By ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun
Who said it was Florida or bust for Val Bure?
Who said the Russian Pocket Rocket's flare had fizzled, his passion
for the game disappeared and his scoring touch made like Mario Lemieux's
OK, everyone did.
However, through the miracle of Christmas -- or perhaps it had more
to do with the fear of being benched again -- it appears the mighty mite
is ready to lead this team again.
Two days after recording his first two-goal effort of the season, Bure
went two better for an encore last night.
Scoring twice and adding two assists, Bure exhibited time and time
again why he was the team's leading scorer last year with 35 goals.
Circling the offensive zone with legs pumping and the puck seemingly
glued to his stick before making that quick shot or shifty outlet pass,
there was every reason to believe the old Val was back.
Especially in overtime, where the speedster used to feast on the open
space of four-on-four, he got the crowd revved up several times including
seconds before Derek Morris' game-winning blast when he fed the defenceman
for the big shot.
All told, No. 8 has now scored seven times in his last eight games
since the San Jose Slaughter landed him in the press box for two games.
"I don't know if I'd call it a relief (to start scoring again), but
it sure feels good," said Bure, named the game's first star.
"It seems like everything has been going real well for our line (alongside
Dave Lowry/Oleg Saprykin and Daniel Tkaczuk). We've been getting a lot
of offensive chances and playing well defensively, too."
Counted on heavily to provide the Flames with goals, it was no coincidence
Bure's struggles early in the season mirrored those of the team's.
Scoring just three goals and adding nine assists in the team's first
29 games, Bure's name appeared in headlines for all the wrong reasons.
There was talk he didn't get along with coach Don Hay and that he steadfastly
refused to buy into the new coach's system. Rumours also circulated he
wanted out of Calgary so he could play in Miami with brother Pavel.
He denied everything, as did Craig Button, as did Don Hay. They all
claimed things were peachy in Bure-dom and that he just wasn't getting
Well, now he is.
"Nothing has changed really," said Bure, who remained even-keel throughout
his first-half struggles.
"I'm just playing my game, concentrating on the things I do well, which
are skating and shooting."
The difference now appears not only to be a heightened passion to compete,
he is also very at home alongside rookie surprise Tkaczuk, who appears
to be the first linemate to mesh with Bure this year.
"Val was going to break out no matter who he plays with," shrugged
Tkaczuk, who has picked up more than a point a game since joining Bure's
line a handful of games ago.
"Everyone has been on his case for not scoring goals and I'm happy
to see him start scoring again. It's a privilege to play with a guy like
that and I just have to make sure when he finds the holes I get it to him.
But not only is he a great goal scorer, he's also a great passer."
With six points in his last two games, you can bet Bure was one of
the happiest Flames at the team's New Year's Eve bash.
And as sure as nobody knows the words to Auld Lang Syne, he'll be pumped
to keep the scoring binge alive when he faces the San Jose Sharks, who
essentially got him back on track
"We won't even bring that up," said Bure of the 8-0 slaughter that
led to him being benched.
"Hopefully we'll just keep on doing what we've been doing."
No one wants that more than him.
Страничка Валерия Буре на сайте
"Звёзды с Востока"
13 августа. Федоров, Буре-младший
официально отказались от участия на Кубке Мира.
10 марта.Bure says this exit's for keeps - Florida
8 марта. “Флорида” снова обменяли Буре. На этот раз
14 января. У Буре все в порядке! - Советский Спорт
11 января. Еx-Flame Bure still loves Calgary
- Calgary Herald
7 ноября. Засуха
Буре-младшего закончилась на 363 дне.