12 June 2008

Forever a Canuck

Trevor Linden officially announced his retirement after 19 years in the National Hockey League. Linden spent all but three of those seasons as a Vancouver Canuck, returning to the Canucks in 2001.

Here are some numbers on Linden (taken from canucks.com):
  • 1st - Round draft pick of the Canucks in 1988 (2nd overall)
  • 95 - Points in 118 playoff games as a Canuck (34 goals, 61 assists)
  • 41 - Career game-winning goals
  • 318 - Career goals as a Canuck in the regular season
  • 415 - Career assists as a Canuck.
  • 733 - Career points as a Canuck for Trevor Linden
  • 867 - Career NHL points for Linden (375-492-867)
  • 1,382 - Career NHL games
At 21, Linden was named the Canucks captain, at the time the youngest captain in the NHL. He kept the "C" for 7 years until The Midiot and Keenan arrived. Linden then played for the Canadiens, Islanders and Capitals before returning to Vancouver in 2001.

In 1994 Linden led the Canucks all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals against the New York Rangers, carrying the Canucks on his back in game seven, scoring 2 goals in a 3-2 loss. This was the Canucks' 2nd (the 1st was in 1982) trip to the Finals, and to date its last. I was glued to the television for the entire playoff run, and to this day I detest anyone on that 1994 Ranger team.

Captain Canuck is the franchise all-time leader in games played (1140), assists (415) and is second in goals (318) and points (733). Trevor Linden's 118 games, 34 goals, 61 assists and 95 points in the playoffs are all franchise records.

Linden contributed both on and off the ice. He helped raise money for Canuck Place, BC Children’s Hospital, Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. Cancer Foundation, Camp Goodtimes, Ronald McDonald House of B.C., Kids Help Phone, the Michael Cuccione Foundation, and many other charities in BC, helping to raise millions of dollars for those in need.

In recognition of Linden's contributions to the community he was awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 1997, given annually to the "NHL player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution in his community". In 2008 Linden received the NHL Foundation Player Award, awarded annually to the NHL player "who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community".

Linden was an NHL Players Association player representative since 1990, and the NHLPA President for 8 years (1998-2006).

I've probably said this before, but Trevor Linden is my all-time favourite NHL player. His stats and on-ice skill never matched the greats - though they're nothing to sneeze at - and I don't think he'll make the Hockey Hall of Fame (though I wish he does), but his heart, drive and determination were second to none.

After game 6 of the 1994 Finals against the New York Rangers, the game the Canucks won 4-1, and a game The Midiot cheap-shotted Linden as he was crawling to the bench from an earlier hit by Graves, in the immortal words of play-by-play announcer Jim Robson:

"There is going to be that seventh game. We'll hope they can patch Linden up and get him in that one. He will play, you know he'll play! He'd play on crutches! He will play, and he'll play at Madison Square Gardens on Tuesday night! The game is over!"

That iconic pic above is from that game 6, a bloody, exhausted Linden hugging goalie Kirk McLean.

If you haven't guessed by now, Linden is the only NHL player I'm emotionally attached to. :o)

If Trevor Linden's #16 isn't retired (it would be only the 2nd officially retired jersey in Canucks history, up in the rafters with Stan Smyl's #12), then I'll grab my fork and torch and march up to Orca Bay and demand they do so. Well, I'll send a mean e-mail, at least. :o) No Canuck deserves such recognition more than Trevor Linden.

Best of luck in all your future endeavors, Trevor, and thanks for the memories....

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