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The Rocket's speech

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

The Pavel Bure rumours you’ve been hearing are completely false.

The Russian Rocket does not suffer from glossophobia.

Glossophobia, also known as speech anxiety, is a fear of public speaking; according to a March 2012 study done by the National Institute of Mental Health, 74 per cent of North Americans experience speech anxiety, so much so that this fear ranks ahead of spiders, heights, confined spaces and death.

Yes, a lot of people out there would rather have life cut short than do what Bure will do Monday night at the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

Bure, Mats Sundin, Joe Sakic and Adam Oates make up the class of 2012 who will become the 252nd, 253rd, 254th and 255th players bestowed with hockey’s greatest honour in the player category.

The sold out gala celebration, to be held at the Hockey Hall of Fame, will feature some of the greatest hockey players of all-time, players who will welcome Bure, Sundin, Sakic and Oates to the club with open arms – as long as they survive the acceptance speech.

Two minutes. Each new inductee has to stand his ground for two minutes in front of the hockey world. What they do and say for those two minutes is up to them and although Bure didn’t reveal how his speech preparations are going, he isn’t the least bit nervous about it.

No glossophobia here. No phobias at all.

“It’s not the first time I have to be in the public, I was doing this for 25-years, so I’ll be okay,” laughed Bure, when talked exclusively with him Sunday morning.

“It’s not that big of speech,” added the 41-year-old, smirking. “You don’t have to stand there and talk forever, it’s just a short period of time you have to try to say what you think. Basically it wasn’t really difficult, I’m going to say what I think, that’s about it.”

Although he didn’t say it, it’s pretty clear Bure hasn’t been re-writing his speech on cue cards and practicing it in the mirror.

Bure made it sound like writing possibly the most important speech of his life – akin to writing personal wedding vows for any non-hall of famers reading this (everyone) – was as simple as picking up a puck at centre ice, splitting the defence and scoring a highlight reel goal.

Maybe it was?

Maybe not.

When quizzed about how much trouble he must have had narrowing down his list of people to thank, Bure had this to offer: “It starts from the bottom and goes to top, but you’ll see.”

The man of mystery continues to live up to his name.

There are a few educated guesses we can make as to whom he’ll acknowledge, however.

Bure’s mother, Tatiana, has been with her son in Toronto taking in the hall of fame celebrations and during a fan forum Sunday, Pavel was asked about how he got into hockey. He revealed that Tatiana was the one taking him to the rink a lot of the time.

Tatiana, welcome to the acceptance speech.

If mom’s in, Vladimir, dad, is too. Bure also addressed his dad during the fan forum saying that he practiced a lot to become such a fast skater, but that his father was an Olympic athlete, so he was blessed with good genes.

No Vladimir sightings in Toronto, yet, but another sighting has been confirmed. Former Canucks forward Gino Odjick has been seen with Bure this weekend, and the two have been friends since the days 'Chief' watched the Russian Rocket’s back on the ice.

Odjick, you’re in.

So are you, former Canucks president, general manager and coach Pat Quinn. Bure and Quinn actually met up earlier this weekend and shared a few laughs about the old times; “It’s nice to see the people who had a big part in your life,” said Bure.

Speaking of someone who played a big part in Bure’s life, Igor Larionov, expect a shout out.

When recalling his first few days in Vancouver and thinking back to his first practice and game with the Canucks, Bure said Larionov, his fellow countryman, was by his side. In fact, Larionov was the one who first told Bure the Canucks had drafted him, and the two remain close.

As far as individuals go, those five are shoo-ins.

After that, you’re guess is as good as mine. Well, almost.

A group Bure will not forget is his loyal fans. Bure was a private guy and at times he came across as unappreciative of Canucks fans when really, he’s just a quiet guy who was thrown off with his Elvis status.

One of the biggest smiles Bure cracked Sunday was when he spoke of the fan turnout at his first Canucks practice.

“I was shocked when we got to the practicing rink and there were so many people there waiting just to see the practice, it was basically like a game!”

Mom, dad, Odjick, Larionov, Quinn, the fans annnnnnd time.

Was that two minutes?

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