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

Nov 8, 2012, 12:55 PM EDT

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.

  1. capesouth - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Well, if you analyze it, you can see he clearly grazed his shoulder first and Churla was beginning to drop his head into the elbow…..I’m kidding. Obviously ridiculously dirty and I would say he would be gone for the rest of the playoffs, nowadays. That was the definition of predatory.

    • capesouth - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      but I also think there is still the issue of giving the star players who do dirty deeds the benefit of the doubt, no matter how obviously dirty it was. That was an issue back then and is still the issue today. so maybe Bure would only get a few games..

  2. ron05342 - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Van Hellemond is in the HOF.

    It’s obvious he didn’t see it. If he did, Bure gets a game misconduct.

    As far as a suspension goes, its probably pointless to argue it. That is ancient history.

  3. Casey Hart - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    No way he would play again the rest of the playoffs.

  4. jessejames182 - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    I don’t think the suspension would have been as a big a deal as the resulting penalty, we saw refs over and under react last playoffs to no penalty be called on sending hossa off on a stretcher to the devil’s getting called a game misconduct for hit from behind when the player got up and skated off like nothing happened. The big difference is that they celebrated that hit (at least one team did), where now he would be strung up by shannahan, or let off the hook could go either way.

  5. theawesomersfranchise - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    If we’re going to pretend that they played by 2012 rules in 1994 great!!
    Shane Churla never would have been on the ice in 1994 because he would have been a useless liability.
    So the elbow never would have happened.

    • theawesomersfranchise - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      Oh and the reason why is because the Canucks (and the league) were not protecting players like Bure had enough and Churla got popped.
      Oh well

      Didn’t blame Bure one bit, it’s his team mates and league that should be embarrassed

  6. loinstache - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Don’t want to excuse the predatory hit but people have already mentioned that Churla was already a blatant goon, and preyed on Bure with cheap shots numerous times leading up to it. This is one of the few times I can recall that a skill player took matters into his own hands and the results speak for themself. Inarguably dirty but not at all without context.

  7. lsxphotog - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Certainly a dirty hit. But, Bure was a constant target of cheap shots in the playoffs. Not defending him at all. Super dirty hit…

    Bure never really hit, so maybe he just didn’t know how? LOL

  8. habsman - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    It is abundently clear that Brian Burke was, is and will always will be, an idiot.

  9. dutchman1350 - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Answer: If you use a 4% inflation the fine would be around $1,000 today.

  10. bear654 - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Clearly pointless to argue, but interesting fodder nonetheless…

    If this would have happened in the ’12 playoffs, no way Churla doesn’t miss time. Not only were rules different, but concussion protocol was too. Assuming Churla would’ve been held out at least a couple of games with concussion symptoms (which I’m sure he was experiencing) would’ve affected the decision to suspend. Shanny suspended Aaron Rome for 4 games in the SCF, and there was nowhere near the intent to injure that was clearly visible in the Bure hit.

    • jessejames182 - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      To be fair in round 1 in the ’12 playoffs (yes I forgot the specific players already), had a Nashville player slam one of the red wing’s heads right into the glass WWE style and there was no resulting suspension that followed, even though it was obvious intent to injure and the clock was around just a couple seconds left making it completely unnecessary, the league may be trying to crack down but they’re still horribly inconsistent on call and discipline.

      • bear654 - Nov 8, 2012 at 4:04 PM

        Good point, although Weber’s hit/headslam on Zetterberg wasn’t as violent as Bure’s, it was every bit as malicious. One difference is that Churla was knocked out on the play and Bure pretty much admitted to trying to take him out. Both Weber and Bure should’ve been suspended imo. Inconsistency is the only constant in disciplinary rulings…

  11. akmd1984 - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    The more important question here is…how did Shane Churla get elected captain? I clearly remember some guy named Modano being on that roster.

  12. DTF31 - Nov 8, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    I will never tire of seeing that hit.

  13. uscthom78 - Nov 8, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    He would have been read the riot act and given a huge suspension, perhaps out rest of the playoffs.

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