Bure brothers steal All-Star Game spotlight
Posted: Monday February 07, 2000 12:05 AM
By David Vecsey, CNNSI.com
TORONTO -- Even though big brother already had three goals and the MVP award in hand, little brother still tried to set him up for a fourth -- even though big brother had been telling little brother to shoot next time he got the chance.
The play was broken up.
"You know," explained Valeri Bure, "younger brother never listens to older one."
It wasn't rocket science. Then again, it was. Putting Viktor Kozlov between the Russian Rocket and the Pocket Rocket was probably the easiest decision Scotty Bowman had to make Sunday at the 50th NHL All-Star Game.
Playing alongside his Florida Panthers teammate and his little brother, Pavel Bure continued his torrid season with three goals and an assist en route to the MVP award in the World's 9-4 victory over North America. Valeri Bure chipped in with two assists -- both to his big brother -- and Kozlov had three assists.
"Obviously we were going to try to keep them together," said Bowman, who -- like previous World coaches Ken Hitchcock and Lindy Ruff -- was content to draw up lines by nation and let the guys play.
Did he see a glimpse of the superb skills that has typified Russian hockey throughout the years? You better believe it.
"You could see that classic Russian hockey," Bowman said. "They utilize a lot of the ice. A couple of instances on those passing plays where the puck seems to go board to board."
Valeri set up Pavel for two goals in an 8:05 stretch of the second period. On their first shift of the period, they went virtually the length of the ice on a give-and-go that resulted in Pavel's first goal. Eight minutes later, Valeri walked in from the blue line and sent a diagonal pass to his big brother, who whipped it past Martin Brodeur from near the bottom of the right faceoff circle.
"It was great to see how excited they were to play together," said Teemu Selanne, who was reminded of the inaugural International Showdown in 1998 when he and fellow Finns Saku Koivu and Jere Lehtinen tore the roof off the GM Place in Vancouver. "Even when Pavel scored that second goal, the way they were hugging and laughing. It was fun to watch." Pavel completed the hat trick -- why not, he leads the league -- by standing in front of Mike Richter and batting in a rebound late in the third period.
"It was just a special night for me," Pavel said. "I was playing with my brother and he set up two goals for me ... and helped me to get the MVP. So it is just a special night." Pavel is in the midst of a special season in Florida, leading the league with 38 goals as he re-establishes himself as one of the premier showmen in the NHL after a couple of disappointing seasons.
Valeri is having a breakout season in Calgary, mostly breaking out of his big brother's shadows. His 28 goals already is a career high.
"I always lived a little bit in my brother's shadow," Valeri Bure said. "He's one of the biggest players in the NHL. It's tough to overcome that but when you live in the shadow of one of the best, it's not so bad.
"I made some name for myself and people probably recognize what I do in my own way. It probably gives me a feel for what he feels like ... probably about one-tenth of what he feels like."
But he's not about to challenge for the family scoring crown. "I don't think I want to have a bet with my brother ... maybe if he has to score two or three for every one of mine."
Earlier this week, Pavel was anticipating the chance to play with his brother for the first time since the 1998 Olympics.
"It's going to be great," he said. "I'm really proud of him, [this season is] a great thing for him to have done. He's a great player on his own, different from me. I am my own player and my own person and he is his own player and person and I'm glad that he's getting a chance to show that to the world."
And on Sunday, he showed North America a thing or two, too