of US$4.9 million made Pavel the league's third highest-paid player, behind Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. He and the Canucks had, in fact, entered into contract negotiations at the beginning of the 1993–94 season, although two years remained in his original deal.
Neither side could come to an initial agreement; one of the major factors was the Canucks' demands for the contract to be in Canadian dollars on account of the American exchange rate.
Numerous accusations were made in the media during the Canucks' playoff run that Pavel threatened not to play if a contract could not be agreed upon.
A Toronto Star article published before the first game of the Finals on May 31, 1994, claimed that Pavel had signed a five-year, US $30 million contract that, if the Canucks had not agreed to, would have seen him pull out of game five of the Conference Finals against the Maple Leafs.
The article was followed by two additional claims in the following two days in the Vancouver-based newspaper The Province and Toronto Sun.
The Toronto Sun held that the contract was a five-year, US$22.5 million deal, and that it was signed prior to either game six or seven of the opening round against the Flames after Bure's agent, Ron Salcer, told general manager Quinn that Bure would not play if the deal was not made
As the story continued well into the next season, Pat Quinn appeared in a segment on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)'s "Hockey Night in Canada" with host Ron MacLean on March 27, 1995, publicly denying the claims.
Due to the 1994–95 NHL lockout, Pavel spent single-game stints with HC Spartak Moscow of the Russian Super League and EV Landshut of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL).
He joined a team of Russian NHL players organized by Slava Fetisov that returned to Russia to play a five-game charity tour against local clubs. On the team, Pavel was reunited with former Central Red Army linemates Mogilny and Fedorov.
When the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) and owners came to an agreement on January 12, 1995, NHL play was set to resume. However, there were unresolved contract issues, as Salcer claimed that the Canucks promised they would pay Pavel's full salary despite the lockout, which cancelled nearly half of the 1994–95 season.
Pavel held out for four days as a result (the amount claimed to be owing was US$1.7 million), before the two sides reached an agreement that the Canucks would put the disputed amount in escrow and would continue discussions. He soon reported to Vancouver and went on to tally 43 points in 44 games of the shortened season.
Pavel spent the season with a rotation of linemates, taking turns being centred by Trevor Linden, Cliff Ronning and rookie Michael Peca. He had lacked a consistent linemate since he was centred by fellow Soviets Igor Larionov and Anatoli Semenov in each of his first two seasons.
Nevertheless, in the 1995 playoffs, Pavel set franchise records for most goals and points in a series with 7 and 12 respectively in a seven-game series victory against the St. Louis Blues (Mikael Samuelsson later tied his goal-scoring record in 2010 against the Los Angeles Kings).
However, the Canucks failed to defend their Clarence Campbell Bowl title, being swept by the Chicago Blackhawks in round two. In the fourth and final playoff game against the Blackhawks, Pavel left the contest early in the third period with a rib injury.
The Canucks' elimination in 1995 marked the last time Pavel appeared in the post-season with the club. He finished with a career playoff total of 66 points with the Canucks, including 34 goals, which remained the highest club total until Linden tied the mark in 2007.
At the start of the 1995–96 season, Pavel changed his jersey number from 10 to 96. The switch commemorated the day on which he first landed in North America from Moscow, on September 6, 1991 (9th month, 6th day).
He had originally requested to wear the number when he first joined the Canucks, but was not permitted by head coach Pat Quinn, who did not approve of high jersey numbers.
After the Canucks made a deal with the Buffalo Sabres to reunite Bure with Alexander Mogilny, the jersey number was deemed acceptable because of Mogilny's number 89.
Early in the season, Pavel sustained the first of what were to be several serious knee injuries during his career.
On November 9, 1995, in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks, he was grabbed around the head by defenceman Steve Smith while approaching the end boards.
Falling to the ice, Pavel caught his skate against the boards, tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee. Requiring arthroscopic surgery, in which tendon was removed from his hamstring to repair the ACL, he was sidelined for the remainder of the season.
Without Pavel, the Canucks managed to make the 1996 playoffs on the strength of an offence led by Linden and Mogilny, but they were defeated in six games of the opening round by the Colorado Avalanche, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Pavel returned to the Canucks lineup with his knee fully recovered in the 1996–97 season. Competing for Russia in an exhibition match for the 1996 World Cup in August, he had suffered another setback with a bruised kidney and was sidelined for three weeks, but was able to recover in time for the NHL season.
In the season opener against the Calgary Flames, on October 5, 1996, Pavel was pushed into the boards head-first by rookie defenceman Todd Simpson. He continued to play following the hit, though head coach Tom Renney admitted that Bure was still experiencing headaches in the weeks following.
As Pavel's play dropped early in the season, speculation began that he was playing injured. After he went eight games without a goal, Renney claimed that Pavel was not playing with a head injury, but instead had injured his shoulder in a game against the New York Rangers on November 23rd. Nevertheless, Pavel continued to play.
With under a month left in the season, Pavel received another hit, this time from defenceman Aaron Miller of the Colorado Avalanche during a game on March 3, 1997. He left the game and did not return for the remainder of the season.
Afterwards, Pavel admitted that he was playing with a neck injury, having sustained whiplash from the first game against Calgary, but did not want to take himself out of the lineup after having missed 62 games the previous season.
With his reduced playing capacity, he managed 55 points in 63 games, well below his usual pace and the Canucks missed the playoffs for the first time since he joined the team.
In a 2012 interview, Pavel admitted having sustained a head injury on the Simpson hit and that "he should not have played through it."
In the off-season, the Canucks made another significant move, signing Rangers captain Mark Messier during free agency on July 26, 1997.
Despite finally having a high-profile centre to play with, reports in the media began soon thereafter that Bure was requesting to be traded, starting with an article published by The Province on August 26, 1997, by Tony Gallagher.
Pavel and the Canucks opened the season with two games against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in Tokyo, an event organized by the league to market hockey for the upcoming 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.
After two injury-plagued seasons with the number 96 on his jersey, Pavel switched back to his familiar number 10, explaining that "I'm not superstitious, but the last two seasons have been bad memories."
Although the Canucks missed the playoffs for the second straight year, Pavel returned his previous form in 1997–98, scoring 51 goals for his first 50-goal season since 1993–94 and third overall. He later recalled that with the Canucks out of playoff contention with a handful of games left, head coach Mike Keenan told Bure he could play as much as he wanted in order to reach the milestone.
Pavel scored his last goal as a Canuck, and his 254th with the team, in the final game of the season against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The total left him just eight goals shy of Stan Smyl's all-time franchise record of 262 goals which was later surpassed by Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund.
Following the 1997–98 season, Pavel told newly appointed general manager Brian Burke in a meeting on July 5, 1998, that he would not play for the Canucks again, despite still having a year left in his contract worth USD $8 million.
He then went public with the declaration the following month, stating that he intended to leave the club for "personal reasons".
Pavel did not report to the club the following season. He instead went back to his hometown Moscow to practice with his former Central Red Army club. During this time, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko offered him a tax-free US$4 million salary to play in Belarus, which Bure turned down.
Pavel held out well into the 1998–99 season until he was traded on January 17, 1999, to the Florida Panthers with Bret Hedican, Brad Ference and Vancouver's third-round choice in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft (Robert Fried) for Ed Jovanovski, Dave Gagner, Mike Brown,Kevin Weekes and Florida's first-round choice in the 2000 draft (Nathan Smith).
Talks between general managers Burke and Bryan Murray had begun in late-December, with the two meeting at the 1999 World Junior Championships in Winnipeg.
After the trade was completed, Pavel explained in a joint-interview with the Toronto Sun and The Province that he felt he was alienated by Canucks management ever since arriving in North America from Moscow.
Pavel cited having stayed in Los Angeles for two weeks before any Canucks representative came down to see him, in addition to several bitter contract negotiations. He also claimed that the constant allegations of him threatening not to play during the 1994 playoff run were planted by someone within Canucks management.
Meeting the Panthers in New York for a game against the Islanders, Pavel debuted with his new club on January 20, 1999. He played on an all-Russian line with Viktor Kozlov and Oleg Kvasha and scored two goals to help the Panthers to a 5–1 win.
In his first six games with the club, Pavel scored eight goals and three assists for eleven points. Less than a month into his Panthers debut, he suffered a strained right knee while kicking a loose puck during a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 5.
Despite the injury, the Panthers announced three days later that Pavel had signed to a five-year, US$47.5 million deal (with an option for a sixth year at US$10.5 million) which wa the most lucrative in team history. s After being out of the lineup for nearly three weeks, Pavel returned to appear in five more games, but was sidelined once more for the rest of the season with a knee injury that he suffered on March 3rd after a collision with defenceman Adam Foote in a game against the Colorado Avalanche.
After initial arthroscopic surgery revealed that his right ACL was not functioning, Pavel underwent further reconstructive surgery on March 29th. Due to his holdout from Vancouver and the two injuries in Florida, he appeared in just 11 games that season, but managed to record 13 goals and 3 assists for 16 points.
In his first full season as a Panther in 1999–2000, Pavel led the league in goal-scoring to capture his first of two consecutive Rocket Richard Trophies with a 58-goal season. It marked the second time he led the league in goal scoring, but his first Rocket Richard Trophy as the award had just been inducted the previous season.
Combined with 36 assists, his 94 points came within two of Art Ross Trophy winner Jaromir Jagr as the league's leading point-scorer. His 58 goals and 94 points both set franchise records.
Pavel helped Florida to a fifth-place finish in the Eastern Conference to earn their first post-season berth in three seasons. They were, however, swept in the opening round by the eventual Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils. It was his final appearance in the NHL playoffs.
At the end of the season, Pavel was listed as a nominee for the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's most valuable player. He finished as the second runner-up with 11 first-place votes, behind Jágr (18 first-place votes) and award-winner Chris Pronger (25 first-place votes).
Pavel was named to the NHL Second All-Star Team for the first time, finishing second in balloting for right wingers behind Jágr (he also mistakenly received a first-place ballot as a left winger). He also finished fourth in balloting for the Lady Byng Trophy as the league's most sportsmanlike player.
Pavel was set to make his much-anticipated return to Vancouver to play the Canucks on November 5, 1999, but was kept out of the lineup due to a broken finger suffered in a game against the Edmonton Oilers. The injury came after having missed five games to a groin injury which also kept him out of a home game against the Canucks.
During the season, he was also named to the 2000 NHL All-Star Game in Toronto, where he recorded an assist and the 11th hat trick in the history of the All-Star Game.
Of Pavel's three goals, two were assisted by his brother Valeri, who played on the same line with Bure, along with Bure's Panthers linemate, Viktor Kozlov. Helping lead the World team to a 9–4 victory over North America, he was named the All-Star Game MVP.
Pavel repeated as league scoring champion in 2000–01 with 59 goals, reaching the 50-goal plateau for the fifth and final time in his career, as well as bettering his franchise single-season goal-scoring record.
Without much secondary scoring, however (the second leading scorer on the team was Viktor Kozlov with 37 points), the Panthers missed out on the playoffs, finishing 12th place in the East. He set a league record that season by scoring 29.5% of his team's total goals over the course of the season.
Pavel was named to the NHL Second All-Star Team, behind Jágr in the right wing position for the second consecutive year.
Prior to the 2001–02 season, the Panthers acquired Valeri Bure from the Calgary Flames in a trade, reuniting the two brothers under the same team.
Pavel suffered a setback in the pre-season, however, re-injuring his groin. He recalled having "good relations" with Panthers management, who often consulted with him on team matters, including the acquisition of his brother.
After the season began, Pavel was sidelined for seven games in November and December due to a concussion. He sustained the head injury during a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on November 19, 2001, after he was checked into the glass by forward Darcy Tucker.
Several days after returning to the lineup, on December 16, 2001, he reached the 700-point mark with two assists and an empty net goal in a 3–1 win over the New York Islanders.
At the trading deadline, Pavel was dealt to the New York Rangers. During his 56 games for the Panthers that season, he led the team in scoring for the third consecutive season with 49 points.
New York Rangers
The New York Rangers acquired Bure on March 18, 2002 along with Florida's second-round pick in the 2002 draft (Lee Falardeau) for Igor Ulanov, Filip Novak as well as the Rangers' first and second-round choices in the 2002 draft (Petr Taticek and Rob Globke, respectively) and a fourth-round choice in the 2003 draft.
The Rangers had shown interest in Pavel when he was originally shopped by the Canucks in 1997.
After losing their initial bid for Pavel, Wayne Gretzky (who retired the same season he was dealt to Florida) announced prior to the 1999–2000 season that he would have extended his career had the Rangers been able to pull the trade off.
