Is Linden Hall of Fame Worthy?

On a plane ride from Toronto to Vancouver, I was getting excited because I got to go home to Vancouver and catch some Canucks games on the west coast and of course the pending trip to LA and Anaheim to see the Canucks play in Southern California. (That’s another column in itself).  I was very fortunate to sit next to a Canucks fan. He was wearing his Linden jersey, so I assumed that he was a Nucks fan and I decided to strike up a conversation.  He obliged.

Linden BannerWe talked about what happened last year and how far the Canucks can potentially go in this upcoming season.  We both had high hopes and then there was a small silence. He then brought up that Linden was his favourite Canuck of all time and asked me which Canucks was my favourite. I responded with Trevor Linden.  I wasn’t surprised, he was in and around my age (34) and we both grew up in that era of Canucks hockey.

He also brought up the topic of Trevor Linden making the Hall Of Fame.  I wasn’t sure how to respond. I had a confused look on my face.  He kept rambling on how Trevor was the heart and soul of the Canucks and how he has done so much for the organization under different ownership(s) etc, etc, etc.  I finally responded with, “Trevor Linden is not a Hall of Fame Player”.  I think he was about ready to slap me, but instead, I got the “you’re not a real Canucks fan” response.  I wasn’t going to argue so I just said”You’re right, I am not a real Canucks fan, I am hockey fan who happens to favour the Canucks as her team of choice.”

My fellow fan was just flabbergasted that I would not induct Vancouver’s Golden Boy, Trevor Linden, into the Hockey Hall of Fame like most Canucks fans would.  I gave him my explanation, like I am going to give it to you, the readers.

When I say this Canucks fans, please don’t bombard my email with hate mail about how I am not a Canucks fan because I don’t love Trevor Linden.  Fact is, I love Trevor Linden, and he is truly my favourite Canuck of all time.  He was truly a great asset to the organization when he was a part of it, and not to mention the community of the Lower Mainland.  Linden embraced Vancouver and Vancouver embraced Trevor Linden.  It was a love affair that was instantaneous and life-long.

I am a huge Trevor Linden fan, but even with Canucks –coloured glasses on, Trevor Linden is not HOF material as a player.  Heck he’s not even our leading goal scorer of all time in the club record books.  It’s sad to say but towards the end of his career, Trevor’s abilities and foot speed, decreased so much that even an ardent Linden fan as me could no longer deny it.

I did however love seeing flashes of classic Linden during the playoffs. He was definitely clutch.   Still, he’s not my choice as a player to go to the HOF. The HOF is the best of the best, and as much as Vancouver fans love Trevor, he’s not or even close to that echelon of player. To say any different, would be a delusion of grandeur.

So I stand by it, Trevor Linden was not a good enough player to be considered for the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was a good hockey player with an extraordinary heart, mindset, and a conscience for the game, the fans, and the city that gave him so much.  I`m sure he`ll even agree with me.  He`s not the best of the best, but he certainly played amongst them, and played well I might add.

However, I believe that Trevor Linden will be in the HHOF, and no, not as a visitor, but he will be inducted in due time.  He has a chance to be inducted in the “Builders” category.  For the years he`s spent as the NHLPA president and playing a huge role in bringing hockey back after a year-long lockout, I believe he will get his day and his respect.

So my flight companion was partially right, Trevor Linden is worthy of the HOF, just not as a player.


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  1. says

    Whoever the guy you were talking to at the game is a freakin idiot for saying to your face that you are not a real Canucks fan. What an ignorant bozo!!!???

    That’s the kinda thing I would say a person who doesn’t know much about hockey would say. He’s obviously a biased homer, and as much as I’m sure you’re not too worried about what he said, I just gotta say, don’t take anything what the dude said seriously because that’s just crap.

    Anyways, good article, and good story, gettin’ me riled up! LOL….

  2. chimpoko says

    I completely agree with this. Trevor was never a candidate for the HOF in my opinion. Yes, he had heart, he had soul, he was canucks hockey ever since I could remember. The fact is as you stated, he’s not on the record books for anything, he was never a 50 goal scorer he never a point per game player, nor did he win any trophies as a hockey player.

    He should be in the BC sports hall of fame no doubt. He did great things for BC.

