Pavel Bure

Don`t Rush The Russian Rocket

by Steve Giacobello

During the summer, the questions we all asked each other about Pavel Bure were along the lines of, “How many goals will he score? 50, 60, 70?????”, “Will Bure and Lindros be the first Rangers teammates to score 50 goals each in the same season?”.

Now, we find ourselves wondering if Bure will not only play again this season, but will he ever play again at all at the skill level that made Glen Sather acquire the speedy and dangerous right winger at the trading deadline of last year.

We all waited with great anticipation to watch a full season of the Russian Rocket as a New York Ranger, but an early knee injury during the pre-season, a bout with strep throat, then knee surgery, and most recently, double knee surgery, has limited Bure to playing in only 27 games so far this season.

The Rangers and Bure we’re hoping for a return at or around the All-Star break, but he’s made little progress in his recovery. He’s started some light skating but has said that the pain isn’t getting any better.

“The only thing I can do without pain is go straight ahead, and very slowly. If I try to turn, there’s pain. If I do turn, there’s so much pain that I can’t even go straight anymore.”

Not a good sign, especially for a player who relies on their skating and speed as a big part of their game like Pavel does.

Bure has said that it’s the right knee that is giving him the most trouble. The right knee has been reconstructed twice and operated on 5 times during Bure’s career.

Bure was told by the doctors that there’s really nothing that can be done about the pain, and is just a matter of how much pain he could play with.

The bottom line seems to be that Bure is going to have to either learn to play and live with the pain he’s experiencing right now, or call it quits. This is a real gut check for Bure.

But one things for sure….The Rangers can’t rush him back to play this season. Bure must be given the rest of the season, and all of the summer to properly heal and re-hab both of his knees. There’s no sense in rushing him back to play for the remainder of a season that in reality, is already over.

Let’s face it…the Rangers playoff hopes just died after the recent loses to Atlanta (twice), and Washington.

There’s no reason for Bure to play again this season, especially since the Circus comes in and takes over Madison Square Garden for the entire month of March, making the ice at MSG worse than it already is. (see my article entitled Too many “Ifs” to get excited and read some questions I wondered about regarding Bure’s knees and the Garden ice before the season started…..)

The Rangers are a better, faster, more dangerous team with Bure in the line-up no doubt…..but for him to return without being 100% as healthy and confident as he can be, it’s just to much of a risk to take.

Bure’s knees must be handled with as much care as Lindros’ head is being handled with. If not, Bure’s career as a Ranger will stand at 27 games.

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