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Why Mark Messier is Often Regarded the Worst/Most Hated Vancouver Canuck of All Time.

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Old
03-26-2013, 12:46 AM
  #2
King Forsberg
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Excellent write up JetsAlternate. Very nice to read.

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03-26-2013, 01:24 AM
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SillyRabbit
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This is why I never bought the whole "greatest leader ever" argument.

He was an absolute cancer for Vancouver, with an ego the size of the moon.

Everyone likes to talk about his game 6 "guarantee" against New Jersey, but everyone seems to forget that in the 1999-2000 season, with 7 games remaining, Messier publicly guaranteed that the Canucks would make the playoffs. They missed by 4 points.

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03-26-2013, 01:37 AM
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Pretty much covers it & then some... tbh, hadnt been a Messier fan at any point in his career, from Indianapolis through Edmonton, New York, certainly not here in Vancouver. Foolish move by Quinn, exacerbating matters with Keenan...

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03-26-2013, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by JetsAlternate View Post

The story begins in the 1997 off-season when the Canucks were in search of a top-line center. Pat Quinn, the Canucks' general manager at the time, had apparently targeted Wayne Gretzky as his free agent of choice.
Wasn't Gretzky still under contract with the Rangers at this time?

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03-26-2013, 03:15 AM
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Were there any other Canadian teams that came close to signing Gretzky in the 1996 off-season? I was only 10 in the 1996 off-season, don't really remember what the rumours were or even if I was paying attention. I do remember rumours of the Leafs trying to get him from the Kings, before he got traded to the Blues.

Also didn't know about Quinn's ultimatum to Gretzky. Did this cause any long-term conflict between the two? It's interesting considering they worked together for the 2002 Olympics.

Imagine Gretzky centering Bure. Wow.

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03-26-2013, 03:31 AM
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Sonny Lamateena
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I've spoken to many Canucks fans about Mark Messier and they all agree he was awful in Vancouver and his signing was a huge mistake for the franchise. But the reason he is not just considered a lazy, overpaid, dissapointment and instead is hated with such passion is because he is a symbol for eveyrthing that went wrong during a dark time in Canucks history. On the ice Messier's didn't live up to to expectations the team and fans had for him but some of the truths have been stretched and some details that might spread some of the blame around to other parties are often omitted to vilify him.

Some of those things are:

1 The organizations problems started with the signing of Messier, Messier was responsible for the getting rid of talent. the team started to imrove as soon as Messier left.

The Vancouver Canucks had went to the Cup final in 94 and they had declined each season since and missed the playoffs prior to Messier's arrival.

1994 - 85pts, 2nd in the Pacific, Lost Stanley Cup Finals
1995 - 48pts, 2nd in the Pacific, Lost Conference Semifinals
1996 - 79pts, 3rd in the Pacific, Lost Conference Quarterfinals
1997 - 77pts, 4th in the Pacific, Did not qualify

In Summer of 1997 the Canucks signed Messier (age 36) to a 3 year $6 million/season deal.

During Messier's first 2 seasons, the Canucks continued their decline. Pavel Bure (the teams leading scorer) held out and demanded a trade blaming a history of being mistreated by management. They also moved out many popular players due to poor play.

Trevor Linden (Age 27): 42GP 7G 14A 21Pts -13
Martin Gelinas (Age 27): 24GP 4G 4A 8Pts -6
Gino Odjick (Age 27): 35GP 3G 2A 5Pts -3
Dave Babych (Age 36): 47GP 0G 9A 9Pts -11
Kirk McLean (Age 31): 3.68 GAA 6W 17L 4T/OT 0.879SV%

1998 - 64pts, 7th in the Pacific, Did not qualify
1999 - 58pts, 4th in the Northwest, Did not qualify

In Messier's 3rd Season the Canucks lead by a younger retooled team had their best season since 1994, falling 4 points short of a playoff spot.

2000 - 83pts, 3rd in the Northwest, Did not qualify

Messier signed with Rangers as an UFA and the Canucks continued their rise back to the playoffs.


2 Messier wasn't the same player in Vancouver because of lack of interest. While it's true Messier did score 14 less goals and 22 less points than he did the previous year in NY, ths decline started the year before with the Rangers when his goals total dropped by 11 and points total dropped by 15. Messier was getting old and his play was declining rapidly. Despie Messier's huge drops in production, during his 3 years in Vancouver (ages 37-39), he finished 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd in team scoring.

3 Trevor Linden and the captaincy. At the press conference when Messier was signed by Vancouver, Messier was asked about the captaincy, he said, "Everybody knows Trevor Linden is the captain of Vancouver and that he's done a tremendous job being captain. Their is no reason to change that."

Messier had said Linden was captain, yet Linden still asked teammates and Messier himself what he should do with the captaincy and they all told him to do what he thought was right, Linden stands up in front of the whole dressing room and says to his teammates that he wanted to turn the captaincy over to Messier. Messier accepted.