  3. says

    I was on my way to Vancouver on a plane when this conversation came up. He was a nice guy, knew enough, but was completely biased when it came to Trevor Linden.

    Other than that, he was fun to talk to. It was just a different POV, but one that had to be, IMO, corrected.

  4. Farhan Lalji says

    Trevor Linden is a great guy……a guy that just so happened to sign my hockey puck when I was 8 years old. It’s certainly a day that I’ll never ever forget, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Linden.

    Having said that – Linden was NOT a good hockey player after 1996 (after he had that knee surgery). Linden was an average player between 1996-2003, and was a BELOW average player from 2004 onwards (give or take, a few flashes of brilliances when it mattered most).

    Trevor Linden is a great community guy and I hope that my future kids can be even half the man that he is. However – based on hockey ability, Linden should not be in the Hall of Fame. Not even close.

  5. Cookie La Rue says

    I think he’s such a special personality that he cleary not belongs to the HHOF but to the Trevor Linden Hall Of Fame, he’s #1 there and in those hearts who followed his career as the impersonated Canuck.

  6. says

    Agreed – He’s not HOF material. Like most others, I’m a big fan and respect his as a person and a player (which is rare these days). I’m not sure if he’d get in as a builder, either.

  7. Farhan Lalji says

    I hate to be a bit of a downer in this thread, especially when taking into account that I LOVE Trevor Linden….the human being, but I have to say a few things:

    1) Since 1996, Linden was an average player at best. After the lockout, Linden was quite substantially below average (give or take a few moments of brilliance in the clutch).

    2) I still don’t buy into the whole “Linden’s feelings were hurt” when Keenan yelled at him that one time. Look at how guys like Roenick, Chelios, Larmer, Belfour, Kovalev, Nedved, and Hull reacted when they were lambasted by Keenan (and from all accounts and sources, Keenan was actually *more* of a prick when he was in Chicago, NYR, and St. Louis!). Perhaps the old saying of “nut up or shut up” has some validity? Why didn’t Linden “nut up” when he was called out by Keenan?

    3) Messier didn’t force the ‘C’ off of Linden….the media did. When Messier arrived here, it was the media that made Messier look like a God while completely putting Linden on the back burner. The media was basically screaming for Mess to be captain. Kent Gilchrist at the time even said something to the effect of, “When Messier steps into that lockerroom, he will be the captain no matter what it says on Linden’s chest.” To avoid making it an issue, Linden handed Mess. the ‘C’.

    4) Linden turtled in 2007. I can’t remember against who it was against specifically (Jordin Tootoo?), but it was against Nashville (6-2 Canucks victory I believe). During the game, there was a scrum…..and when the going got tough, Linden turtled….and basically laid there while he took a pounding. Could that be indicative of a lack of character at that given time during his career?

    5) At the age of 34-35 (or whatever Linden’s age was after the lockout), the guy was *substantially* below his level of play. We all bashed Messier and Naslund for not living up to par (when they were in their mid 30’s and were playing as Nucks), but why does Linden get a free pass here? Look at guys like Sundin, Yzerman, Sakic, etc., etc. that were all great in their late 30’s. And yes – Linden is NOT the calibre of those players but still……could one assume that the *severe* drop off in level of play can attributed to lack of fitness?…..or lack of heart? Hell – Chris Chelios is *still* playing in the league at age 46!

    Anyway – just a few thoughts. I love Linden the human being…..and even love(d) Linden the hockey player, pre-1996, but I also saw a lot of red flags….flags of which that many people simply failed to achknowlege due to what Linden did for SIX years between 1991 and 1996. Linden’s entire reputation was built from those SIX seasons…..many of which was greatly bolstered due to the presence of Bure and/or Mogilny.

  8. says

    Your responses are always so colourful, Farhan.

    Agree on all your points. I agree that his calibre of play was not on par a few nights.

    I didn’t down much on Naslund, I’ve always thought he got the brunt of the bullshit in Vancouver, but to each their own. The media needed a whipping boy, why not the aging Swede.

    As far as Messier goes, still one of the greatest leaders ever in the NHL, just not in Vancouver.

  9. Jelly says

    If you ask me fifty years from now, what I would remember Linden by, it would be his off-ice contributions to the community. That’s his best legacy, not from his two goals in game 7 of the 1994 finals, but his contributions as a human being to those around him.

