As Vancouver hockey fans watched the clock comes to 0:00 in the third period, the season for the Vancouver Canucks also comes to an end. At the same day, Canucks fans also came to the realization that they may bid farewell to two of the most influential players/captains who ever wore the uniform, Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund.
Markus Naslund grew up playing hockey with his childhood fan, Peter Forsberg. After his junior career as a Modo, he was drafted 16th over all by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 91, at age 17. Since the start of his career, he was known for his amazing wrist shot. However due to disagreement with the coaching staffs, he was traded to Vancouver on March 20th 1996, where he would find stardom.
In 00-01 season, he replace Mark Messier as the Captain of the Vancouver Canucks and would served as the first European and the longest serving Captain (8 seasons excluding lock out year) in the Canucks history. In 2002-2003, Naslund, Bertuzzi, and Morrison were the most exciting and lethal combination in the NHL, the Westcoast Express.
As a Canuck, he was named NHL all star 5 times. He narrowly missed the Hart trophy in 03. He won the Cyclone Taylor Awards 5 times. He became Canucks all time point leader on December 5th 2007, passing Trevor Linden's record and played his 1000th game as a Canucks on Jan. 17th 2008. He is regarded as one of the greatest Canucks of all time.
Trevor Linden was drafted 2nd over all by the Vancouver Canucks in 88. In his first year of the NHL, he made an appearance in the NHL All Star game. He was named as the sole captain of the Vancouver Canucks at age 21. He was the youngest captain in the NHL at the time and was the second youngest serving Captain in the NHL history, ending the regular season with 75 points. Two years later, Captain Linden lead his Canucks to an incredible playoff run, which is the first time in 12 years the Canucks made it to the Stanley Cup final. Despised his heroic effort by scoring two goals at game 7 in New York, his team came one game short.
From 1990 until 1996, he set a record by playing a 482 consecutive games and was the Canucks' Iron Man. Even when being well loved and respected by his team and the city, he was betrayed by the managements and the coaching staffs in the 97-98 seasons when they've signed Mark Messier. He ultimately gave up his captaincy and was traded on Feb. 6th, 1998 to the Islanders for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe, and a 3rd round pick. There in NY, Trevor Linden served as their Captain for a year. Many die-hard Canucks fans were in complete disappointment with the team. A few were in tears as they heard the news of their beloved Captain being traded while many more lost interest.
After his two seasons as an Islanders, he played two seasons as a Canadien and then two more a Capital. Trevor Linden, a Canadian; Trevor Linden, Captain of the Islanders; Trevor Linden, a Capital, none of it seems right. After 4 and a half seasons away from home, Vancouver Canucks fans rejoiced as they welcome their beloved Captain's triumphant return on November 10th, 2001. Here in Vancouver, he would served as the Alternate Captain, providing the leadership much needed in the locker room. He became the first Canuck to score 300 in the Canucks uniform on October 6, 2006, season opener game.
As of the 07-08 season end today, April 5th 2008, Trevor Linden, 37, played a total 1140 games as a Canuck over 19 seasons in his career with 866 points tied for rank 99th in NHL all time points. He was given an honourary first star of the game as all fans at the GM place gave him the standing ovation. Even though the Flames won 7-1, all of the Flames came out of the dressing room honoured him with hand shakes. It is expected by fans and media that Trevor Linden will retire after this season. He will forever remembered by all Canucks fan as "Our Captain."