With Henrik Sedin’s 3 point night against the Ducks, Hank is back on a pace that could potentially approach the Canucks single season record (how’s that for equivocation). If he continues along the same lines, he’ll end up with 109.702 points, but I’ll leave it to Canucks Army’s stat specialist Cam Davie to figure out how he picks up the 0.702. Maybe that’s the value of a second assist on an empty net goal.
This semi-torrid scoring season that Hank is putting up got me thinking about the guy whose record he is trying to break, Pavel Bure. More specifically, I’m putting in my two cents as to whether or not he’s a Hall of Famer. I know the timing isn’t perfect, since no one is thinking about the HOF right about now, but if anyone remembers how Bure left town, we all sure as hell know he wasn’t perfect. But let’s try and focus on the positive.
I could hit you with all sorts of comparisons where Bure comes out favourably. The best of which is HOFer Cam Neely. They were both betrayed by the bodies and had their careers cut short as a result. Bure ended up playing less games than Neely, yet ended up with more goals and more points. Neither ended up with a Stanley Cup, so you can’t really throw that in Pavel’s face.
We could compare stats all day, but like all of you, when try to evaluate the HOF candidacy of a player it tend to look at unrelated quotes from former American Supreme Court Justices. Let’s go with everyone’s favourite, Potter Stewart, who famously stated that "hardcore pornography" was hard to define, but "I know it when I see it". Now i know porn has no place on the internet, but as an analogy, it kind of works. It really is hard to get a perfect definition of a HOF athlete, but really don’t we just know it when we see it. And I think any Canuck fan of a certain age just knows. Bure was and is the most exciting, dynamic player in Canucks history.
It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when Canucks Mania did not have a grip on the hearts and souls of our fair city. A half empty Pacific Coliseum was a common sight during the 1980’s. Bure’s arrival and subsequent performance helped to create hockey fans. He’s probably the only player in franchise history that is truly responsible for selling tickets. Nowadays people go to the Canucks to see the Canucks, but back then there was a large flock that was there solely to see good ole Pavel. He got you on the edge of your seat, every game, every shift it felt like he could go end to end and score. He was Ovechkin before Ovechkin. Just as fast, just as crazed, just as reckless. If you don’t believe me, just as Shane Churla’s face.
I guess, it mostly comes down to likeability. It’s hard to rally support when there’s still a large contingent of Vancouver fans who still haven’t forgiven him for how he left. He is the guy after all who didn’t bother to show up for Trevor Linden’s retirement ceremony. Should we care about him if he doesn’t care about us? Time heals all wounds, and those were such good times, so I vote yes. Besides, if likeability really is the deciding factor, former Islander Billy Smith would have to get the boot. If he had a mother, I highly doubt even she liked him.