Modern hockey has become a mixture of Russian passing play and Canadian powerful style, sport's legend, Pavel Bure, told RT in an exclusive interview.
Bure, who joined the Vancouver Canucks in the National Hockey League in 1991, says crossing the Atlantic was a natural move for him at that time.
"Well, we’re talking about 22 years ago when I had a chance to go Canada… in those days NHL was the best league in the world,” he explained. “We didn't have KHL, which we have now in Russia… so the NHL was a next step for me. I had played for CSKA for so many years, I even played two years for the Soviet National team that still existed in those days, so it was a natural step for me to go and try to play with the best guys in the world.”
The Russian’s speed and scoring abilities not only made him made a sensation in the NHL, but – as he believes – led to changes in the way hockey is played in North America.
“In those days there was such a big difference between the Canadian and Russian styles,” Bure stressed. “Canada was more hitting, more shooting, whereas the Russian style was more about playing the pass, making combinations, to create something. Right now I would say pretty much everything is the same; we learn a lot from both the Americans and Canadians, and they in turn learn from us. I was one of the first to begin this playing mix.”
“But now everyone plays tough right now, doing lots of combinations, which is why there is such a minute difference between any styles of hockey now in the world," he added.
Despite spending 12 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers and New York Rangers, Bure still regards his CSKA Moscow debut in 1987 as the most memorable moment of his career.
"It's hard to tell… But probably I would say my first game for CSKA,” the 41-year-old said. “I officially started playing hockey when I was six years old with CSKA’s junior program. And together with my parents I calculated when I would realistically be able to make a professional team. And youngest players who did make it were around 16 years old. So I was shooting for that goal. And it took me ten years to get it. Finally, I made it into the CSKA professional team. So those first professional games were the most memorable, simply because I had dreamed of playing them for ten years."
The Russian Rocket quit sports ten years ago and last June he was officially recognized as one of the best hockey players in history by being included into the IIHF Hall of Fame.
"You know, it’s a great honor,” Bure explained. “It’s the biggest individual achievement you can get out there. Obviously when I started to play hockey with CSKA, the national team, and then the NHL, I never thought about it. And then it happens. I'm just really proud to be in such an elite group of players."