He made his Rangers debut against the Vancouver Canucks the day after his trade on March 19, scoring a goal in a 3–1 loss to his former team.
Pavel scored 12 goals and 20 points in 12 games upon being traded, up from his pace with Florida that season. Between the two teams, he finished the season with 34 goals and 69 points. He suffered another knee injury in a 2002–03 pre-season matchup with the New Jersey Devils on September 24, 2002. Combined with a case of strep throat, the injury caused him to miss the first three games of the regular season.
Pavel returned to the lineup to record 14 goals and 21 points in his first 27 games, including two goals and an assist in his first game back before suffering a knee-on-knee collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Curtis Brown in a game on December 6, 2002.
After undergoing surgery 10 days later, it was revealed that there was no damage to the ACL as previously feared, but instead a tear to the meniscus in his left knee, which was repaired.
Pavel returned that season to appear in 39 games, managing 19 goals and 30 points. He did not play in 2003–04 due to lingering effects of the knee injury, even after two operations.
Pavel failed a pre-season physical and was declared medically unable to play. Left with his fully insured US$10 million salary (which would be reimbursed to the team by 80 percent), the Rangers consequently left him unprotected in the NHL's Waiver Draft, but he was unclaimed.
Pavel remained inactive for another season due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout. After the NHL resumed play for the 2005–06 season, he announced his retirement from professional hockey at a press conference in Moscow on November 1, 2005, due to complications with his chronically injured knee.
In an interview with hockey magazine Puck Life, he explained that he did not want to extend his playing career without being able to play at an elite level.
Because Pavel had been inactive since the 2002–03 season, he was eligible for selection into the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) immediately following his retirement.
He became the fifth Soviet or Russian player (after Vladislav Tretiak, Viacheslav Fetisov, Valeri Kharlamov and Igor Larionov) and the first Canucks player to be inducted into the HHOF.
Pavel's non-selections in previous years were widely debated in the media.
Among the players chosen over him, defensive forward Dick Duff (inducted in 2006) was singled out by Vancouver sports journalist Tony Gallagher in The Province as one Bure deserved recognition over.
Often Pavel was compared with Cam Neely, a player who also waited six years for induction; Neely recorded similar goals-per-game numbers in a career that was also shortened to 700-plus games.
After being passed a sixth time in 2011, Pavel's brother, Valeri went public on the Vancouver radio station TEAM 1040, declaring "somebody in the committee probably doesn't like him."
It had been often rumoured that Pavel's former head coach and general manager in Vancouver, Pat Quinn, who became co-chairman of the HHOF's selection committee, opposed Bure's induction.
In a conference call following his selection, however, Quinn was among the most prominent figures he singled out to thank. He also accused the Canucks organization for not yet retiring Pavel's jersey.
In his retirement, Pavel has remained publicly steadfast in his dissatisfaction with the way he was treated by the Canucks organization during his playing career.
Among his claimed disservices, he has singled out his arrival in North America after defecting from Russia, in which it took the Canucks organization several weeks to get in contact with him in Los Angeles.
Another instance he has mentioned in particular were his contract negotiations in 1994, when it was rumoured that Bure was threatening to sit himself out of the playoffs as leverage.
Pavel's agent at the time, Ron Salcer has said he believes the story came from within the Canucks organization. While Pavel has admitted to "a lot of disagreements with the Canucks management," he has maintained that he "never had any problems with the Canucks fans."
On November 2, 2013, the Canucks officially retired Pavel's #10 jersey. One day prior, Canucks Sports & Entertainment announced that the organization's Most Exciting Player Award would be officially renamed the "Pavel Bure Most Exciting Player Award" in honor of Pavel".
Prior to joining the NHL in 1991, Pavel competed in several junior international tournaments for the Soviet Union.
The first was the 1988 Quebec Esso Cup, an under-17 tournament (now known as the World U-17 Hockey Challenge) held in Quebec City, where he earned a gold medal. That same year, he competed in his first of two consecutive European Junior Championships.
The following year, Pavel debuted at the world under-20 level as a 17-year-old at the 1989 World Junior Championships in Anchorage, Alaska.