Trevor Linden told Gary Mason of the Vancouver Sun tht, "It was just something I had to do. If I remained the captain, bringing in a player with his history and leadership qualities, if things did go wrong I was going to be second-guessed the whole time. So my only option was to say to, 'Mark, listen, I think this is the way it should be,' and Mark accepted it, so we moved on."

Linden was playing poorly and was dealt for Todd Bertuzzi and Bryan McCabe (who was packaged with a 1st round pick for Chicago's 1st round pick so the Canucks could draft both Sedin's).

4 Wayne Maki and #11. Mark Messier was told that using the number had been cleared with the Maki family. They had no idea Messier was going to be wearing the number and found out watching the news. They were hurt and when finally contacted by the Canucks were told they should be honored that Messier is wearing the number, they understandably weren't. Later they offered their blessing to have Messier wear the number during the length of his contract as long as the Canucks would acknowledge the number as retired. The Canucks refused saying the number never was retired.

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03-26-2013, 03:35 AM
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Massive Canucks fan. Especially during that time.

Messier was not hated nor considered the worst Canuck of all time.

In most people's eyes around here, he just didn't work out.

Keenan, Burke, Nedved would go down as more disliked.

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03-26-2013, 04:56 AM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetsAlternate View Post
Here is a fight involving Messier from the 1998-99 season. Aside from the fight itself, the more glaring detail is the comment Jim Robson, the Canucks' legendary play-by-play announcer, makes in the following video clip:

"We haven't seen that from Messier for two seasons."
It cannot be understated, too, just how much Robson loved the Canucks and their players. To hear him speak like that about a Canuck is really significant.

I remember another time when Messier was here when there was a line brawl, and everyone was going at it, and then the camera pans out and Messier is just skating around in the neutral zone gazing off into the crowd as if nothing was happening. The guy didn't give a ****.

Also, the guy went on the radio in Vancouver in 2008 or so, and had the nerve to say that he thought his time in Vancouver was a great success.

He remains the only Canuck player that I've ever heard my mother, a rabid Canuck fan since they joined the league, wish bodily harm.

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03-26-2013, 07:07 AM
  #13
Sonny Lamateena
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He was bought out in the third year of his five-year deal. The team did not want him around any longer. He was an overpaid, lazy player who showed little effort or passion, and who was supposed to represent them as their captain. At no time did he lead the team; he was 12th, 9th, and 18th in penalty minutes, took fewer shots than he had ever taken up to that point, did not hit, and simply drifted around often, taking short shifts. He and Keenan had changed the dressing room environment dramatically in his first season with the team, ousting the team's core pieces, and was now leading the team to mediocrity by coasting through these seasons with little interest

He hadn't shown any effort. That was a major factor in everyone's disappointment with his play. Had he put in any effort or showed even a portion of the aggression or passion he had played with in his previous years, he would not have bothered Canucks fans to the same degree; his on-ice play made him an even greater burden to the team, and his off-ice disturbance made him an unacceptable distraction. In those three years, he played on the team's top line and often benefited from playing with two more impactful linemates.

Keenan had decided to dismantle the team upon becoming the team's general manager. His feuds with Linden are certainly well-documented, and definitely played a role in Linden's removal from the team. He was previously considered the one player who would not be traded due to his importance to the team's culture, to the franchise, to the fans, and to the city. As soon as Keenan and Messier arrived, the dressing room became hostile and wholesale changes were made to remove the entire core of players.

Messier never made any effort or request to wear a different number despite the Maki family's plea. He was made fully aware of the situation. We have already documented his sense of entitlement during his time in Vancouver. He remained idle while everything else happened around him; the organization spoon-fed him anything he wanted. One has to wonder if the Keenan hiring was influenced by him, whether it be Quinn who felt Keenan could ignite a spark in Messier or if Messier wanted Keenan to coach.

So your theory is after 18 seasons in the NHL Messier decided it's time to start mailing it in. He said no more hitting, racking up tonnes of penalty minutes, and super long shifts (because that's what you want from a 36-40 year old Mark Messier). It's not possible that he physically had declined to the point that he couldn't play that way anymore and that the production decline he had the previous year in NY wasn't the beginning of a steep decline for Messier?

Why is Messier so hated? It's because some vocal Canucks fans blame Messier not only for his failures but for decisions of ownership, management, and coach's. Even the poor play of other players are blamed on Messier. No one else is accountable for their actions. Everyone gets a pass, Messier either did it or made someone else do do it.

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03-26-2013, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Sonny Lamateena View Post
So your theory is after 18 seasons in the NHL Messier decided it's time to start mailing it in. He said no more hitting, racking up tonnes of penalty minutes, and super long shifts (because that's what you want from a 36-40 year old Mark Messier). It's not possible that he physically had declined to the point that he couldn't play that way anymore and that the production decline he had the previous year in NY wasn't the beginning of a steep decline for Messier?

