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Absolutely nothing went right when Mark Messier signed a huge free-agent contract with the Vancouver Canucks in the summer of 1997.
Popular Canucks captain Trevor Linden "voluntarily" allowed Messier to wear the "C," but was soon traded to the New York Islanders in a deal that was never popular with Vancouver fans who loved and respected Linden for all of his years in a Canucks uniform.
Messier also wanted his No. 11 back, but the Canucks had unofficially retired it for the late Wayne Maki, who died unexpectedly in 1974. Messier got his wish, but neither of these things helped endear him to the fans of Vancouver.
Messier was reunited with his Stanley Cup-winning Coach in New York, Mike Keenan, but the marriage didn't work as well in the Pacific Northwest. "Moose" only scored more than 20 goals in one of his three seasons in Vancouver and never totaled more than 60 points. He was a double-digit minus player in all three seasons, and he never led the Canucks to the playoffs despite his reputation as one of the greatest captains in NHL history.
The fans of Vancouver never fully accepted Messier, and at this point in his career, age and injuries started to slow him down on the ice.
Messier re-signed with the Rangers, where he finished his career, playing four more seasons.
Overall, Messier's time in Vancouver started with a lot of fanfare, but didn't work out for either the player or the team.