    And that, is something you can’t teach or coast off other star players and gets called the greatest leader of all time.

  10. crovax says

    as a die hard linden fan i would agree he does not deserve to be in th HOF for the players category.
    He was a great leader and was able to inspire and asure young guys to do better. For these reasons i think he should get into some sort of coaching. As far as the builders category goes i think he should at the ver least get some recognition of what he has been able to do in all four comunities ( mostly vancouver) he has served. He was a great comunity leader here, montreal, long island and dc. some sort of recognition should be there. Trevor should also be a shoe in for the BCSHOF.

  11. Joey says

    The HHOF criteria for players are playing ability, sportsmanship, character and their contribution to the team or teams and to the game of hockey in general. All of which Linden has in spades.

    Linden is in the top 100 all time for goals and 104th for points in the NHL. He has more goals than Bobby Clarke or Henri Richard while having played a similar amount of games, and for inferior teams, I might add.

    Had the Canucks won the Stanley Cup in 1994 and Canada won the Olympics in 1998, Linden would be a strong contender. It’s the lack of hardware that’s keeping him from being considered.

    So, you all spend several paragraphs prefacing and professing your love for Trevor Linden before saying what a poor player he was. I suppose it makes you all feel intelligent and superior to bash someone just because he plays for the home team, but the numbers don’t lie.

    • Mr. Fantasy says

      Maybe, just maybe, Trevor Linden was a player not good enough during the time he was playing, Joey.

      I know Ms. Galo personally, she is the biggest Trevor Linden fan you’ll ever meet.

      How can you say she said he was a poor player. In his era, Trevor Linden simply wasn’t ‘good enough’. Remember this guy played during the times of Gretzky, Messier, Lemieux, Yzerman…etc etc. All contemporaries that had hardware.

      I like Linden, he was a good player, who put 110% but you’re right, stats don’t lie. Linden never won a SC, a Hart, or anything of that sort of hardware. If he does make it to the HOF, it will be because of his character.

    • Ian Armstrong says

      In the top 100 for goals? Do you think everyone of the other 99 are in the Hall of Fame, which is a stage for hockey’s all time greats….of which Linden is not one. You state if he had won the cup in 94′ or the Gold in 98′, but that’s just it….he didn’t win. Look at the 2 players whom in your mind you think Linden deserves to be in the HHOF over: Henri Richard – do you realize he has won more Stanley Cups as a player than anyone else in history…oh, it’s 11 that he’s won, and he could have won more, but when it comes to the end of your career, you’re judged upon which things you did, not those that you came close to. Bobby Clarke was the captain of the 74′ & 75′ Stanley Cup champion Flyers, and also had his career cut a bit short, but the only way Linden would pass him in any offensive area is by playing hundreds of more games. He doesn’t even lead the Nucks’ in any offensive categories, unless you count games played, which then just highlights his low points per game average. Sorry to point this out, but that’s where Trevor’s problems lie & since playing ability is by far the biggest factor for determining an NHL HHOF member, and Lindens numbers are average at best. I can think only 1
      player from the Canucks who deserves to make it & I’m glad #10 finally did. Take it in Van fans, because Trevor Linden will never be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a player, it’s really that simple.

  12. Joey says

    Here are the criteria for player induction to the HHOF “Playing ability, sportsmanship, character and their contribution to the team or teams and to the game of hockey in general.” All of which he has in spades. The HHOF is about contributions to the sport, not NHL hardware. There are players in the HHOF who never played a game in the NHL.

    I’m not saying he’s a shoe in, but to use your smug, condescending tone, maybe, just maybe he’ll get some consideration.

    BTW, Linden has recently been awarded the Order of Canada.

  13. Tim stout says

    I don’t agree with this much but at the same time I see what you are saying. The way I see it is like this, if linden played on Detroit or an other good or great team in the 90’s his stats would be much much better , he may have had more then double the amount of goals and for sure he would have over 1000 points. He carried are team for years and we did not really have that much for years. Yeah we had a few other great players here and there like bure and whatnot but the way I see it players with just over 1000 points seem to make the HHOF . as is he almost had 900 points and most of them on Vancouver. With that said yes I think he should be there in the HHOF.

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