Happier times are here

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Leaning forward while sitting in his stall inside the Canucks dressing room, Trevor Linden happily discusses the team's outlook on the season. One member of the assembled media asks for his thoughts on Luc Bourdon, the club's promising 2005 first-round draft choice.

Another reporter brings up his ironman streak from the 1990s, which he discusses at length with only one foot out of his work boots. Ah yes, for the long-time Canucks forward, life is good.

"Regardless of whether you're a fan, a hockey player, a coach, a manager, a media writer, it feels good to be talking hockey again," Linden says.

"It feels good to be talking about who's going to finish first in the Northwest and not about all the other stuff."

Even if Linden -- president of the NHL Players' Association -- would like a bout of amnesia to forget the whole lockout that wiped out a complete season, he can't. The reminders come constantly.

Linden did admit there were days during the lockout frustration was all he felt.

"In February, we grinded for days, days on end," Linden said. "We sat in a hotel in Chicago O'Hare airport for four days and it was tiring. Very tiring, and it was like we weren't going anywhere.

"It was difficult but I always said a lot of the difficult times are what shape you. You grow from it and work through it."

Calgary Flames star and PA rep Jarome Iginla said he came away with a new appreciation of Linden.

"In the past, I didn't realize how much responsibility the president had in our union or the pressure.

"It's a never ending job and appears to be a pretty thankless job."


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