Vancouver Canucks – Russian Wind

Lance Hornby November 5, 2013 7

Final Countdown

bure10Vancouver Canucks – Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Last Saturday night the Vancouver Canucks did something they have only done 3 times before. You think they would have learned already. Enough is enough. How dare they do it a fourth time. Who do they think they are, the Montreal Canadiens. In one fell swoop they managed to tick off lifetime fans at the same time unifying others. What heinous thing did they do you ask? They retired the #10 of Pavel Bure. Yes you read it right, if you can believe it, they retired the number of the only player in Canuck history to make it into the Hockey Hall of Fame. What in the hell were they thinking? This is a player who only had back to back 60 goal seasons once in his career. He only scored 254 goals as a Canuck, which is 5th all time. He sits 7th all time in points scored. He only won one Calder Trophy in his career. How dare they do this unthinkable act to their fan base. Mike Gillis and the Aquilini’s should be ashamed of themselves. Bure hated Vancouver, he couldn’t wait to leave. He held the team hostage in their 1994 Stanley Cup run, and then finally got his wish by being traded away 5 years later. How dare they do this to us. I don’t care Bure made everyone sit on the edge of their seat every time he touched the puck. It doesn’t matter to me that he was the most exciting player this team has ever had, right from his first touch of the puck in his first game against the Jets. It means nothing he is the only Canuck to be the league’s top rookie or that he is the only Canuck to lead the league in goal scoring, he only did that twice so it really shouldn’t count. I could care less he made 5 All Star teams while he was here. It means nothing his .59% goals per game as a Canuck ranks him as the best pure goal scorer in team history. I’m not like those other fans who think his 1.12 point per game average is something special, and I don’t care if he’s the only player in team history to average more than a point a game. Granted his 24 short-handed goals is a team record, but Alex Burrows is 2nd on that list with 16 so it’s just a matter of 6-8 years before that record is broken anyway. I think you’re just playing with the numbers when you say his playoff points per game and goals per game are still Canuck records. On paper “statistically” he might have the best numbers of anyone who has ever worn a Canuck jersey, but come on this is hockey, stats don’t count for much. He was only part of one team that went to the Stanley Cup finals, and even then it was Trevor Linden who carried that team on his shoulders, heck Bure only led the team in playoff scoring that year with 31 points, he didn’t even beat Brian Leetch for the NHL lead of 34 points.

I’m no Numbers Guy but…

Nov612_BureVernon_b_slideVancouver Canucks

Stats should be taken out of the equation all together. At least that’s what the fans who disagree with the #10 being retired want you to believe. Bure we were told was mainly a loner, he only hung out with one guy from the team, Gino Odjick. He didn’t even live in the city in the off-season. He avoided the media and struggled with the constant scrutiny of having his every move, public or private, watched and reported on. He had enough of being a celebrity and if you could believe it just wanted to be normal and left alone. He wanted to be able to walk down a street and not be mobbed by fans or media alike. He came to the city a young 20-year-old, who barely spoke English, and didn’t fully understand what he was getting himself into, and after 7 years he had had enough and asked to be traded. Don’t get me wrong I was ticked when I heard the news. How dare he do this to the team, the city and the fans. How dare he be selfish and look to go somewhere that he believed he could live a more normal life. We as fans were paying his salary, he had no right to want personal happiness on top of that. Did I just say that? Wow. To those who disagree with the retirement of #10 that’s fine, you are entitled to your opinion, and I am to mine. If you ignore the stats and look at the person you might have a point. I say might since I believe those people are the ones who believe the media and everything that was written about Bure’s so called ”disdain” for the city, and his “supposed” disregard for Vancouver Canucks fans. I say might because I am not one of those people. Bure did things behind the scenes to help out in the community and in the process did things that made him just one of the guys, even if it was just for a few hours every now and then. He didn’t tip-off the media when he did these things, he was a private person, he wasn’t doing it for glory or attention, he was doing it because he wanted to give back, and in the process have a bit of fun. How do I know this you ask? Simple, I had the pleasure to meet Bure in his 2nd year with the Canucks and train with him twice. On these occasions he was just one of us. He worked hard and was approachable. He didn’t put himself on a pedestal and to any outsider he would seem to be like everyone else. Problem was he wasn’t like anyone else. He was in the midst of his first 60 goal season and even though he felt the pressure of the fans and the media, he put even more pressure on himself. He loved playing hockey and loved scoring goals even more. You may not love how it ended with the Russian Rocket but if your only reason for believing his number shouldn’t have been retired is you think he never loved the city or gave back enough to the fans, then that’s too bad. Some people do things because people are watching, the worthy people do things when they know no one is watching, and for me I’m glad I was there when no one was watching.

As always you can follow my thoughts on the Vancouver Canucks and anything else that peaks my interest on Twitter @F4SLanceHornby