A Salute to Captain Kirk


Tonight at Rogers Arena, the Ring of Honour will pay tribute to Kirk McLean. McLean came to the Vancouver Canucks via trade with the New Jersey Devils in 1987 with Greg Adams and 2nd round pick for Patrick Sundstrom, 3rd round pick, and 4th round pick. He ended up being the Canucks starting goaltender from 1987 to 1998 before being traded away to the Carolina Hurricanes by then Vancouver Canucks GM, Mike Keenan.

In 1991 he set an NHL record for most wins in the month of October with nine (later tied by Felix Potvin in 1993 and Manny Legace in 2005). He was also nominated for the Vezina trophy in the 1991-1992 season coming in second in voting losing out to Patrick Roy. He was a stand-up goaltender, whose technique as many would say was ‘textbook’. McLean was a solid tender backstopping the Vancouver Canucks for 11 years.

As for many who remember Kirk McLean, his shining moments happened in the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoff run. He and the rest of the Canucks took the New York Rangers to the seventh game and were a goal away from winning the Stanley Cup.

I will never forget Kirk McLean’s toe-save on the Calgary Flames’ Robert Reichel in the first round of the playoffs.

\”The Save\”

How can we forget Western Conference final where he out-duelled Felix Potvin of the Toronto Maple Leafs.


He also became the first goaltender to record back-to-back shutouts in the semi-finals since the Red Wings’ Terry Sawchuk did so against the Maple Leafs in 1952. McLean’s shutout streak lasted a total of 143 minutes and 17 seconds. Kirk McLean opened the series with a 52-save performance, including 17 in overtime, to win the first game 3–2.

I don’t think there was a goaltender in the 1994 playoffs that saw the puck better than Kirk McLean, including Mike Richter. In fact, I don’t think anybody played any better than Kirk McLean in the 1994 playoffs, but they just ran out of gas in Game Seven against the Rangers. He is still to this date, my favourite Canuck goalie and it was mostly because of his 1994 playoff performance.

Kirk and Trev

For those that didn’t get to experience, I hate to tell you but you had to be there to get the full understanding, but watch some old highlights and you’ll get the gist of why us ‘old-timers’ are so high on him. Kirk McLean had the hopes and dreams of Canucks fans all around and it all had to do with the timing of his saves and how he reacted to the shots. It was almost…no correction, it was magical.

When they put him up on that ring of honour tonight, the memories will flood back and a smile will form on my face because I’ll remember, I’ll be nostalgic and I will never forget what Kirk McLean has done for the Vancouver Canucks.

Thanks Captain Kirk, tonight we beam up you in the Ring of Honour. Congratulations.


Justine Galo [tweetmeme]

“He’ll play, you know he’ll play…”

I’ve never bought a single ticket to a sporting event before, I’ve always gone with a friend or  family member. But when single game tickets for the Canucks went on sale this year, I knew there was one game I had to try and see. That game was of course the one coming up this Wednesday, December 17th against the Edmonton Oilers, the game the Vancouver Canucks and their fans officially retire the jersey of Trevor Linden. I managed to get a single ticket.

Trevor Linden came along at the peak of my love for the Canucks. I was 19 years old on June 11, 1988 when the Canucks selected Trevor 2nd overall in the entry draft. I lived and breathed Canuck hockey, along with a bunch of friends. We watched every game, analyzed the drafts, discussed trades and how coaches should be fired. It was an interest that culminated with the very first edition of Canucks Corner in 1996.

I feel fortunate to have witnessed the whole career of Trevor Linden. He was basically my age, when he broke into the league, and he instantly became a fan favorite with his effort and maturity that were evident right from the start.

I could list my favorite Linden memories, but they would probably be the same of many of you. So I’ll share the moment that I think defined Trevor Linden as a player in my mind, and sent chills up my spine when it came from the vocal chords of Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Robson. It was the final minute of game 6, in the 1994 Stanley Cup final versus the New York Rangers. The Canucks had the game wrapped up when Mark Messier gave Linden a cheap shot on the way back to the benches. There was no penalty on the play, but the crowd saw it, Robson saw it, and he had this call that still raises the hair on the back of my neck today:

Linden was not only respected by fans, but by his peers as well, as evidenced when he was given a classy tribute by the visiting Calgary Flames in his final game. Flames captain Jerome Iginla made sure that every player in a Flames jersey went and wished Trevor the best.

Almost every Canucks fan out there has a favorite Linden memory. His continued presence and contributions in our community will create more memories for others in the future. He will always represent this team, but he will also continue to be an icon in our city. Perhaps he will eventually become involved with the team again, there are many who think he would make a great coach.

Whatever the future holds for Trevor Linden, I am thankful I saw his career from beginning to end and for the memories and excitement he provided me. Enjoy your night on Wednesday Trevor, it’s our turn to say thanks to you.

Please feel free to comment on this article and leave your defining Trevor Linden moment!