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Canucks to celebrate 40th anniversary by retiring Markus Naslund's number, debate ensues

Jul 7, 2010, 11:48 PM EDT

naslund-ap-392-070217.jpgThis upcoming season is a landmark season for the Vancouver Canucks. It marks their 40th anniversary as an NHL franchise and it’s one with a solid, hockey history. While the Canucks have never won a Stanley Cup, their fans are very proud of the team and are more than happy to tell you all about it. As part of their festivities to help celebrate the team’s 40 years in Vancouver, they’ll be honoring one their more recent superstars in Markus Naslund.

The Vancouver Canucks will retire longtime captain Markus Naslund’s #19 to the rafters at Rogers Arena on Saturday, December 11th when the Canucks host the Tampa Bay Lightning. Naslund retired from the NHL following the 2008.09 season as the Canucks all-time leader in points with 756. Naslund played 12 of his 15 NHL seasons in a Canucks uniform and was the captain between 2000.01 and 2007.08. In a Canucks uniform, Naslund led the team in scoring for a club record seven seasons, scored 30 or more goals six different times and enjoyed three consecutive seasons with 40 or more goals.

Those are some dynamic offensive numbers that Naslund put up while wearing the crashing orca in Vancouver. You can’t help but wonder though that perhaps another legendary offensive superstar Canuck from the past might have been a better choice as far as retiring a number goes. A guy who played seven seasons in Vancouver, leading them to the Stanley Cup Final in 1994 and scoring 254 goals and 478 points winning the Calder Trophy along the way.

I’m speaking of course about Pavel Bure. This isn’t to denigrate the Canucks choice of Naslund as his Canucks career speaks for itself and the fans are more than happy to celebrate his great career in Vancouver. To the outside observer though it seems like a strange choice and, yeah, I’m an outside observer. It’s easier for me to identify the legacy of the Canucks of the more modern era with Pavel Bure.

Markus Naslund you may or may not recall as being part of being one of the more lopsided trades of all-time as the Canucks acquired him from Pittsburgh for Alex Stojanov. Bure, meanwhile, left Vancouver on pretty bad terms, tearing the organization a new one after being traded to the Florida Panthers, something which still probably lingers in the mind of those in charge of the team.

Then again, it’s possible that Bure could be one of the Ring of Honor nominees the Canucks will pay homage to throughout the year (former coach Orland Kurtenbach will be the first) and this argument is left moot…For the most part.

  1. Mess11 - Jul 8, 2010 at 10:08 AM

    Bure would have been a great choice but Trevor Linden would have been an even better one.

  2. Odin - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    It’s not just what they do on the ice, but also what they do for the community in Vancouver ;) and Markus is a very classy guy!

  3. Puck Report - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Linden’s jersey was retired 12/17/08.

  4. Warpstone - Jul 23, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    Markus is indeed a classy guy. He was basically pushed out with his performance no longer justifying his cap numbers.
    Bure, on the other hand, was bigger superstar, but he asked to leave.
    The Canucks have shown a bias towards recognizing players who served and respected the community. Not a surprise then that Bure will be further down the list than Naslund.

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