Linden lifts Canucks into Round 2
1. Trevor Linden, Vancouver: The veteran came up with the right play at the right time and had the best series of any Canucks forward. He truly stepped it up in another Game 7.
Indeed, when The Province ran an online, all-time Canuck poll in 2003, Linden demolished the competition in things like captaining a Game 7 (129 votes to Mark Messier’s 12) and player you’d most like to meet for a beer after the game (32 votes to Todd Bertuzzi’s 14).
"I thought Trevor did what I expect from him, what his teammates expect of him, and what he expects of himself. He's been a great player in this league for a long time."
Canucks 4, Stars 1
Vancouver wins series 4-3
Trevor Linden may have turned 37 the day the playoffs opened, and he may no longer be the captain of the Vancouver Canucks. But without him, there's no way this team claws out of the first round of the postseason tonight.
Linden played the fourth most minutes among Canucks forwards, behind only the twins and Brendan Morrison — but he ended up netting the winner on the power play with 13 minutes remaining in the game, and finished the series leading his team in both points and plus minus.
Mainly, his was a defensive, penalty killing role — but it's not surprising after his turn tonight that sports-talk radio in Vancouver is being flooded with fans calling for the vet from Medicine Hat to be reinstated as captain. (Given how non-existent the team's current one, Markus Naslund, has been, perhaps that shouldn't come as a surprise.)
A captain swap isn't likely in Round 2, but it's not as if one is really needed. This became Linden's team tonight, and just as when he was named the club's scrawny, 21-year-old captain way back in 1991, they'll go as far as he can take them.
For one night, anyway, Captain Canuck is back in action and riding high.