It's hard in life to be a superstar's younger brother in the same sport. The pressure of expectations can be unbearable, and few can handle it. For a long time it seemed Valeri Bure, Pavel Bure's younger brother, wouldn't make it as an NHL star despite his talent.
Time has proven that Pavel didn't simply endorse his junior brother but made a portentous assessment of his potential. Three years later he was the Calgary Flames' leading scorer and one of the NHL's top goal-getters. The opportunity of a lifetime came along when Valeri and Pavel played side by side in the 50th NHL All-Star Game in Toronto and became the heroes of their team. Of all the brother duos that have ever participated in the All-Star game, the Bures obtained the most points. He was subsequently drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, where he was expected to follow in Pavel's footsteps and shine immediately.
Bure suffered numerous injuries early on and during the 1996-97 season, he had two concussions and his kidneys were damaged. He didn't feel at home in Montreal and in the eyes of many hockey experts, there was serious doubt about Bure's future. In the summer of 1997, as a limited free agent, he managed to win a new contract with Montreal but on the least advantageous of terms.
In his next season with Montreal, under new coach Alain Vigneault, Bure fared much better. However midway through the 1997-98 season, Bure was traded to the Calgary Flames, which marked a turning point in his career. In one of his first outings with the Flames, he scored a hat-trick. He even made it to Nagano, Japan, to play for Russia at the Olympics. There he made an important contribution to Russia's capturing the silver medal.
Always known as Pavel's brother, Valeri became a force all on his own in Calgary during 1999-00. He had 35 goals and 75 points, leading the team in both categories, and provided leadership that suggested he might be a late bloomer. His career came full circle in the summer of 2001 when he was traded to Florida and was given an opportunity to play alongside his brother.
Over the past two seasons injuries have plagued Bure's career and subsequently he was dealt to the St. Louis Blues at the trading deadline in 2003. Bure's stay in St. Louis was short lived as he made a return to the Panthers in 2003-04. During the 2003-04 season, Bure played in 600th NHL game and was leading the team in scoring when he was dealt to the Dallas Stars just prior to the trading deadline.
Bure's stay in Dallas was short lived as he was acquired by the Los Angeles Kings in the summer of 2005.