Pavel Bure accomplished great feats during his time in the NHL and he always did it at breakneck speed with deft hands and jaw-dropping creativity.
Other than the countless goaltenders Bure lit up in collecting 478 points (254-224-478) in 428 games played with Vancouver, most have nothing but kind words for the Russian Rocket. Below is a collection of thoughts and experiences about Bure from notable NHL figures.
"One of the toughest guys ever. Pavel Bure, to me, if you look at the best pure goal scorers of the last 50 years, he’s right up there. Impossible to stop really with the speed and his nose for scoring goals. It’s a great honour to be inducted with him." — Mats Sundin, former NHLer and 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee
"I don’t think he was one of (the most exciting players), he was by far the most exciting player in the game for that 10 year stretch that he played. I saw that first game of his and from then on he was just so electrifying that as a hockey fan, you wanted to watch the Canucks because you wanted to watch Pavel Bure and see what he was going to do. He was just a tremendous player." — Joe Sakic, former NHLer and 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee
"(Vancouver) had a great team and he was the explosive guy on the team, for every opposition team, every pre-game was always about Pavel Bure and him getting behind the defence. No matter how many times you talked about it, he would still stick it to you. He’s a great talent and he deserves to be in here." — Dino Ciccarelli, former NHLer and 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee
"Pavel was the Russian Rocket and before a game you’d be thinking that if we don’t find a way to shut this guy down, we’re going to lose. He’s also one of those rare guys that was very dynamic because of his skating ability that brought the crowd to its feet, almost as an entertainer. Like most good players, you just tried to contain him, you really couldn’t shut him down. He was an elusive guy, he could turn the jets on at anytime, so he was a very tough guy to cover." — Adam Oates, former NHLer and 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee
“The most electrifying player we’ve ever had in uniform. We’ve had some great players, but nobody, nobody was as electrifying as him.” — Pat Quinn, former Canucks head coach
“I remember watching Pavel even before he joined the Canucks when he played for the former Soviet Union, and being blown away with his speed and skill. There are very few players in the history of this game that had the ability to do things at the speed Pavel was playing at. That combined with his natural scoring touch and love for scoring made him unique. It was a treat to later have a chance to play with him and watch him closely on a daily basis.” — Markus Naslund, former Canucks teammate
“Pavel Bure had an immediate effect on hockey. Not only did he provide Vancouver with a player capable of winning a game, or turning a game around with one spectacular play...but he had an effect on the entire league. He sold tickets. Fans everywhere came out to see Pavel Bure play. And he didn’t disappoint, home or away, and played some of his greatest hockey under the pressure of playoff hockey.” — Jim Robson, former Canucks broadcaster
“He was a dynamic player. He’s one of those guys that you don’t see very often. Size would never be a factor in his game because he had so much skill and ability that he rose above it. Opponents couldn’t just try and hit him to slow him down because he would go out there and make you look foolish.” — Mike Penny, former member of Canucks management
“He was known as the “Russian Rocket” for a reason. His speed was incredible. But he wasn’t only a fast player, he also had top notch skills to go along with it. That combination is what made him so good.” — Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings forward
“A lot of people know about his dynamic play. He could shoot the puck and shoot it hard. He helped elevate everyone’s game. Pavel at half speed was like full speed for others. I remember a few times in practice where he would be coming down in full flight and, as a goalie, you would just kind of cringe. I was a goaltender that hated to be scored on, even in practice, but he would work on some of his moves and we would have a lot of fun. Pavel was a real joy to be around.” — Kirk McLean, former Canucks teammate
“He set the tone of the game with his speed and to watch him accelerate away from his opponents was amazing. He was electrify- ing to watch every night. You knew when he stepped on the ice something was going to happen. If you gave Pavel an inch you were done. He would finish with a beautiful goal.” — Stan Smyl, former Canucks assistant coach