Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canucks President Trevor Linden: No Mixed Messages on Team's Direction

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canucks President Trevor Linden: No Mixed Messages on Team's Direction

Article excerpt

Canucks brass dissects dismal season


VANCOUVER - Trevor Linden leaned against a wall in the bowels of Rogers Arena on Tuesday morning, surrounded by a crush of cameras and microphones.

The president of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks had just watched a press conference where his head coach and general manager spent nearly an hour explaining a season that saw the team finish 28th overall with its worst point total since the late 1990s.

Now it was Linden's turn.

No, he said, there weren't mixed messages to fans regarding the direction of the team.

Yes, he added, the Canucks are concerned about this season's attendance drop.

And yes, Vancouver will continue infusing younger players into the lineup while trying to remain competitive for a playoff spot with its dwindling veteran core that still includes Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

"We've had our eye firmly on the future. We've never traded young assets for older assets that set us back," said Linden, dressed in a sharp suit. "We knew eventually we were going to get younger and this was the year it took shape. We're going to continue to go down that path."

Linden said stripping the franchise down to its studs the way the Toronto Maple Leafs did this season in their full rebuild wouldn't work in Vancouver.

"The notion of just gutting our team is not the direction we can go. We need our young players to have some support," said the former Canucks captain. "We just can't bring in a bunch of young players and throw them to the wolves. That's not a recipe for success.

"The terminology ... say whatever you want. We're working hard at developing a young group of players here. I don't think there's been mixed messages at all."

Linden, GM Jim Benning and head coach Willie Desjardins returned the Canucks to the playoffs in 2014-15 in their first years on the job. But the club slipped from 101 points to 75 this season, its lowest total since a 58-point campaign back in 1998-99.

"The pressure I feel is because I know our fans want to win," said Linden. "It's going to take some patience, but this is an exciting time for this organization."

There were key injuries to many veterans in 2015-16, forcing some youngsters into bigger roles the team hopes will pay future dividends. …

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