Dec 172008
 

My apologies for being out of touch for the last week and a half. I was in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for work last week and had to deal with some medical issues when I got back. At any rate, I wasn’t going to miss tonight’s game. (I made sure to tell my doctors at Abby Hospital that.)

The tributes have been coming in fast and furious for Trevor Linden. I’ve expressed mine here, here and here. But as everyone is recounting their most memorable Linden moments, let me share the first time I ever noticed Trevor.

As some of you know, I didn’t move to Vancouver until the early ’90s. Truth be told, while I watched the odd Canucks game here and there, I didn’t start really following the team until the ’94 Cup run and I didn’t pay much attention to Trevor Linden until round 1, game 6 against the Calgary Flames.

I was still bussing tables at abc Family Restaurants in 1994. I had worked a few extra shifts, and after paying my pager bill (I know, I know), I had some money left over for Canucks playoff tickets. I had just already gone to my first ever hockey game (round 1, game 3) and I was hooked. I wanted to go to another game so the morning after the Canucks won game 5 in overtime, I headed to the Ticketmaster at Scottsdale Mall to buy tickets for game 6.

I took an ex-girlfriend to the game. (We had just broken up after dating for a couple of years and were trying to work things out. I thought a night out would be a good idea.) There was a special feeling as soon as we walked into the Pacific Coliseum. Trevor was playing great even before he won it in overtime. There was a feeling that he wouldn’t let his team lose. He may not have publicly guaranteed a game 7 like other leaders did later that postseason, but he damn well played like he did and made sure the other guys on the bench did as well. Right at that game, and during the pandemonium that ensued after his OT winner, was when I realized how special Trevor was and this was of course backed up by his play to game 7 through the end of the Rangers series.

The thing about that night is that I broke up with my girlfriend for good on the drive home after the game. (Let’s just say I believe there are boundaries to the girlfriend/my best friend relationship and she didn’t.) The other thing is, after being upset for an hour or so, I turned on the radio, listened to Sports Talk (remember this was back when the program was actually still relevant), and after recapping the most memorable moments of that game, was completely over her. Only a couple of nights later, I was with my best guy buddies watching game 7 and watching Linden hug Bure after Bure scored in the 2nd overtime. Maybe it was coincidence, but my serious relationship with the Canucks began at precisely the same time my first serious relationship with a girl ended. And to this day, I still believe Trevor had something to do with it.

Here are some more stories and tributes:

From Alanah (written for NHL.com):

It might seem strange to most, but my favorite and most enduring memory of Trevor Linden was represented in a scene which depicts what might have been the most heartbreaking moment of his NHL career.

It was in the immediate postgame aftermath of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers. While the Blueshirts celebrated their hard-fought victory to the roaring appreciation of the Garden’s faithful after the final buzzer, the Canucks were slumped on the sidelines witnessing the atmosphere. And it was in that moment that a cameraman caught Linden in his lens.

Resting on his knees and looking battered and utterly spent, the Canucks’ captain watched the celebrations knowing that there was no tomorrow; that he was the leader of a lost fight. And yet, to me, that image is a reminder of his greatest strengths, too.

From the boys at Orland Kurtenblog:

On Wednesday night at GM Place, Vancouver will thank Trevor Linden.

We’ll thank him for the goals he scored, we’ll thank him for his leadership, and we’ll thank him for his hard work in the community.

But mostly, when the No. 16 jersey Linden wore is raised to the rafters, we’ll thank him for making us feel really old.

From Sean (Waiting For Stanley):

I really thought the Leafs would beat the Canucks in the semi-finals. All of my friends back then, being Canucks fans, were mocking me during the whole series. I stood by my team. But Trevor Linden and co. demolished Toronto in 5 games. I was shocked and angered…seeing Gus Adams bag that OT winner at the Pacific Colisseum and watching poor Potvin slump into his net.
I actually hated the Canucks for knocking off the Leafs. In fact, and I hate to admit this, I was actually cheering for the Rangers early on in the Finals because I was so mad at Vancouver.

I think it took me a fair bit into overtime in Game 1 to get over my stupidity and rally for the home team. OK, I got that off my chest. Why was that significant? Because that hardly-arguably was the best Finals in NHL history. And when the gritty Canucks pushed the Rangers to 7 games, it was a scar-faced Trevor Linden that grabbed his team by the throat in that Final game and nearly propelled them to a Cup win.

And finally, from Brian (Canucks Corner):

Almost every Canucks fan out there has a favorite Linden memory. His continued presence and contributions in our community will create more memories for others in the future. He will always represent this team, but he will also continue to be an icon in our city. Perhaps he will eventually become involved with the team again, there are many who think he would make a great coach.

Whatever the future holds for Trevor Linden, I am thankful I saw his career from beginning to end and for the memories and excitement he provided me. Enjoy your night on Wednesday Trevor, it’s our turn to say thanks to you.

Amen.

Thank you Trevor. And a million more times, thank you.

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