When Mike Gillis got named as the new GM of the Vancouver Canucks after the owner Francesco Aquilini made the statement “we will do whatever it takes to win the cup” I thought to myself everything but bring in an experienced person to the GM position. Well it has been a couple of seasons now and while he has made some interesting deals and signings since then, raising Markus Naslund’s #19 to the rafters is probably his worst so far.
Sure Markus Naslund has accomplished a few accolades while playing in Vancouver but he never led the team when it mattered the most, in the post season. There was even a time when he could have won the NHL’s scoring title but in his usual fashion he choked when the pressure was on.
As someone who is not a hockey fan but is exposed to stark raving mad hockey fans and even worse, Vancouver Canucks fans, I have had to endure many years of fanatical rationalizations regarding this second rate team and their underwhelming captain.
Was Markus Naslund a skilled hockey player, yes? As the team captain did Markus Naslund lead this team to anything significant, no? The only reason his number is being retired is because his old agent just happens to be the Vancouver Canucks’ current general manager Mike Gillis and I have to question his motives on this one.
To my mind the retiring of a player’s jersey is generally reserved for players who make huge impacts on the team and no disrespect to Markus Naslund as he is a good player and as far as I understand it, a really decent person but, is that enough? If it were I am sure that all of the stadiums in every city that hosts a major league sports team would be littered with retired jerseys lifelessly dangling from the rafters.