The ballad of Trevor Linden

Canucks Jersey Retro Linden – Back

Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson

Trevor Linden never won the Stanley Cup, never won a scoring title and is behind Marcus Naslund as the team’s all time scoring leader and yet I think everyone in Vancouver will agree that he is the greatest player the Canucks ever had. Yesterday he made his retirement official, he is no longer a Canucks and as fitting he is not going to be playing for anyone else. Twenty years to the day of being drafted by the Canucks he is finished with the NHL, and leaves Canucks fans knowing that we won’t ever see another player like him again.

Linden was always overshadowed by other players, during the 1993-1994 Stanley Cup run he was such an important part of the team, but the attention was focused on Pavel Bure’s remarkable bursts of speed. When he returned to the Canucks, following the ill-fated attempt to rebuild the team around Mark Messier, it was Todd Bertuzzi and Marcus Naslund who were seen as the team leaders. Naslund remained captain of the Canucks, despite the fact that Linden was once again the team’s natural leader.

Or maybe he wasn’t. The failings of the Canucks in the past few years has time and time again been the failing of trusting too much in natural skill and not enough in pure work ethic. In the dying weeks and months of this past season it seemed that Linden and goalie Roberto Luongo were the only players dismayed by game after game of sub-standard performances. A team that should have reached the late stages of the playoffs did not even make them.

Vancouver’s going to miss Trevor Linden, though it’s not clear that the Canucks themselves are. The new General Manager just happens to be Naslund’s former agent Mike Gillis, a situation that seems to promise that the Canucks will be missing the playoffs more often. Linden, like Ryan Smyth, was a player that would give everything he had to win a game, a trait that many of the Cancuks seem to lack, and a trait that they lack even more today.

Nobody would ever say that Trevor Linden gave anything less than everything he had on the ice. He may never brought the Stanley Cup to Vancouver, but in ’94 he came close and gave all Canucks fans some of their most cherished memories. He’s leaving and we will love him, for now and forever. Of any Canuck he’s the one we should be naming streets after, and building statues.

He’s our Captain, no matter who held onto the ‘C’.

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