Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Michael Rhode at Nanaimo’s Daily News,
The life of a professional hockey player is pretty routine. Sure, there’s the notoriety of playing at the top level of your sport, and it takes plenty of hard work and determination to get to the level they play at.
But aside from the so-called stardom it’s just a lot of repetition. Their days—from autumn to late spring—usually begin and end at the rink. Their summer months, save for a few weeks away from the rink, are usually spent training, at the gym and on ice, for their next season.
Vancouver Canucks’ forward Trevor Linden’s retirement announcement brings into focus the realization of life after hockey. After going to the rink on a regular basis for more than 20 years of professional and junior hockey, come September he’ll have to try and find something constructive to occupy his time.
continued… with words from a few ex-players
From Iain MacIntyre at the Vancouver Sun via Faceoff.com,
Immediately after his packed, televised press conference at General Motors Place, Linden handed over to the Canucks’ charity the $25,000 he received last month from the National Hockey League as part of a humanitarian award.
It won’t be Linden’s last act of community service even if he never skates another shift in the NHL.
“No, I don’t think that will stop,” Linden’s wife, Cristina, said.
“During my time at Nike ... I got to spend time with Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods,” Canuck president Chris Zimmerman said. “They are extraordinary people. But I have never met another athlete with a bigger heart than Trevor Linden.”
*Video of Linden’s retirement speech was posted here yesterday
From Iain MacIntyre at the Vancouver Sun,
He failed to deliver a Stanley Cup to Vancouver, yet somehow exceeded everything expected of him. This says everything about Trevor Linden, whose legacy far exceeds the narrow boundaries of the Vancouver Canucks’ hockey rink.
Linden was the face of the franchise—and its heart and conscience—for most of the last two decades. There will be better players, but possibly not a better person. And no athlete here will be able to match the enduring strength and personal nature of Linden’s bond to this city and its fans, which is why his retirement announcement today will be as poignant and it was expected.
Twenty years to the day after he was drafted second over-all, Linden is leaving the National Hockey League at age 38. There will not be another like him, at least for the Canucks.
Update 3:17pm ET: Video of Linden’s retirement speech.
From Joe O’Connor at the National Post,
He gave both men [Brian Burke and Ron Wilson] their first big breaks in the NHL back when he was the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks. Quinn met Burke well before that, in 1977, when Burke was a player and he was the head coach of the American Hockey League’s Maine Mariners.
“Brian really took a shine to me,” he said. “I think he liked that I was someone who would always give him an honest answer.”
Burke lasted one season with Maine before deciding law school was a better idea. He was reborn afterwards as a hard bargaining players’ agent, just as NHL salaries were rocketing to the moon. And a lot of hockey people didn’t like it when Quinn recruited failed minor league pro to work for him in Vancouver in 1987.
From the CP via TSN,
A small-town New Brunswick arena was transformed into a makeshift chapel on Sunday as thousands paid their respects to Luc Bourdon, a 21-year-old rising National Hockey League star killed in a motorcycle crash on Thursday.
Mourners filed past Bourdon’s coffin in the middle of the rink where he once played hockey as a boy and offered their condolences to Bourdon’s family.
“It’s just right now really, really quiet,” said Gilles Cormier from inside the arena during Sunday’s visitation. “Everybody is stunned.”
Kris Letang also flew in from Pittsburgh to attend, and more NHLers are expected to attend the funeral on Monday.
Update 8:48pm ET: More from Jason Botchford via the National Post:
They came by the thousands to an arena in Shippagan, a small fishing village in remote New Brunswick, and waited in line for hours to pay tribute to Luc Bourdon, the area’s fallen star.
They left wrecked with emotion.
From Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy,
The biggest disappointments in Game 4 ... well, I was going to say it was the strange lack of fire from the Penguins during stretches; but in reality, and without a doubt, they were found in NBC’s broadcast.
While it was nice the telecast acknowledged the tragedy, failing to show the moment of silence before the game in honor of Luc Bourdon was a disgrace and showed a massive misunderstanding of NBC’s hockey audience. The death of an NHL player is a rather atypical occurrence; a moment of silence before a Stanley Cup finals game for a fallen peer is extraordinary. It was a newsworthy moment, and NBC dropped the ball.
and more thoughts on game #4
Update 1:15pm ET: Also from Greg today, Darren McCarty’s thoughts from years back on the horrors of a nude Brendan Shanahan.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
Sobbing uncontrollably just hours after losing her son, Luc Bourdon, in a tragic motorcycle accident, Suzanne Boucher said she had tried desperately to stop him from buying a bike.
Her plea worked last year when her fears changed his mind. That’s when Bourdon, the promising Canucks defenceman, first told his mom he dreamed of riding, and was spellbound by the “power and beauty” of motorcycles.
“I was scared when he told me that,” Boucher said yesterday through tears from her home in Shippagan, N.B. “I disagreed with it so much. I said, ‘You can’t do it.’ It was too risky, too dangerous. His girlfriend helped me reason with him. But this year was different. This year he wasn’t going to listen….”
Luc Bourdon of the Vancouver Canucks was killed today when his motorcycle crashed
into a tree
into another vehicle.
Alanah at Canucks and Beyond is providing updates to this tragic story.
Kevin Lowe has stated he’s not likely to consider doing business in the future with the new Canucks GM, given their previous run-in as agent-vs-GM last summer over Michael Nylander. But not everyone has sympathy for Lowe’s position.
From Jason Botchford at The Province:
“I am horrified that someone’s integrity is called into question for something they didn’t do and by someone who did something much worse than Mike Gillis could ever be accused of,” agent Rich Winter said. “It’s an embarrassment to the game that Kevin Lowe would use the news media to make these accusations given what he’s done.”
In December 2003, Lowe was shopping Mike Comrie, Winter’s client, and found a taker in then-Ducks GM Bryan Murray. The pair agreed to a deal that would send young Anaheim forward, and future Stanley Cup champion, Corey Perry and a first-round pick to Edmonton for Comrie and a second-round pick.
Murray was worried he would lose Comrie to free agency if he made the deal. To appease Murray, Lowe authorized the Ducks’ general manager to begin negotiations with Comrie. Anaheim then signed the forward to an extension and, in its view, the deal was done.
But “not so fast,” says Botchford. The rest of the story…
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Luongo has played two seasons with the Canucks. In the first he played like Superman and got the Canucks to the second round of the playoffs. In the second season he was average by his standards and the team didn’t make the playoffs.
Add it up and it would appear that Luongo is good enough to make a below-average team average but, even at his best, isn’t good enough to take it to the Stanley Cup.
If that, in fact, is Aquilini’s assessment of the team it then follows that Luongo should be moved for players who can legitimately change this franchise.
Again, that presupposes there’s a plan in place. We shall see.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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