Hockey Hall of Fame: Pavel Bure Was One of the Rarest Talents the NHL Has Seen

Nicholas GossCorrespondent INovember 12, 2012

Glenn Cratty/Getty Images

Pavel Bure was one of the rarest talents in NHL history and will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night in a class that includes Joe Sakic, Adam Oates and Mats Sundin.

As one of the best young Russian players in the world, Bure joined the Vancouver Canucks for the 1991-92 season as someone who was expected to help the franchise win its first Stanley Cup. 

From the moment he stepped onto the ice as an NHL player, he immediately showed the remarkable skills that would help make him one of the most electrifying players of his generation.

In his first shift, Bure made the Winnipeg Jets look like an amateur team as he used his sensational speed to explode into the attacking zone. It was a preview of the thrilling excitement he would bring to the NHL.

Bure's amazing combination of elite speed, shooting accuracy, hands and athleticism allowed him to become on the best goal scorers hockey fans have ever seen.

Very few, if any, players who played at the same time as Bure were more fun to watch. He was worth the price of admission every night.

He was an incredible talent with a skill set that no player has brought to the NHL since Bure retired after the 2002-03 season.

Current stars such as Alexander Ovechkin are Marian Gaborik have similar skills, but neither of them have the unbelievable offensive talent that Bure displayed throughout his career.

Bure was able to perform unreal moves with the puck at such a high rate of speed, moves that many of the best players in the NHL right now would have a very difficult time doing at regular speed.

Not many players in NHL history have been able to grab the puck, accelerate toward the attacking zone with great speed, then score with a beautiful deke or a deadly-accurate wrist shot as well as Bure. If he was just a half step ahead of you, there was no way you were going to catch him.

Below is one example of Bure's ability to pull off incredible moves at top speed and score.

Even though Bure was a great offensive player, he wasn't "soft" by any means. Opponents made sure they were physical with him, and Bure wasn't afraid to fight back with his own level of toughness. If he played after the 2004-05 lockout, he might have been able to score 70 goals in one season.

Many of Bure's best moments with Vancouver happened during the 1993-94 season, when the Canucks advanced all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final before losing 3-2 to the New York Rangers.

Bure's overtime goal (video below) in Game 7 of Vancouver's 1994 first-round series against the Calgary Flames is one of the most memorable moments in team history. Unfortunately for Bure, he would never make it back to a Stanley Cup Final.

He led the Canucks in scoring during the '94 playoffs, and finished his playoff career with 35 goals and 35 assists in 60 games. 

One thing that may have prevented Bure from getting into the Hall of Fame sooner was his lack of longevity. He doesn't have the stats that players like Adam Oates racked up over 15-plus years, but if injuries didn't derail his career, Bure could have achieved incredible scoring totals.

In 702 games during his 12 NHL seasons, Bure scored 437 goals with 342 assists for 779 career points. He scored 50-plus goals in a season five times and 30-plus goals seven times. If players like Cam Neely are in the hall of fame without a lot of longevity, there's no reason to keep Bure waiting for induction.

Bure is one of the best goal scorers ever and arguably the best Canucks player in team history. As one of the best players of his generation, Bure's induction into the Hall of Fame is well-deserved.


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