Welcome Matt: Where would Canucks be if they trusted Linden, not Benning?

Jan 20 2023, 12:32 am

sekeres and price

Wish it was under different circumstances, but it was nice seeing Trevor Linden back at Rogers Arena Wednesday night.

The former Vancouver Canucks president and captain has been estranged from the club since his (ahem) “amicable” departure in July 2018. He was there last night as a member of Gino Odjick’s “hockey family” to honour his former teammate in a pre-game commemoration. Odjick passed Sunday at age 52.

Linden was the last Canucks alum to be announced and walk to centre ice for a ceremonial face-off presided over by Ron Delorme, the Canucks scout who drafted Odjick and is himself First Nations. Linden shared a nice moment with current captain Bo Horvat, a shoulder pat as he passed by the players’ bench.

As someone seated near me last night remarked: ‘How validated do you think Trevor feels after the events of this week?’

Yup. Nearly five years after Linden advocated for a rebuild and lost a power struggle to then-GM Jim Benning, the Canucks remain uncompetitive and in need of a rebuild.

Linden, of course, was slow to that opinion and only used the word “rebuild” after the Sedin twins retired following the 2017-18 season. Months later, Mr. Canuck was gone and into private life where we rarely see or hear from him.

We’ve had several listeners recently wonder what the Canucks would look like these days had Linden gotten his way. Needless to say enough time has passed that we’d either be talking about a competitive club or a rebuild gone wrong.

One thing is certain: Oliver Ekman-Larsson and his ginormous contract wouldn’t be here.

Losing Linden’s magical touch with people was always going to hurt the Canucks. Turns out losing his vision as a hockey executive has too.

Matthew SekeresMatthew Sekeres

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