Bure: I hope Vancouver turns it around

  • Written by  Danijel Jelenek / Mislav Jantoljak
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Photo: Davor Sajko / Photo: Davor Sajko /

After dropping the ceremonial puck prior to Game 4 of the Western Conference KHL quarterfinals between Medvescak Zagreb and Lev Prague, we were joined by one of the legends of hockey, the 'Russian Rocket' - Pavel Bure.

What was your experience in Zagreb like, how did you like tonight's game?

'You know, this is the first time that I've been to Zagreb so it was special. I was surprised by the team and the fans, you know the way that they cheer like last night, they were losing 5:2 and nobody left. They support their team until the last second so it was really impressive.'

During your career, did you ever see standing ovations for 10, 15 minutes for a losing team?

'That's what I'm saying, it's really impressive.'

What's it like when compared to what fans do in Vancouver?

'It's a bit different. They cheer differently, it's like a mix of football (soccer) and hockey, all those drums and everybody cheering together which doesn't usually happen in the NHL.'

How do you see Medvescak's North-American 'experiment' in the KHL?

'I think it's very good. There are a lot of Europeans now going to the NHL and a lot of North Americans are coming here. It's all part of a globalization process and everything is mixed.'

We heard that you are supposed to be the next general manager of a team in Sochi? What are your plans for this team and what kind of team are you going to build?

'First of all, it's our plan to have a team there, we'll know more in a couple of months.'

Is it something that's certain?

'Hopefully it's going to work out, we'll see.'

Speaking of Sochi, can you we just take a look at the Olympics - how did you see the tournament?

'I've been really impressed with what's been done over the past 7 months. There was nothing there for years and now they've built so many beautiful facilities. I've been there a few times duing the Olympics and it went really well, everyone was enjoying themselves. Team Russia didn't do well in hockey, but overall we won in the Olympic medals total.'

Seeing how you were under the same kind of scrutiny while playing for Russia, you can probably relate to the pressure that was on Alexander Ovechkin, what would you say to him right now, when it's all said and done?

'Well, pressure is part of the game and you have to deal with it. All those guys on Team Russia are experienced NHL and international players and that's what they have to deal with.'

'So, no excuses?'

'Well, you step on the ice and everyone expects you to win and score a goal but that's your job.'

Can you compare the game from when you retired, has the game changed all that much?

'Yeah, you know, the guys are bigger, stronger and skate faster...'

You were one of the fastest ever, when you look at these guys, do you feel you could still keep up with them?

'I never liked to compare the times (time periods). I had my time and all that I can generally say is that guys are bigger AND can skate fast. Before, if you were big, you didn't skate that fast. Everything's improving and I'm enjoying the new rules, and what they did with the red line and all, I think I'd have more breakaways now.'

So you'd probably have scored more, right?

'Well, who knows...'

Do you follow the NHL on a regular basis now?

'Yeah, I do.'

Your comment on the situation in Vancouver right now, with all the trades and losing heavily to the Islanders - what's going on there?

'It's hard to say, I know the ownership and the management really well but sometimes I guess you have to go through hard times and I'm hopeful they'll turn it around.'

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