This is Trevor Linden.
And this is Trevor Linden.
This is epic Trevor Linden.
This is Trevor Linden, too.
This is Trevor Linden, times two.
This is Trevor Linden saying farwell.
These are among my favorite images of Trevor Linden, one of the hockey heroes I respect the most both as a hockey man and more importantly as a person. And I want those images to remain his legacy forever.
On Thursday the Canucks rightfully relieved general manager and president Mike Gillis of his duties after mismanaging the team to the bottom of the NHL standings. Immediately speculation had Linden (who denied everything) returning to the Canucks in some sort of high ranking capacity, possibly as president or even as general manager.
The best news is there seems to be a real interest by the Canucks to return Linden to the family for the first time since he retired in 2008. Maybe I'm reading too much between the lines but I think Linden, who has greatly distanced himself from hockey since hanging up the blades, is open to returning, too.
But whatever the role Linden may play in the Canucks future I hope it is the right fit - for both the team and for Linden. And I do not mean in some sort of community relations-only role. He's already transcended the team on his own in that regard.
I'm okay with the president role. If only because I'm not exactly sure what a president of a NHL team does anyway. He puts his people in place and then . . . well I'm not sure. But it seems like a safe job for Linden's legacy in Vancouver. But it sounds like Bob Nicholson might be in line for that job - and that would be a very astute move by the Canucks ownership.
I shudder to think of Trevor Linden in the general manager chair. He has no experience running a team (hey, neither did Mike Gillis) and it seems like a big jump from running a few successful gyms to running one of the most economically powerful teams in the NHL. As much as I hate to underestimate him, I would hate to see Linden in over his head and put in a position to fail. Even his Teflon legacy as a Canucks player and esteemed member of the Vancouver community can not withstand the heat of this job.
I guess I'm being selfish in saying that I hope Trevor Linden is not named as the next general manager (or even coach) of the Vancouver Canucks. He is a hero to me, and I don't want his legacy tarnished. Wayne Gretzky was the same for me and his coaching mishaps in Phoenix and subsequent exit from the game has left his legacy marked up. And I hate it. 99 and 16 are the two hockey players I respect the most as players and people.
Linden has shown he has a lot of interests in his post-hockey life. There's the fitness clubs and real estate ventures, and he's found a real passion for other sports, namely cycling and skiing. I have only gained more respect for the man because he has moved on from hockey to explore other parts of life - something many hockey players never do. It is inspiring to me.
That being said, I hope Trevor Linden does return to the Canucks in some sort of capacity. But it has to be the right fit. I am not so sure Linden as GM or as coach is the right fit.