by Matt Pennino
When I first heard that Bure had been traded to the Rangers I was hyped up. I was in New York City at the time and my cousin who is also a Rangers fan told me they had acquired him but wasn’t sure for who. Since I did not have access to a computer, I put on WFAN to get the details. I was going to regret hearing them trade the likes of Mike York and Jamie Lundmark to Florida but much to my surprise it was for the god awful Igor Ulanov, an unproven defenseman Filip Novak and two draft picks. My first reaction was, is that all? Now there’s no doubt in my mind that Novak can become a superstar but that’s the beauty of trading prospects and/or draft picks. You just don’t know if they are going to pan out or if the draft picks will even make it to the NHL.
If someone went up to me and said they expect Bure to score over 50 goals and break Adam Graves’ record total of 52 set in 1994 you would be right on. But here’s an interesting fact for you; not including Bure the Rangers have had 21 former 50-goal scorers in their history. Not one ever scored 50 while wearing a Blueshirt. The only two players to score 50 were two gritty wingers that were never expected to reach that plateau. They are Vic Hadfield in the 1971-72 season and the aforementioned Adam Graves. So as of now, history is not on Bure’s side. I’m not saying he won’t score 50, heck I hope he scores about 60 but a little speculation never hurt anybody.
The one thing I liked hearing from Pavel was that he was excited about coming to New York and liked the buzz the city had to offer. The only Ranger I ever remember saying that was Wayne Gretzky, when he mentioned that he liked playing under pressure and New York was the best place to do just that. Not to mention we all know what Gretzky did in a Ranger uniform, and his stay in the Big Apple was memorable and certainly something I will never forget.
When a player says they enjoy playing in New York, you know you have something special. Sure, there are a lot of players that like the city when they travel or wonder what its like to play in the Big Apple. But saying and doing are two different things; and the Rangers teams of these last few years have been doing more saying than taking action. Meaning they say they like it here, but it doesn’t show on the ice. When the Rangers acquired Bure he did everything but underachieve. Playing with Eric Lindros he tallied 12 goals and 8 assists in his dozen games on Broadway. Whether the hot streak continues into next season remains to be seen, but playing on a line with Eric Lindros gives me little doubt. Or will that number previously mentioned reach 22? There’s that speculation again.
Not only is Pavel Bure one of the few Rangers who liked playing in New York, he is also a player this team has lacked for a long time. That is a player who is a threat to score every time he touches the puck. Sure Lindros and Holik have great skill but when Bure touches the puck, I’m on the edge of my seat and waiting for him to put the afterburners on.
If he can stay healthy and remain on that line with Lindros, he better make sure he has a mantel above his fireplace because he’ll need a home for his Maurice “The Rocket” Richard trophy.