Monday, September 14, 2009

The Great Trevor Linden on Video Games, Retirement, and the NHLPA. . .

After a day like today, it was such a pleasant surprise to hear that the great Trevor Linden was going tobe on Vancouver's The Team1040. It's always a pleasure to listen to such a great and humble man. Today was no different.

He was on to talk about NHL video games, but he ended up talking only very briefly about them.

Mostly to say he never played them, really, except when he'd to go Canucks Place and The Ronald McDonald House and the kids would want to play against him, a real NHL player.

"They took great pride and pleasure in destroying me," he said of the kids.

Asked on how there is comparison to young Canucks Draft pick Cody Hodgson, Linden said that Hodgson has more pressure than he did, mostly because there had been such talk about Hodgson for years, and he, he said, he just kinda showed up.

Of Hodgson he said, "I'm impressed with the amount of quality hockey people that have been complimentary of his skills. . .Everything you read about this guy - he is the real deal."

On his retirement, and when asked what his plans are for any return to hockey, he replied, "It's gone by very quickly. I've enjoyed having a more flexible schedule...I certainly consider and have had some opporunities to get back into the game. My plan when I left was to take a few years [to think about it]..."

He continued, "I certainly think about where my fit would be in the game. I'm not exactly sure where that would be. There are some questions I don't have answers for right now."

After that, with only a brief detour onto former teammate Roberto Luongo - of which he had nothing but praise and said he's a perfect fit for Vancouver - Linden freely and admirably discussed a topic very near to him in the NHLPA.

"It's a little bit frustrating from my standpoint. This search committee was supposed to be the answer to everything. I guess they hired the wrong guys. When you look at Ian Penny, he's basically undermined two executive directors at this point."

"I am concerned. I think it creates a very unhealthy environment in the [NHLPA] office. It's disappointing but I hope they get it right."

"I think the payers do care more. I think they are concerned first and foremost with the task at hand."

He then mentioned a concern I think some people have voiced in the last few weeks. How young most of these player representatives are. He said they can "get influenced by people talking more and louder than everyone else."

He goes on to say, "I think we had the right guy when we hired Ted" and that he "doesn't feel vindicated" by what has happened.

He instead said, "I think it's very unfortunate what happened. Ted is a good man and did a good job for the players. He would have been a perfect fit [for the direction it was going.]It was very disappointing to see what happened."

And as I'm sure no one was surprised, he ended with this hopeful thought:

"I want the players to do the right thing and be successful and to work together with the league and to try to create a better league in the future."

As always, a great interview by a humble and great man. Pratt and Taylor talked after Linden had left the line and they said who but someone like Trevor Linden would take the time to talk so openly and honestly about such a difficult topic.

He's one in a million.

To hear the interview in its entirety, please go to the Team1040 website.

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