Linden would be forgiven for interpreting Vigneault’s position as: “You’re a nuisance and we wish you’d do the noble thing and retire because, God knows, I’m not getting myself lynched by telling Trevor freakin’ Linden he can’t play for the Canucks anymore, which would be like the Vatican ditching the Pope.”
If Vigneault doesn’t want Linden, that’s fine. He is the coach. He must have only players he wants. Teams become dysfunctional otherwise.
The difficult part is understanding why the Canucks might feel this way.
Well, I’m not sure the Canucks do feel that way. But maybe I’m naive? I suppose they could be more enthusiastic in asking Linden to return, but I don’t think the intention here is to tell him to piss off. Why would they? Linden was one of the better players during the playoffs, and in general is coming off a solid season where he took on a variety of different roles, doing whatever was asked of him.
And all that experience and solid play comes pretty cheap for a franchise player that ranks among the favorite Vancouverites in hockey history.
Maybe Vigneault doesn’t want him back—I could understand that. But I don’t think he’s blowing Linden off rudely in his comments to the media. I think it’s possible that he’s just trying to give a veteran player the respect of deciding his own future.
Linden wasn’t quoted in the article at all, but I did hear from a couple journalists over the course of the season that Linden stated to them that he liked what Vigneault was doing with the team. And furthermore, that he felt he had a decent relationship with the coach.
I’d be surprised if Linden is interpreting Vigneault’s comments as a brush off. But perhaps things have changed? I’ve seen nothing to suggest that myself.