Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pavel Bure Autographed Card

I actually had to take this one out of the frame I'd put it in just to scan it...!
Pavel Bure was one of the flashiest players of his era - speed, skill, hard shot, and perhaps second only to Brett Hull as the 1990s ultimate goal-scoring machine. He usually got more goals than assists because his style of play was usually to grab a pass from a teammate and just skate ahead with it, beating every defender in sight to end up on a breakaway. Five 50-goal and two 60-goal seasons will attest that it worked very well.

He won the Calder trophy, the Maurice Richard trophy twice (would have gotten an extra one in 1994 had the award existed at the time), was a First and Second team All Star, and played in the All Star Game 6 times. His statistics were also impressive, as he scored 437 goals coupled with 342 assists (good for 779 points) in 702 NHL games to go with his 11 goals (and just one assist!) in 12 Olympic games.

He was named to the Hall Of Fame just a few weeks ago and for his talent alone, he was a shoe-in. However, I don't like when they induct players who don't have 1000 points or Stanley Cups, but he does have the 50-goal seasons and hardware I also think are essential. Plus, we all know that if he hadn't gotten those knee injuries which inevitably cut his career short but also took his greatest asset away - his speed - he would have gone to 1000 points while keeping a point-per-game pace. So his entry makes more sense than that of Mats Sundin, but isn't an obvious pick like Joe Sakic and Adam Oates.

Some think his mob connections should have hindered his chances... but what if they helped? Stranger things have happened.

Still, the Russian Rocket holds a place dear to my heart, in part because he signed this card in blue sharpie (with his number '10' tacked at the end) for me at the 1993 All Star Game, which was held a few blocks from where I lived, at the old Montréal Forum. He was among those who stayed the longest with us kids to sign cards and pictures, and to have his photo taken. He was a real gentleman, although he was pretty much a teenager then himself.

The card shows him in the classic, beautiful, black (away) 1980s Vancouver Canucks jersey, and is card #564 from Pro Set's 1991-92 Series 2 (high numbers) set; it's his rookie card for this brand, but Upper Deck beat every other company by having him the previous season.

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