There’s not much CBA stuff to report on right now, so let’s piggyback off the news that Pavel Bure’s number will be retired by the Vancouver Canucks to explore a question that Halford asked on Twitter the other day:
How long would Bure have been suspended for elbowing Shane Churla if it had occurred during the 2012 playoffs?
If you haven’t seen the play, enjoy:
The hit occurred in Game 2 of the 1994 Western Conference semi-finals. The Canucks went on to win the series in five games and went all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, where they lost to the Rangers in seven.
Bure wasn’t penalized on the play and was fined just $500 (!!!) by NHL disciplinarian Brian Burke.
Not surprisingly, Churla was incensed: “If it was the other way around, I’d be gone for 15 games at least. People would be calling me the biggest goon in hockey.”
But Bure didn’t see it that way, arguing it was the only thing he could do to stop the abuse he was taking on the ice.
“It’s not my style, but I had no choice,” he said. “They’re trying to kill me. I’m lucky I didn’t get hurt.”
Even worse for the Stars, Bure caught fire and, as Sports Illustrated put it, “almost single-handedly” eliminated Dallas.
Might the Stars have made it a closer series, or even won, if Bure had been suspended? It’s possible, given Games 3, 4, and 5 in Vancouver were decided by four goals combined and Games 6 and 7 would’ve been played in Dallas.
So back to the original question: What would Bure have received from Brendan Shanahan if the hit happened in 2012?
I’m going to say five games. If Churla had been seriously hurt (he didn’t miss a game), it would’ve been more.
Yes, Bure was a superstar, and the NHL loves its superstars. But consider:
—- The puck was nowhere near Churla. He had no reason to believe he was about to be blindsided. It was the definition of defenseless.
—- It was a direct head shot.
—- It was retaliatory.
Anyway, feel free to argue in the comments section. It’s been too long since we’ve been able to do that.