It’s been over two months since the ugly split between Vancouver Canucks and franchise icon Trevor Linden, but only now are details starting to emerge regarding the divorce.
In his first “Athletties” column for The Athletic, former Province columnist Jason Botchford dropped a bomb on Canucks fans, detailing just what went down between Linden, general manager Jim Benning, assistant GM Jim Weisbrod and owner Francesco Aquilini.
Check out some of these quotes:
The Canucks ownership group felt it needed to move from Linden partly because his threats to quit were ongoing and pervasive. There was a sense he wasn’t in hockey for the long haul and people questioned how invested he was.
People also said too often Linden was “making it about himself.”
In other words, from their point of view, Linden had a “me above the team” approach and it was permeating the organization’s culture and having a toxic effect in several areas of the operation.
Of course, there are two sides to every coin and Botchford isn’t so sure that Linden was never invested… if anything the Canucks legend was too invested. Linden bleeds blue and green…
I can’t completely speak to Linden’s investment in the organization but I do hear stories, including how he personally called season ticket holders who were on the fence about returning, and even negotiated their renewals.
I would suggest that if a president of hockey ops is going that deep and willing to do things like making personal calls to convince STHs to re-up, he’s working pretty damn hard. Honestly, he may have been grinding too hard.
In the end, it looks like Linden was pushed out in a power play by Benning and Weisbrod:
Linden did help Benning get his extension in February and from that point on Benning was reporting directly to owners.
What happened next is said to have stung the most.
From those close to Linden, the story has been it was Weisbrod who went to ownership, directly or indirectly, and worked to convince them Linden’s plan was the wrong direction for the team.
That is where the backstabbing accusation slides into home. An opportunity was taken as it was becoming obvious the Linden-Aquilini dynamic was frayed.
It’s worth noting that Linden has not spoken publicly since resigning from his position. Of course, until this is all confirmed by Linden or Aquilini it’s still just conjecture, but man… what a soap opera.