The top line of CSKA Moscow teammates Pavel, Alexander Mogilny and Sergei Fedorov led the Soviet Union to a gold medal.
His eight goals tied him for the tournament lead with Jeremy Roenick of the United States, in addition to a team-high 14 points. He was named to the Tournament All-Star Team and earned Best Forward honours.
Pavel competed in his second World Juniors the following year in 1990, winning a silver medal in Helsinki, Finland, while scoring seven goals in seven games. Later that year, he made his senior debut with the Soviet national team as a 19-year-old at the 1990 World Championships in Switzerland.
Pavel scored two goals and four assists in ten games to help the Soviets to a gold medal finish, winning all three games in the medal round.
Despite winning the overall tournament, the Soviets finished with a silver in the European Championship, which took into account only games played amongst European teams during the tournament. Nevertheless, each Soviet player was awarded $10,000 for winning the overall tournament, which Pavel used to buy a new Lada.
Several months later, in July, Pavel took part in his third international tournament of the year at the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle. He scored four goals and an assist in five games and the Soviets captured the gold medal by defeating the United States in the final
In 1991, Pavel appeared in his third and final World Junior Championships. Having won their first four games, the Soviets required only a win in their the second-to-last-game against Finland to clinch the gold medal.
After the Finns built a 4–0 lead, he led a 5-goal comeback in which he scored his team's final three goals for a natural hat trick. Nevertheless, the Soviets gave up a goal in the final minute of the game to set up a gold medal match against Canada.
Although Pavel finished the tournament as the leading scorer with 12 goals in 7 games, the Soviets fell to Canada 3–2 to settle for silver.
Pavel finished his three-year World Junior career with a tournament-record 27 goals, to go with 39 points, in 21 games. He later competed in the 1991 World Championships for his second international appearance of the year.
Pavel improved on his previous year's total with 11 points in 11 games, tied for the team lead with Valeri Kamensky, and helped the Soviets to a bronze medal finish. he was named to the tournament's Second All-Star Team.
The 1991 team marked the last World Championships that the Soviets played as the USSR, giving way to the union's dissolution later that year.
Prior to the dissolution, Pavel was set to represent the Soviet Union at the 1991 Canada Cup several months later in Canada. However, after turning down a three-year contract with his Russian club, CSKA Moscow, he was left off the final roster. Further controversy ensued five years later in the inaugural 1996 World Cup (the successor tournament to the Canada Cup).
Pavel had recently recovered from reconstructive surgery to his right knee and had begun practicing with the Russian national team, when he refused to sign a petition organized by national team veteran Slava Fetisov.
With the Russian Ice Hockey Federation dealing with internal corruption, the petition called for the ouster of a select few Russian ice hockey officials. In response, he explained, "I do not sign petitions. I believe I should work – play hockey. Petitions to the federation or to Olympic committees do not interest me."
In the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, Team Russia had played five preliminary games in order to set the groupings for the main tournament stage. Russia was the only team that went undefeated (winning against Finland (Moscow), Germany (Landshut), Sweden (Stockholm), USA (Detroit), and tied against Canada (Calgary).
The U.S.A, Sweden and Finland games saw the pairing line of "Bure-Fedorov-Mogilny", for the first and only time internationally on the senior level and was considered "perhaps the best forward line on earth" at the time.
With Pavel injured as a result of a bruised kidney suffered in the preliminary game against the United States in Detroit, he would not play in the main tournament.
Two years later, Pavel made his Olympic debut with Russia at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano. He helped his team to the gold medal game after an Olympic record five-goal game in Russia's 7–4 semi-final win against Finland, two of which came on breakaways.
Playing the Czech Republic in the final, however, Pavel and the Russians were shut out by goaltender Dominik Hasek and lost the gold medal by a 1–0 score.
He finished with a tournament-high nine goals to be named the top forward and while recording no assists, placed third in point-scoring with nine points in six games.
After the Panthers were eliminated in the 2000 playoffs, Pavel was added to the Russian roster for the 2000 World Championships, held in Saint Petersburg. The Russians were not able to make the medal rounds, suffering upset defeats to both Latvia and Belarus. In six games, Bure managed four goals and an assist.
Two years later, Pavel made his second Olympic appearance at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, playing with a fractured hand. Attempting to make his second straight trip to the gold medal game, he and the Russians knocked out the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals 1-0, but lost in the semi-finals to the United States by 3–2.
