Heart & Soul
So, at the trade deadline, the Canucks improved their depth, not much more than that in my opinion, by acquiring centre Bryan Smolinski and retread defenseman Brent Sopel. And if this week’s borefest on Feb. 27 with St. Louis Blues is any indication, we’ve dried up in the goal-scoring department again. But this time there wasn’t even the effort put forth.
I want my money back from Orca Bay… and it was a road game!!! Refund, please, for the time spent watching that agony. Please boys, snap out of it. Calgary and Minnesota are on your behind.
Some interesting trades were made by various N.H.L. teams in the past week, but after Forsberg went, it was fairly anti-climactic, really. It looks a bit like apples and oranges. In other words, throw the fruit in the air and juggle it, ‘cause where the play-offs take us, nobody knows. It’s tight, and that’s all right by me.
Found this little gem - take a read:
Linden Traded To Islanders
From: The Washington Post; Date: February 7, 1998
The Canucks continued a busy week of trading yesterday, dealing former captain Trevor Linden to the Islanders for D Bryan McCabe, C Todd Bertuzzi and a third-round draft pick.
Hours later, the Islanders, working to beat a midnight deadline on a trading freeze throughout the Olympics, picked up three more players and sent three to the Mighty Ducks.
The Linden trade was the fourth in three days for the Canucks (14-33-8). ...
Okay, this wasn’t something that happened during trade deadline day or even week in 1998. However, the point is similar to Tuesday’s “blockbuster” trade (well, one way at least). I’m speaking of the disposal of Ryan Smyth, the guts and glory of the storied Edmonton Oiler franchise, as he was unceremoniously shipped off to the New York Islanders in exchange for two prospects and a first-rounder.
I wasn’t totally shocked by this move, as there had been speculation in the media for a while now, but in reality, no one really thought it would happen. After all, the player (through his agent) and the likes of Kevin Lowe, G.M. of the Oil, were not THAT far apart in negotiations for a long-term deal. And Ryan has dedicated himself to the city of Edmonton and his N.H.L. team for about 12 years, which is a very long time in “hockey years,” to be engaged to one franchise.
Add to this, the fact of his reputation as a gritty forward who wasn’t afraid to stand in front of the net, while contributing in the neighbourhood of .66 points per night over his career to date, well, this puts you in good stead with most loyal hockey fans.
The fans in Edmonton have still not gotten over the fact that Wayne Gretzky was sold to the Los Angeles Kings back in the 90’s, and even though they weren’t in love with Chris Pronger personally, they sure as hell liked his contribution on the ice, that helped take the team to the seventh game of the finals just last year.
So along comes the ousting of Mr. Oiler over a lousy few dollars. Even if Ryan wasn’t officially the team captain (does anyone really know squat about Jason Smith, the actual captain?), he is a Team Canada veteran, a boy from nearby Banff, Alberta, and a pillar of the community.
We saw the video on Wednesday with him crying as he departed on the plane to go to the Isle. It was like right out of the movie Casablanca. Kevin Lowe was so afraid to face the music at Rexall Place on Tuesday night that he was a no-show. Fickle fans in Edmonton not only have to face probably missing the playoffs, a veritable first to worst if you count last year’s play-offs; now they have the guts ripped out of the team.
Yes, Virginia, it is a business.
Which brings me back to the above news clip from 1998. That’s when then-coach and G.M. of our local squad, Mike Keenan, took an “un-shine” to Trevor Linden. Maybe Trevor didn’t suck up enough, or join in the old boys network with Iron Mike – we’ll never know.
But off he went… to the New York Islanders. And so began four years of demise of the Canucks franchise, and it took until about 2002 for it to get going again. It’s as if Mike Milbury of NYI (who is still behind the scenes, and only God knows why) has a way of performing bizarre “open heart surgery” on Western Conference teams.
Oddly enough, our main acquisition via the 1998 trade-off of Trevor, captain Canuck, was Todd Bertuzzi, and he gave us some good years, give or take a dramatic moment or two! No one can deny the magic that good buddies Todd and Markus Naslund created on the ice at times; it was as much excitement as this town has seen since Pavel Bure skated quickly and aloofly by. Marcus and Todd finished second and fifth overall in N.H.L. scoring for two straight years… that’s pretty darn good.
Of course, we have had Trevor Linden back in his comfy enclave for a few years now, but he is “getting on,” so we cannot really compare him to 31-year-old Ryan as far as contribution, but that is not the point.
General managers have to know - when you trade away the guts of the team, the fans are left with the entrails, and it’s not pretty.
Until next month…. happy cheering!