Canucks and Beyond

Trevor Linden in the Mix

03/13/2007 at 12:40pm EDT
imageTrevor Linden's tenure as the elected president of the NHLPA ended last year, much to my relief; as expected, it seems to have provided him with renewed energy on the ice. But recent developments with NHLPA head Ted Saskin seem to be dragging Linden back into the fray of hockey politics he escaped last July.Saskin's suspension by the player reps on Sunday will continue as he's investigated for accessing players' email accounts. Linden has, predictably, been re-engaged by the media given his past relationship with Saskin. He's been publicly supportive of Saskin throughout this (and previous) scandals, and he's likely to be featured heavily in stories over the coming months. Here are some quotes indicating his feelings yesterday:
"I think there is more to the story and you have to understand that. I don't think you can pass judgement until you understand the full story behind it. I'm not going to pass judgment until I know all the facts."And about the email story... "I knew that there were a lot of sensitive documents being leaked to the media a year and half ago. I'm not sure if this has something to do with that. I knew there were some agents and some players leaking documents."
Whether it's his intention or not, Linden's last comment does seem to be rationalizing the behavior Saskin is accused of -- accessing those NHLPA email accounts. Certainly not likely to be a popular response to many players.What I'm curious about now is how much all of this will impact one of Vancouver's favorite sons. Saskin was hired during the lockout year under circumstances which have continued to draw attention. Linden endorsed Saskin and has always maintained the process was legal. But now that Saskin is almost certain to fall from his perch, and as investigations continue into activities of the NHLPA, Linden's support is liable to be questioned considerably.How will Trevor Linden's reputation be impacted by all of this? And after having him as their president for 7 years, will the players on the NHLPA hold him responsible for what's happening now, or will the focus remain on Ted Saskin?

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