Why is Messier so hated? It's because some vocal Canucks fans blame Messier not only for his failures but for decisions of ownership, management, and coach's. Even the poor play of other players are blamed on Messier. No one else is accountable for their actions. Everyone gets a pass, Messier either did it or made someone else do do it.
I definitely found the criticism for taking shifts that were too short to be really strange.

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03-26-2013, 09:29 AM
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Messier and the Canucks were just not a good fit. Guess Messier was set in his ways being a league veteran at that time and wasn't willing to change for the sake of the team.

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03-26-2013, 11:09 AM
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Long time Canucks fan... good work, jetsalternate. You hit most of the salient points.

Messier is easily my all time least favourite Canuck (followed by Randy Boyd, but that's another story).

I just want to add that, part of the galling factor about his time here was that he sucked so bad after having been so good. Up to then, Messier had made a career out of beating the Canucks in every way imaginable. A decade plus of *****-slapping us while he was with the Oilers, and then, when we had finally seen him shipped off to the Eastern conference, he came back and yanked our Stanley Cup away.

We'd spent 15 years cursing his name and wishing we had someone like him... and then we did... but we got old, complacent, entitled Messier instead. He even managed to beat us by joining us.

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03-26-2013, 10:26 PM
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I always thought that with Messier coming in it opened the door to get rid of Linden. We all know how loved Linden is in Vancouver at a Beliveau-type level. He's a saint in Vancouver. The most popular player in franchise history is moved out after Messier comes in. That wouldn't have sat well with me and to be honest I can remember something similar happening in Toronto. When Clark was traded for Sundin it gutted a lot of heart from Toronto. Not that we didn't love Sundin, but it took a while to warm up to him. Gilmour got the captaincy after Clark and then Gilmour moved out and Sundin took it afterwards. Not everyone was a fan of Sundin taking the captaincy after two of the most popular players in team history.

I think the difference is Sundin never had much of an ego and was very likable and we ended up liking him. But it is sort of the same context, no?

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03-26-2013, 10:37 PM
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I always thought that with Messier coming in it opened the door to get rid of Linden. We all know how loved Linden is in Vancouver at a Beliveau-type level. He's a saint in Vancouver. The most popular player in franchise history is moved out after Messier comes in. That wouldn't have sat well with me and to be honest I can remember something similar happening in Toronto. When Clark was traded for Sundin it gutted a lot of heart from Toronto. Not that we didn't love Sundin, but it took a while to warm up to him. Gilmour got the captaincy after Clark and then Gilmour moved out and Sundin took it afterwards. Not everyone was a fan of Sundin taking the captaincy after two of the most popular players in team history.

I think the difference is Sundin never had much of an ego and was very likable and we ended up liking him. But it is sort of the same context, no?
Sundin was also 23 years old and, while Messier was 36, so it's not exactly the same situation.

I get that trading fan favorites sucks, but from a purely cold hockey perspective, trading Linden for Bertuzzi and McCabe has to be considered a win for the Canucks, right?

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03-26-2013, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I always thought that with Messier coming in it opened the door to get rid of Linden. We all know how loved Linden is in Vancouver at a Beliveau-type level. He's a saint in Vancouver. The most popular player in franchise history is moved out after Messier comes in. That wouldn't have sat well with me and to be honest I can remember something similar happening in Toronto. When Clark was traded for Sundin it gutted a lot of heart from Toronto. Not that we didn't love Sundin, but it took a while to warm up to him. Gilmour got the captaincy after Clark and then Gilmour moved out and Sundin took it afterwards. Not everyone was a fan of Sundin taking the captaincy after two of the most popular players in team history.

I think the difference is Sundin never had much of an ego and was very likable and we ended up liking him. But it is sort of the same context, no?
this was the biggest problem with the Mess here in Vancouver, his ego just wrecked an already poor situation.

Nevermind his play on the ice, he showed a total alck of leadership and commitment to the team, it was more like "Hey I'm a legend whorship me " attitude that Canuck fans didn't like and for good reaons.

The way Moose conducted himself in Vancouver wouldn't fly in any NHL city period.

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03-27-2013, 12:57 AM
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I always thought that with Messier coming in it opened the door to get rid of Linden. We all know how loved Linden is in Vancouver at a Beliveau-type level. He's a saint in Vancouver. The most popular player in franchise history is moved out after Messier comes in. That wouldn't have sat well with me and to be honest I can remember something similar happening in Toronto. When Clark was traded for Sundin it gutted a lot of heart from Toronto. Not that we didn't love Sundin, but it took a while to warm up to him. Gilmour got the captaincy after Clark and then Gilmour moved out and Sundin took it afterwards. Not everyone was a fan of Sundin taking the captaincy after two of the most popular players in team history.

