Biography [Source: wikipedia.org]
Nicknamed "The Russian Rocket" for his speed and skill, Bure was picked 113th overall in the 6th round of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks
out of the Central Red Army. Bure was a steal because the Canucks had chosen him seemingly a year ahead of his eligible draft season. However, Canucks scout Mike Penny
had discovered that Bure had played in enough international games to make him eligible a year early. He started playing for the Canucks in 1991-92, appearing in his
first game on November 5, 1991, in a 3-3 tie against Winnipeg. He scored 34 goals and 60 points in 65 games, tying Ivan Hlinka's 1981-82 team mark for most
single-season points by a rookie. At the end of the season, he was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year.
In the following two seasons, he registered sixty goals each, leading the NHL in scoring in 1993-94. That year, entering the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the seventh
seed, Bure led the Canucks, along with captain Trevor Linden and goalie Kirk McLean, on their Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the seventh game of the
opening round series in Calgary, Bure scored one of the most significant and well-known goals in Canucks history. Deking Flames goalie Mike Vernon on a breakaway in the
second overtime, Bure advanced the Canucks past Calgary to the second round against Dallas. In a spirited game two against Dallas, Bure scored two goals and, throwing
his weight around, would send Stars enforcer Shane Churla to the ice (he was later fined $500 by the league for raising his elbows). As the Canucks reached the finals
against New York, Bure tried a move similar to his series-clinching breakaway against Calgary on a penalty shot in game four, but was stopped by Rangers goalie Mike Richter.
Vancouver was defeated in seven games and Bure finished with 16 goals and 31 points in 24 games, second in playoff scoring to Conn Smythe winner Brian Leetch.
After injuries hampered him for the better part of the next three seasons - the worst of which involved a torn ACL at the hands of Steve Smith - Bure returned to top form
in 1997-98, scoring 51 goals and finishing third in the NHL with 90 points. In addition, he starred in the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, scoring nine goals in six games
for Russia as team captain. This included a brilliant five-goal performance in a 7-4 semi-final win over Finland. Bure and the Russians were awarded the silver medal
after losing 1-0 to the Czech Republic in the final.
After the season was over, Bure announced that he would not play for the Canucks again, and did not report to the club for the 1998-99 season. On January 17, 1999, he was
traded to the Florida Panthers with Bret Hedican, Brad Ference, and Vancouver's 3rd round choice in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft (Robert Fried) for Ed Jovanovski, Dave Gagner,
Mike Brown, Kevin Weekes, and Florida's first round draft choice in the 2000 draft (Nathan Smith). Bure left the Canucks as the franchise's fourth leading scorer
of all-time (as of the end of the 2007-08 season, he is presently fifth).
The Panthers subsequently signed him to the most lucrative contract in team history, a 6-year, $58 million deal. Because Bure had held out for the majority of the season,
Bure only appeared in 11 games for Florida in 1998-99, but would score an impressive 13 goals in that span. As a Panther, Bure would lead the league in scoring with
back-to-back 58- and 59-goal seasons in 1999-2000 and 2000-01, capturing two Rocket Richard Trophies. In his first full season in Florida, the Panthers would make the
2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the fifth seed, but were swept by eventual Stanley Cup champions, the New Jersey Devils. It would be Bure's final appearance in the NHL playoffs.
On March 18, 2002, Bure was acquired by the New York Rangers along with Florida's 2nd round pick in the 2002 draft for Igor Ulanov, Filip Novak and the Rangers' 1st and
2nd round choices in the draft and a 4th round choice in the 2003 draft. Upon being traded, he scored 12 goals in 12 games to complete the season with the Rangers.
Plagued by injuries throughout his career, he did not play in 2003-04 due to a lingering knee injury even after two operations. On November 1, 2005, Bure announced his
retirement from professional hockey due to complications with his injured knee (injury sustained in 2003). At the same time, it was announced that Bure would be the
general manager of Russia's ice hockey team at the 2006 Winter Olympics.
|USSR Championships||Regular Season / Playoffs|
|1989||U20 World Championship
|1990||U20 World Championship
|1991||U20 World Championship
|2001-02||New York Rangers
|2002-03||New York Rangers