He finished his final international tournament as a player with two goals and an assist in six games to go with a bronze medal, having defeated Belarus in the bronze medal game.
Upon the announcement of his retirement in 2005, Pavel was named Russia's Olympic general manager, succeeding Viacheslav Fetisov.
He promised to put an end to the Russian Hockey Federation's history of internal conflict and player boycotts, stating, "You won't see such a mess with the national team that you've seen here before" and that "You won't see grouchy players here anymore. Only those who really want to play for Russia will be called into the team."
As general manager, Pavel chose the team for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. The Russians failed to win a medal after they were shut out by the Czech Republic in the bronze medal game.
Leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, former Soviet national goaltender Vladislav Tretiak was named Bure's successor as Olympic general manager on October 12, 2009.
Over five years later, in December 2011, Pavel was announced as one of the 2012 inductees for the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame. He was named alongside American Phil Housley, Finn Raimo Helminen and Czechoslovak Milan Novy in the annual class. The players will be officially inducted in a ceremony in May of 2012.
Trained in the Soviet Union under the CSKA Moscow hockey program, Pavel's playing style reflected the speed, skill and puck possession that the Soviets held at a premium.
The most prevalent aspects of his game were his skating speed, agility, and acceleration, which earned him his nickname as the "Russian Rocket".
He was able to use his quickness to separate himself from defenders, to retrieve pucks before the opposition could in all zones of the ice, and to skate coast-to-coast on many occasions.
In a 1993 NHL coaches poll conducted by hockey writer Bob McKenzie, Pavel was named the league's best skater with eight of twenty-one votes, twice as many votes as any other player. One coach noted "Bure has the best combination of speed, agility and balance... He can also use change of speed better than anybody in the league right now."
Vancouver Canucks conditioning coach Peter Twist noticed during Bure's rehabilitation period following his first major knee injury in 1995, that his skating style was distinct in comparison to typical North American players.
He explained, "Most players skate on their inside edge and push off at a 45-degree angle, but Bure starts on his outer edge and rolls over to his inside edge and pushes back straighter on his stride ... he gets more power and force in his stride to get up to top speed quicker."
Bure's skating was also complemented by his ability to deke out defenders and goaltenders at top speeds, making him capable of routinely starting end-to-end rushes. However, several knee injuries and consequent reconstructive surgeries compromised the speed that defined Bure's game, ultimately leading to his retirement in 2005.
Early in Pavel's career, he was noted for playing a strong two-way game. Having joined head coach Pat Quinn's defensive-minded Vancouver Canucks in 1991, his transition to the NHL was cited as being much easier than that of his countryman, Igor Larionov, due to his quick adjustment to the team's defensive demands.
Regarding Bure's first NHL game against the Winnipeg Jets, reporter Mike Beamish explained that "hockey fans marvelled at his offensive thrusts, but hockey people were taken by a singular display of jet-powered defensive diligence. On one play, after the Canucks were caught deep in the Winnipeg zone, the Russian winger raced back and almost singlehandedly foiled a two-on-one Jets' rush, making up a half-rink disadvantage."
Pavel was used on the team's penalty kill for his entire tenure with the Canucks, and was proficient at generating shorthanded chances, pressuring the opposition with his quickness and positioning in the defensive zone.
During the 1992 Stanley Cup playoffs, commentator and ex-NHL coach Harry Neale commented, "I like the effort he gives it when he doesn't have the puck. We all know what he can do when he thinks he can score, but he's killing penalties, he's checking, doing a lot of things."
Pavel tied for second-place on Bob McKenzie's 1993 coaches poll for the NHL's best penalty killer. He was also voted the league's second-best stickhandler that season and garnered recognition as one of the smartest players in the NHL.
Sports journalists Damien Cox and Stephen Brunt wrote about Pavel during the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs that he was a "two-way dynamo," accounting for "several bodychecks he handed out on the night" and for his defensive abilities as he stayed on the ice in the final minutes of a one-goal playoff match against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
They spoke highly of his creativity as well, recognizing him as "someone who sees in his game a world of possibilities that just never occur to others," praising his "sheer elegance and imagination" and characterizing his hockey sense as "ho-hum brilliance from the most explosive player in the sport." Brunt called him "a nonpareil, a van Gogh, a Picasso, a Charlie Parker."