I think the difference is Sundin never had much of an ego and was very likable and we ended up liking him. But it is sort of the same context, no?
well, sundin didn't captain the evil big market jerks that beat your franchise's best and most beloved team ever.


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Originally Posted by LetsBeReality View Post
Massive Canucks fan. Especially during that time.

Messier was not hated nor considered the worst Canuck of all time.

In most people's eyes around here, he just didn't work out.

Keenan, Burke, Nedved would go down as more disliked.
lies. completely and total lies. messier was at the time, continues to be, and will always be the most hated canuck of all time. in the eyes of the vast majority of canucks fans who remember those years, messier was satan x hitler x brad marchand. i was there, i heard many many unrepeatable things said about him in the stands.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Sundin was also 23 years old and, while Messier was 36, so it's not exactly the same situation.

I get that trading fan favorites sucks, but from a purely cold hockey perspective, trading Linden for Bertuzzi and McCabe has to be considered a win for the Canucks, right?
luongo and one of the sedins, plus we eventually got to cheer for trevor again in his last years anyway? yep, definite win.

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03-27-2013, 01:14 AM
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and re: the quinn/gretzky debacle, which led to the messier debacle, here's a what-if: i never heard a rumour about this so i'm this was probably never in the plans. but one of the other big ticket free agents center the year we picked up messier was joe sakic. yes, local boy joe sakic. joe was on the market because pierre lacroix was jerking him around one year after giving forsberg huge dollars. the rangers gave sakic that $21 million offer sheet only after they lost messier to the canucks. messier's contract was $20 million over the same three years. nice one, pat quinn.


interestingly, given my last post, the five draft picks we would have lost: one of the sedins, nathan smith, r.j. umberger, the first round pick sent to washington for trevor linden (boyd gordon), ryan kesler.

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03-27-2013, 11:38 AM
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It should be noted that Messier never made (let alone led his team to) the playoffs again even after leaving Vancouver. In his four years in New York, he couldn't bring a team consisting of guys like Leetch, Fleury, Bure, Jagr, Kovalev, Lindros, Nedved, Holik, Graves, Dvorak, Richter, Dunham, Poti, York, Rucinsky, Berard, Barnaby, Malakhov, Malhotra et al to the playoffs once.

The season immediately after Messier's departure, Vancouver makes the playoffs despite being led on a 75-point Naslund, a 56-point Andrew Cassels and whose #1 goalie for 35 games was Bob Essensa (Potvin played the other 35, with Cloutier coming in later). And yes, the NHL season after Messier's departure, New York makes the playoffs too, for several consecutive seasons.

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03-27-2013, 12:46 PM
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thanks for that. there are things i forgot and a lot more that i learned from your post.

I was very excited when Trevor Linden Became an Islander, unfortunatly we were a (no pun intended) Mess at the time.

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03-27-2013, 01:27 PM
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Sonny Lamateena
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Originally Posted by Tsiruot View Post
It should be noted that Messier never made (let alone led his team to) the playoffs again even after leaving Vancouver. In his four years in New York, he couldn't bring a team consisting of guys like Leetch, Fleury, Bure, Jagr, Kovalev, Lindros, Nedved, Holik, Graves, Dvorak, Richter, Dunham, Poti, York, Rucinsky, Berard, Barnaby, Malakhov, Malhotra et al to the playoffs once.

The season immediately after Messier's departure, Vancouver makes the playoffs despite being led on a 75-point Naslund, a 56-point Andrew Cassels and whose #1 goalie for 35 games was Bob Essensa (Potvin played the other 35, with Cloutier coming in later). And yes, the NHL season after Messier's departure, New York makes the playoffs too, for several consecutive seasons.
It should also be noted that Vancouver was coming off 3 straight years of declining results including missing the playoffs the season before Messier signed. Messier's last season in Vancouver (2000) the team had 83 points missing the playoffs by 4 points, it was the franchises best season since 1994.

In New York after going the conference finals with Messier in 1997 the team missed the playoffs every year Messier was in Vancouver.

Mark Messier had nothing to do with rise or fall of either team. Vancouver was on the way down before he got there and was on it's way back up with Messier on the team. New York became a perennial non playoff team before Messier returned. Both teams had major problems and had to be totally rebuilt, 36-44 year old Mark Messier wasn't either teams problem but he wasn't a solution either.

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03-27-2013, 01:31 PM
  #25
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Messier and the Canucks were just not a good fit. Guess Messier was set in his ways being a league veteran at that time and wasn't willing to change for the sake of the team.
were not a good fit and I think he walked into a dressing room where Linden had the respect of the players, coaches and FANS. It became obvious from the word go that Messier walked all over Linden because he had the rings. Fans saw that, liked and respected Linden took poorly to messier and it went down hill

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