Trevor Linden returns to Rogers Arena and the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night, though it seems his relationship with the franchise remains very frosty.
Linden was let go as President of the franchise in 2018, after a weak four year run on the job. Though owner Francesco Aquillini suggested the split was amicable, it seems that is far from the truth. Linden, the fan's favorite son, remains estranged from the franchise.
Now Linden's removal as President is perfectly justifiable. Perhaps Linden should never have been placed in this position to begin with, as he seemed over his head as a raw rookie in such a demanding job. That's bad on Aquillini.
The bottom line is the results weren't there. The results have been much more favorable since he left? Coincidence? Maybe. Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes' arrivals have fast tracked the Canucks rebuild faster than anyone could have imagined.
There have been rumblings that Linden was perhaps too involved in the rebuild process, and wasn't letting GM Jim Benning do his job with enough autonomy. The President is supposed to be the great over-seer of everything, but can not be a micromanager. He is to set the vision and keep the ship on course. But he does not have to be involved in every player transaction.
Of course we will never know how the inner workings of the management structure really worked. Had Linden had the benefit of Petterson and Hughes' arrivals he'd probably still be there. But since he left Benning and the Canucks have seemingly touch a lot of right buttons.
But Linden is not there. And like Pavel Bure, the Canucks greatest superstar, Linden is estranged from the franchise. That's never good.
Part of this estrangement is on Linden himself. He needs to be that franchise icon. Not for Francesco Aquillini. Not for the Canucks. Not even for himself. He needs to be what the fans want him to be. He will always be the fan favorite, but he has to give the fans what they want for that to happen.
That starts on Monday night when the Canucks celebrate their greatest players this week with Markus Naslund, Stan Smyl, Linden, no Pavel Bure, and now the Sedin Twins. Bure is a different cat, but hopefully this is the beginning of the healing process for Linden and the Canucks.