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You had to know this was coming.
Mark Messier is/was one of the most beloved, admired and consistently looked-up to players in the history of hockey. He was a stalwart on the Oilers' five Cup championship teams, and helped lead the New York Rangers to a title in 1994 for the first time in 54 years. His name has become synonymous with success.
In 1997, the Canucks were desperate for someone to come and carry the team on his back, to help squash the elongated Stanley Cup hangover of 1994. Team leaders Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure and Kirk McLean had all seen better days, and were in need of some ... direction.
So the Canucks went out and signed Messier to a three year, $18 million contract. Quite a chunk of dough for a 36-year-old. The issue of finances, however, proved to be his least concern.
Upon arriving in Vancouver, he demanded the team unretire the No. 11, which had been taken out of circulation in honour of former player Wayne Maki, who died from brain cancer while he was a member of the team. He also usurped the captain's "C" from Trevor Linden, the long-time leader of the team who was (and still is) viewed by Canucks fans as some messianic hero who had descended from the heavens to play hockey. Linden was promptly shipped out of town a year later.
Following that PR nightmare comes the actual stats. You know. What hockey players are paid to do: play hockey. In three seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, Messier was an atrocious -37, the first of which was his best (least worst), where he put up 60 points in 82 games. He never took the team to the playoffs despite having super-sniper Pavel Bure on the wing.
In 2000, he quickly jettisoned Vancouver, never to return. Eleven years later, simply uttering his name is still considered a cardinal sin amongst many long time Canucks fans.