Linden

He will be the next and only the second Canuck to have their jersey number retired in Vancouver. 

He has embodied and personified the Canuck organization for 18 years.  And yes, that would include even those years where he played for other teams.  Burke spent the first few years he was here, trying to get Linden back knowing his history and importance to the organization.

Since 1998, Linden has also held the responsibility of being the NHLPA president, and endured an extremely troublesome and difficult time throughout the lockout. 

He and Ted Saskin have been credited with ending the lockout, and coming to an agreement with the owners on a structure for the new CBA.  (I’ve created a permanent link for you to read this under Chief’s Links)

”To be involved in this negotiation was a real experience and something I’ll never forget,” said Linden. ”It’s a real interesting position to be in and I learned a lot and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

That may be true, but one thing Linden may have liked to change was his performance last season.  His 16 points was his lowest total since making the Canucks as an 18 year old coming from the Medicine Hat Tigers.  It wasn’t just his lowest total, it was half the points of his previous low he got in his first year as a Canadien in Montreal when he played only 50 games.

So, at 36 years old, is this a vision of things to come?

When Linden showed up for training camp last year, it was just that.  For the previous year and a half, there was no hockey.  No training.  No biking.  Only the CBA.  And then there was an NHLPA internal rift that is still not resolved.

So, now that Linden has decided and announced his intention not to return as NHLPA President, he should be able to focus on what he’s always done.  Play Hockey.

And what better opportunity than now, when the only team he’ll sign with has a need for him on the right side.  Maybe even on the top line with the Sedins to replace Carter.  He’s better defensively and just as fast as Carter.  With improved conditioning and more minutes, he’ll be assured of more than 20 goals this year.

That, and he’s being reunited with a coach that already knows him from his time in Montreal.

The Chief Canuck

This article was inspired by comments left on my BLOG by JR.  Keep them coming.

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