During the 1993-94 season, Pavel demonstrated his strong playmaking abilities, helping linemate and friend Gino Odjick score a career-high 16 goals in a single season, more than twice the number of goals Odjick would score in any other year separated from Bure and doubling his career goal totals up to that point in his career.
According to teammate Cliff Ronning in 1994, "we play a much sounder game defensively when Pavel's flying, as he was in the first period."
Former Canuck Jyrki Lumme spoke of Bure as a player and teammate, "That guy does something spectacular every time... it's frustrating to go against him in practice because he's all over the place. He makes everybody on our team better."
In reference to Pavel's ability in his time as a Canuck to transition from defense to offense rapidly, anticipate plays and retrieve loose pucks with his explosive skating, Pat Quinn explained after a Canucks victory in Edmonton, saying, "The winning goal was an alert play on Pavel's part. He was positioned well on defence and then he saw that wicked bounce and he turned it into a goal. He's a cut above in those situations. We have nine or 10 other guys who would have probably missed the net." Adrien Plavsic, whose dump-in resulted in the opportunity, stated, "I made the safe play, it took a funny bounce and with his speed he got there first. All I was trying to do was get it in."
The Vancouver Sun's summary of the game described that "while Bure's winner displayed his exquisite sense of the dramatic, his second-period assist on Greg Adams' goal was far the more spectacular play. He turned Oiler defenceman Brian Glynn around like a set of revolving doors before feeding Adams in front."
Pavel won the Canucks' Most Exciting Player Award, as voted by the fans, a team record five times (tied with Tony Tanti) from 1992–1995 and once more in 1998.
Canucks teammate and captain Trevor Linden, who had played with Pavel for seven seasons, said following Bure's retirement, "I don't know if I've ever seen or played with a player that's brought people out of their seats like that."
During the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals, New York Rangers coach Mike Keenan, who later coached Pavel for one-and-a-half seasons in Vancouver, called him "perhaps the most electrifying forward in the league".
On November 1, 2013, the Vancouver Canucks officially renamed the award the "Pavel Bure Most Exciting Player Award" in his honor.
Pavel has been described as a pure goal scorer and is statistically among the top players in NHL history in that regard.
In addition to having reached the 50-goal mark in his career five times and the 60-goal mark twice, his .623 goals per game average is third among the top 100 goal scorers in NHL history, behind Mike Bossy and Mario Lemieux.
In the 1993-94 season, Pavel began the year with 7 goals and 13 points in his first 8 games, and finished the season with a streak of 49 goals and 78 points in his final 51 games, a goal-per-game pace playing with Gino Odjick and Murray Craven, interrupted primarily by a groin injury suffered on October 23, 1993.
In the final 47 games of that season, Pavel scored 29.67% of his team's goals to catapult them into the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs.
NHL veteran Mike Keane, playing with the Montreal Canadiens at the time, called Pavel "dangerous... right behind Lemieux and (Wayne) Gretzky. He can zip, he's strong and he can finesse you. A bona-fide superstar."
Michael Farber of the Montreal Gazette described Bure as "the most dangerous scorer in the National Hockey League with the continued absence of Mario Lemieux because Bure can beat a defence with his speed, his strength, his mind. Bure isn't a scorer as much as he is a permanent late-night television guest; he is to highlight packages what Terri Garr is to Letterman."
