<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/07/hendersonblog.gif align=left hspace=4>WHEW!
It was incredibly difficult to believe that the Canucks organization would ever make such a spectacular misstep. Screwing over perhaps your most beloved player once is bad enough, but twice? Unthinkable! Thank heavens we have dodged that bullet. I was pretty sure that Dave Nonis was far too canny to allow it to happen, but years spent following the Canucks can encourage a fan to brace for the worst. Next week, when Trevor dons the mysterious new uniform, it will do my little heart good.
It was an ugly decision to bring to town Trevor’s hated 1994 rivals, Messier and Keenan, especially after they had stolen his and our dream of hoisting the Stanley Cup. To add insult to injury, our darling boy was allowed to be demoted and demoralized, then traded away. But that unpleasantness had almost completely faded from memory. Trevor’s triumphant return to his adopted city made it seem like those intervening years in New York, Montreal and Washington were just a bad dream That Trevor had, in fact, played his entire career with the Canucks.
<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/08/aug2107_linden02_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/08/aug2107_linden02_t.jpg border=0 align=right hspace=4 vspace=1></a>That’s why the delay in re-signing Number 16 to another season, in light of his excellent play during the latter half of last season, and especially during the playoffs, was so confusing to this fan. We were repeatedly told last year that getting into Coach Vigneault’s good books was a matter of playing above expectation when you were given the opportunity. This mantra, though, seemed not apply to our Mr. Linden. And that is completely baffling to me. When you have a veteran player who won’t take a big bite out of your budget, who so thoroughly understands the game, has important playoff experience, almost never makes a dangerous mistake, has well documented leadership skills and has a desperate hunger to win the Cup, what could possibly prevent you from signing him? I doubt we will ever hear the story behind the story, but let me add my voice to the rejoicing chorus: Welcome Back Trevor!
Meanwhile, despite the fact that full frontal sunny weather has yet to arrive in Vancouver, summer is drawing to a close. It has been many a long month since the boys were last on the ice. This is the time of year when I always get twitchy and agitated because the hockey vacuum has become glaringly apparent to me. So, it always cheers me up to see the first pre-season footage of the lads getting together for practices out at 8 Rinks.
<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/08/aug2107_linden04_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/08/aug2107_linden04_t.jpg border=0 align=left hspace=4 vspace=1></a>Ah, this is the magical time, before actual wins and losses and local hysteria can disturb the fantasy. The time to believe that maybe, just maybe, this is the year. Or rather, The Year. The Year We Win It All. Lots to drive us forward. Trevor is the oldest active player not to have his name inscribed on the big prize. Markus returns year after year to face the abuse because of his tremendous desire to lead this team to victory. We have all seen just how desperately Louie wants to win, and, for a change, our goalie’s talent actually matches his drive. Dave must be a bit peeved that Brian Burke brought the Cup to his ‘hood to party – that should provide some motivation. We won the Division, we handed the Ducks their toughest battle in the playoffs, we’ve got plenty of upside.
Oh, drop the puck already! Just can’t wait.