By Michael Blinn
Pavel Bure scored 437 goals for the Canucks, Panthers, and Rangers during his 12 NHL seasons, twice hitting the 60 goal mark by using his trademark speed that earned him the moniker "The Russian Rocket."
On Saturday, the Rocket flew a little higher when his No. 10 was raised to the rafters in Vancouver, the city where he built his legend by winning the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 1991-92 after scoring 34 goals and 60 points in just 65 games. He followed that up with back-to-back 60-goal, 100-point seasons, leading the Canucks to the 1994 Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the Rangers in an target="_blank">epic seven-game showdown. Sadly, it was Bure's one and only trip beyond the conference finals.
While a bevy of knee injuries shortened his career and kept him from climbing any farther in the record books, Bure was one of the NHL's most prolific scorers, and even more so during the low-scoring mid-to-late 1990s, known to fans as the 'Dead puck era.' He led the League in goal scoring three times during his career, winning consecutive Rocket Richard trophies after it's creation in 1998-99. He holds or shares Vancouver's franchise records for rookie points, goals in a season (60), career shorthanded goals (24), goals in a single game (4), total playoff goals (34), as well as the Florida Panthers' single-season marks for points (94, in 1999-00) and goals (59, in 2000-01, which accounted for an NHL-record 29.5% of the team's goals during that campaign).
Bure's career was also decorated with numerous international accomplishments, including a silver medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. His impressive resume earned him a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame, into which he was inducted in December 2011.
Bure was not the only player who saw his jersey number rise on Saturday. Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote joined Peter Forsberg, Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy, and Ray Bourque in the rafters at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Foote's career was nowhere near as flashy as Bure's -- his was more grit and physical play than goals and points -- but he was a rough, tough protector of the players whose numbers hang with his in Denver.
In 19 NHL seasons, Foote racked up 66 goals and 308 points in 1154 career games with Quebec/Colorado and Columbus, twice winning the Stanley Cup with the Avs in 1996 and 2001 and becoming a fan favorite along the way. He also added gold medals in Olympic play (2002 in Salt Lake City) and the World Cup (2004), retiring in 2011, ranked 125th all-time in games played.