|Soviet champion (HC CSKA Moscow)||1988, 1989|
|IIHF European Champions Cup (HC CSKA Moscow)||1988, 1989, 1990|
|Soviet Championship League Rookie of the Year||1989|
|World Junior Championship Best Forward||1989|
|World Junior Championship All-Star Team||1989|
|World Junior Championship gold medal (Soviet Union)||1989|
|World Championship gold medal (Soviet Union)||1990|
|World Championship Second All-Star Team||1991|
|Winter Olympics Best Forward||1998|
|International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame||2012|
|Calder Memorial Trophy||1992|
|NHL All-Star Game selection||1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001|
|NHL First All-Star Team||1994|
|NHL All-Star Game MVP||2000|
|NHL Second All-Star Team||2000, 2001|
|Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy||2000, 2001 (led the league in goals in 1994, prior to trophy's creation)|
|Hockey Hall of Fame||2012|
|Most Exciting Player Award||1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998|
|Molson Cup (three-star selection leader)||1992, 1993, 1994, 1998|
|Cyclone Taylor Trophy (MVP)||1993, 1994, 1998|
|Cyrus H. McLean Trophy (leading scorer)||1993, 1994, 1995, 1998|
- Vancouver Canucks' single-season record, most points by a rookie – 60 in 1991–92 (tied with Ivan Hlinka, 1981–82)
- Vancouver Canucks' single-season record, most goals – 60 in 1992–93 and 1993–94
- Vancouver Canucks' all-time playoffs record, most goals – 34 (tied with Trevor Linden)
- Vancouver Canucks' all-time record, most shorthanded goals – 24
- Vancouver Canucks' single-game record, most goals – four versus the Winnipeg Jets on October 12, 1992 (tied with Rosaire Paiement, Bobby Schmautz, Rick Blight, Petri Skriko, Greg Adams, Tony Tanti, Martin Gelinas, Markus Näslund and Daniel Sedin)
- Florida Panthers' single-season record, most goals – 59 in 2000–01
- Florida Panthers' single-season record, most points – 94 in 1999–2000
- World Junior Championships all-time record, most goals – 27 in 21 games (1989–1991)
- Winter Olympics single-game record, most goals – five (1998; semi-final vs. Finland)
- NHL record, most goals scored in proportion to team: 29.5% of the Florida Panthers' goals in 2000–01.
Pavel was born in Moscow to Vladimir and Tatiana Bure in 1971. When he was 12 years old, his parents separated and Pavel remained with his mother.
Vladimir Bure, a Russian swimming legend, had dreams of Pavel becoming a professional swimmer, but Pavel aspired to play hockey at an early age.
Pavel attended his first tryout with the CSKA Moscow hockey school at the age of six despite his limited skating ability. Until that point, Bure had only played hockey on the streets with a ball.
After Pavel failed to impress in his first tryout, his father told him that if he did not show significant improvement within two months, he would withdraw him from the hockey school. By age eleven, he was named the best forward in his league.
Around that time in July of 1982, Pavel was selected as one of three young Russian players to practice with Wayne Gretzky and Soviet national goaltender Vladislav Tretiak in a taped television special.
By the time he was 14 years old, Pavel was named to the Central Red Army's junior team. In December of 1986, he embarked on a tour of Canada, spanning from Ottawa to Vancouver, with the Soviet national midget team.
Nearly five years before Pavel made his NHL debut with the Vancouver Canucks in 1991 at the Pacific Coliseum, he played his first game at his future home rink as part of the tour. He also earned another opportunity to meet Gretzky, as well as defenseman Paul Coffey when his team stopped in Edmonton to play at the Northlands Coliseum.
Pavel comes from an athletic family; his father Vladimir, who is of Swiss descent (his side of the family originated from Furna, Switzerland) was an Olympic swimmer who competed for the Soviet Union in the 1968, 1972, and 1976 Olympic Games.
He won four medals, including a bronze medal for the 100-metre race in the 1972 Games in which he lost the gold medal by half a second to American swimming legend Mark Spitz.
Pavel retained his father as his personal trainer well into his playing career, before severing ties with him in 1997. His paternal grandfather, Valeri Bure, also competed for the Soviet Union in the Olympics as a goalkeeper for the national water polo team.
Named after their grandfather, Pavel's younger brother, Valeri Bure, was also a hockey player, spending 10 years in the NHL.
The two siblings played with each other briefly as members of the Florida Panthers, after Valeri was traded there on June 25, 2001, as well as on the Russian national team at Nagano and Salt Lake City in 1998 and 2002, respectively.
In addition to athleticism, nobility ran in the family.
Pavel was named after his great-grandfather, a watchmaker to Tsar Alexander III. His family made precious watches for the tsars from 1815–1917; as craftspersons of the imperial family, they were granted noble status.
After he sustained his first serious knee injury in 1995, Pavel pursued the watchmaking business during his rehabilitation period in an attempt to revive the family business.
Fifty replicas of the same watches his ancestors sold to the Russian imperial family were made and priced at US $30,000 each. Bure presented three of the gold replicas to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Moscow mayor Yuriy Luzhkov.