|Born: March 31, 1971 in Moscow, Soviet Union (Russia)
They called him the Russian Rocket and for good reason. Despite a career cut short because of injury, Pavel Bure was among the most electrifying players of his generation, one of the first players to star on both the international stage and in the NHL.
He burst onto the world scene at the 1989 U20 Championship in Alaska, playing with two veterans of the event, Sergei Fyodorov and Alexander Mogilny, to create arguably the greatest line in U20 history. Bure played at the 1990 and 1991 U20 as well, winning two gold and then a silver. He also played at the 1990 and 91 World Championship, winning gold and bronze.
These would be his last games internationally for seven years. Bure had been drafted by Vancouver in 1989, and by 1991 he was able to join the Canucks and realize a dream of playing in the NHL. Just 20 years old, he was a star from almost his first shift, bringing a speed to the game that verged on daring.
By the end of his first season he had 34 goals and 60 points and beat out Nicklas Lidström for the Calder Trophy as the leagues top rookie. Bure then recorded two consecutive 60-goal, 100-point seasons and helped the Canucks advance to game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals in 1994.
En route he scored one of the biggest goals in franchise history, on a sensational breakaway in game seven of overtime against Calgary. He later had a 51-goal season with Vancouver before being traded to Florida. While with the Panthers, Bure won the new Rocket Richard Trophy twice (for leading the regular season in goals), scoring 58 goals in 1999-2000 and 59 goals the next year.
It wasnt until the NHL allowed full participation in the Nagano Olympics that Bure played for his new country, Russia. Not only did he help take the Russians to the gold-medal game, he also produced one of the most dazzling individual performances of the modern Olympics, scoring five goals in a game against Finland on February 20, 1998. The team went on to lose 1-0 to the Czechs, though, and it had to settle for a silver medal. He won a bronze in 2002 in Salt Lake, his last international appearance.
Bure, however, suffered a series of evermore serious knee injuries, and was forced to retire in 2005. On that same day he was named Russias general manager for the 2006 Olympics in Turin. He becomes the 31st Russian named to the IIHFs Hall of Fame