This warrior's not done yet

BARRY MACDONALD -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

It is always interesting to track the evolution of a hockey player. What he might become, what he does become, and what will become of him.

The player in this case is Trevor Linden, who despite his waning production in recent years, will still be remembered as one of the greatest players in franchise history.

It has been 18 summers since Pat Quinn drafted the kid from Medicine Hat ... 18 summers since Quinn's right hand man Brian Burke said that Linden would ultimately be one of the best captains this organization ever had.

He did become just that ... racking up six 30-goal seasons, playing his best hockey when it mattered, and leading more by example than intimidating glares.

But now, clearly in the twilight of a career, you have to wonder, what is next?

Well the first order of business is for Dave Nonis to get him under contract. That is said to be a when, not an if.

But the stark reality here is that signing Linden has quite simply not been a huge priority this summer, and who would have ever thought that about the player who was once the heart and soul of this team, this organization and this city?

It is not a slap in the face to Trevor Linden. Nonis had some holes to fill, and a little money to spend and he went and did some shopping.

He prioritized Marc Chouinard, who was 11 when Linden joined the NHL, and Taylor Pyatt, who was seven. Both are more urgent signings.

If there is anyone who understands this, it's Linden.

He knows how it all works, knows that that after 17 seasons, with an odometer that has flipped over a couple of times, the question isn't about what have you done - it's what have you done lately.

The 30-goal seasons are a little fuzzy in the rear view mirror. What is a little easier to see, and maybe harder to digest for Canuck fans, is the more recent years.

In 2005-06, Linden had seven goals, and 16 points despite playing all 82 games. Granted he played a limited role, killing penalties and taking big faceoffs for Team Dysfunctional.

I'm not convinced Linden is done as a productive member of this organization. Let's not forget Linden was coming off the year from hell as the president of the NHLPA.

The lockout wore him out.

And then he is a part of a team that has players with their own agendas, a coach that has become reluctant to crack the whip and well, you have all the elements in place for a lost season. And quite frankly, Trevor Linden looked lost last season. It was it somewhat disquieting to watch it all unfold.

Which leads us to the here and now. My sense is Linden is not going to let his distinguished career end on a down note.

This is not to say this will be his final year, but it is to say it won't be like the last one.

This is a man with too much pride to have his legacy compromised.


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