Bure on Churla

How long would Bure have been suspended for elbowing Churla if it happened in the 2012 playoffs?


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.

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen