Rocket takes off

Archived from 1998-99 season.

NHL teams

Pavel Bure is back on the NHL ice. The Russian superstar joined his new team, the Florida Panthers, in a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders.

Bure's timing might be off and his shot may not have the full force in it after he sat out the first half of the season. Nonetheless, the Russian Rocket scored two goals in his first game with the Panthers.

"We won the game, that's great," Bure said. "Guys worked like one, all together. It's a great feeling just to play. I wouldn't have liked to play more, I think I played just enough. Tomorrow, I'll probably feel better."

That is exactly what the Panthers hope to see from Bure, who forced Vancouver to trade him after a season-long holdout. He was finally traded to Florida in a seven-player deal.

"Pavel had an impact right away, everyone knows who he is and what he can do." Panthers coach Terry Murray said. "I didn't use him anywhere near the amount of time he'll get. Fatigue was a factor but he had a great night. The fact that he was the first star and had two goals, that was great. That's him."

Bure represents a calculated risk for the Panthers. The marketing team will be happy selling seats at the National Car Rental Arena, but how will Bure fit with coach Terry Murray's system? Bure is known for his freewheeling style that is the opposite of the Panthers' disciplined system.

Bure's stay in Moscow wasn't all bliss, either. After being hailed as a hero when he lead Russia to Olympic silver medals, Moscow tabloids were busy reporting his partying and obvious liking of the night life. What happens when he hits South Beach?

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