Pavel Bure was a one trick pony. But he was the most electrifying pony of his era doing the most important trick in the game. Is that enough to get him into the Hockey Hall of Fame? I say yes, and I think it will happen in 2010.
I consider Bure to be in the same category as Eric Lindros. Injuries shortened his career far too early. Had he been healthy he could have attained career numbers that would have assured he would have been inducted into the Hall already. Back to back 60 goal seasons, as well three other 50 goal seasons including seasons of 58 and 59 goals. Injuries robbed us of one of the greatest players of our generation.
His period of dominance is not all that dissimilar from the great Guy Lafleur, who similarly dominated hockey for six otherworldly seasons and otherwise had a solid career in terms of offense. Obviously Lafleur's resume is much more decorate, with all those Stanley Cups and scoring titles and MVP awards, but how much of that was due to the team he was on? Bure, for the most part, was a lone scoring hero on some average to good teams. And his offensive mastery came in the Dead Puck Era. Imagine Bure nowadays in the obstruction-crackdown era.
Pavel Bure, like Lafleur, was one of those rare players that could get the fans out of their seats on any given shift. I don't think Wayne Gretzky even had the same excitement level as the Russian Rocket. Bure was a transcendent talent with a flair for the dramatic. Watching Bure play was an event onto itself.
Ultimately, Bure is the opposite of Dave Andreychuk or Dino Ciccarelli or even Hall of Famer Mike Gartner. Those guys were real good for a real long period of time, but never dominant players of their era. Does that equal greatness? Whereas Pavel Bure was great, but for a short period of time and never had the longevity to achieve the career numbers he should have. Does that mean he should be excluded?
Pat Quinn has to say about Bure's induction possibility. No man had more insight into Bure's career than Quinn, but they also had a fractured relationship.
We may not know what Quinn has to say about Bure being a Hall of Famer at least until the day it is announced he is inducted. But the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee will certainly hear the Big Irishman's thoughts on the Russian Rocket. Quinn is the committee's co-chair. I suspect Quinn's influential presence will directly sway the Bure vote.