(Photo: David E. Klutho/SI)
The player comes off the ice in a huff. He’s pissed. The look on his face says it all: in the biggest game of his life, nothing is working.
In an expression of the depth of his frustration, he kicked the bench….
Pavel Bure was spectacular in the 1994 playoffs. If the Canucks had pulled off the ultimate miracle, and emerged victorious over the Rangers in 7 games, it would have been a hard choice between Bure and the spectacular goaltending of Kirk McLean for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Playing in all situations, Bure scored 16 goals in 24 games (13 were at even strength). His 31 points mean he was in on 41 per cent of his team’s goals. The old cliche about your best players being your best players was absolutely the case in the spring of 1994.
On the heels of his second straight 60 goal season, Bure was at the height of his powers. Just two games in the playoffs saw him go pointless – game 2 against Calgary and game 2 against New York.
There are a few things worth noting in that scoring record. First, look at his penalty record. After a frustrating start to the Calgary series, Bure took just 6 minutes of penalties from game 5 in the Calgary series until game 3 in New York, when he took his rather infamous 5 minute high-sticking major. At that time, a high stick that drew blood carried a mandatory 5 minute major and game misconduct along with.
That penalty turned the tide of the game. Bure had scored on his first shift, but his removal completely destabilized the Canucks’ structure, leading to a 5-1 Rangers win – the most lopsided result of the series.
Bure recorded 19 shots in the subsequent three games and bagged two goals in game 5 at Madison Square Garden. If the numbers can explain Bure’s game 7 frustration, 2 shots in the game just about does it. With no more games to come, the Rangers put up the same offensive assault they’d had all series, but took their clutch and grab tactics on Bure to another level.
His consistency in each series was astounding: in the final three games of the Calgary series, three goals, including the Brown to Bure overtime winner in game 7.
Dallas were shredded for 6 goals in 5 games, including 2 goals on 9 shots in the series-clinching game 5.
After his 4 goals in 5 games against Toronto, he scored ‘just’ 3 goals in 7 games against New York but he did add 5 assists…. Pavel Bure is going in to the hall of fame for more than just one spring of magical hockey, but this was the most spectacular stretch of his career.