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Watch: This 1992 Pavel Bure video is a rocket from the past

Take a trip back in time with this Canucks video from 1992.
pavel bure nhl
Pavel Bure was electrifying right from his first game with the Vancouver Canucks.

Pavel Bure is still well-loved by Vancouver Canucks fans. He was the first true superstar to don a Canucks jersey, transforming the team into a legitimate Stanley Cup contender in the early nineties. 

It’s fun to imagine what Bure would be like in the modern NHL, with the tighter rules around holding and hooking and the removal of rule banning the two-line pass, but even though he played in one of the lowest-scoring eras in NHL history, Bure still racked up the goals. 

So, let’s take a trip in time to shortly after Bure’s rookie season and watch this 10-minute “documentary” about the Russian Rocket from 1992.

This video is a pure nostalgia trip, with everything from the glorious graphics to the fashion screaming the early nineties at the top of its lungs. But it’s also a fun trip into how Bure was viewed in Vancouver after his rookie season.

“He’s the most talented hockey player I’ve ever played with and, in my life, I’ve ever seen, period,” says Greg Adams early on, which was saying a lot at the time, because he had played on Team Canada in the 1986 and 1990 World Hockey Championships with the likes of Marcel Dionne, Brent Sutter, Dale Hawerchuk, Steve Yzerman, Paul Coffey, Theo Fleury, and Doug Gilmour.

“The Russian Rocket’s the greatest thing that’s happened to hockey in Vancouver since Cyclone Taylor dazzled fans nearly a century ago,” claims the narrator. 

Fred “Cyclone” Taylor was a legend and, like Bure, one of the greatest skaters of his era. In 1912, he came to the west coast to play for the Vancouver Millionaires and led them to Vancouver’s only Stanley Cup in 1915. He scored 8 goals in just 3 games in the playoffs that year.

By the end of Taylor’s career in Vancouver, he had 159 goals in 130 games with the Millionaires. Bure didn’t quite score goals at the same rate in Vancouver but the game was a bit different back then.

The video does get some things wrong. The Canucks picked Bure in the sixth round, not the fourth round — they might have been thinking of Sergei Fedorov, who was picked by the Detroit Red Wings in the fourth round of the 1989 draft.

There’s a great shot of Brian Burke, then the director of hockey operations with the Canucks, walking with a trenchcoated Bure. Perhaps this was after Burke had driven down to Spokane, where Bure was practicing with his brother, Valeri, and the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL, to pick up Bure and drive him back to Vancouver. Evidently, at that time Burke was still wearing his tie like a normal person.

At 1:40 in the video, Bure is introduced to the fans for the first time as a Canuck. It’s great to see a young Bure casually chewing gum and smiling as the fans roar and give him a standing ovation. He rewarded them with an electrifying performance, even if he didn’t score until his fourth game, which the video also shows. 

One thing that’s missing from goal celebrations these days is high-fives. In old hockey highlights, players high-five each other all the time. What happened to the art of the hockey high-five?

Then there’s the music — my god, the music. At 3:48, a country shuffle dedicated to Bure kicks in: “Pavel Bure, that’s his name. When he skates, you might see him, he drives the other players insane.” 

Poetry. Though the follow-up line — “He doesn’t ask for much, he’s happy just to play the game” — is a little ironic given the contract disputes between Bure and the Canucks throughout the rest of the nineties.

After a brief interlude about Don Cherry calling Bure, “That little weasel,” we get another song. This one, at least, I had heard before: CKNW’s parody of “Wooly Bully” by Sam the Sham and The Pharoahs. It was a novelty version of a novelty song.

The musical highlight of the video, and the clearest sign that this is a true early-nineties production, is the opening strains of Bryan Adams’ colossal 1991 hit, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” originally written for the film “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”

The song comes completely out of nowhere and also goes completely nowhere — just before the lyrics kick in, the music changes to a generic early-nineties jock jam that plays over some final Bure highlights. 

Well, mostly Bure highlights. Despite Bure scoring 34 goals in his rookie season, the video seems to run out of Bure highlights in the final two minutes, eventually switching to general Canucks highlights. Even the Bure highlights it includes are repeats. It’s an odd choice.

Also an odd choice — the inclusion of this random Canucks fan doing his best Jabba the Hutt impersonation dropped in the middle of the highlights.