Thursday, July 26, 2007
Maybe training camp. Maybe pre-season. I was going to wait to start writing, but then shots of Trevor Linden snugged into spandex in Europe surfaced—shell-shocked, jubilant, shirtless by a cold river in Italy, dehydrated and schnitzelling in Germany.
When I finished writing Cold-cocked: On Hockey, I wondered if I’d ever be that hell-bent drawn to the game again. Would players still inspire, thrill, disgust, delight and bore me? I guess so, starting now.
Linden’s lately been the topic of fan snits and on-air sport-gripes. Canuck fans are choked with management for not re-signing St. Trev the minute he scraped off his (grey) playoff beard. Fan favourite. Heart and soul. Great playoff stats (for a team that couldn’t cut-and-paste a goal post-season). “Beg him to stay! Pay him double!”
Last week’s 2007 JEANTEX Bike Transalp was 725K through the German and Austrian Alps and Italian Dolomites in 8 stages. Vertical gain: 20,836M. The winners took 27 hours; Linden and his partner went 40 and finished a stunning 48th in the Masters category. His partner’s blog describes Linden’s harrowing cartoon careen—hey! no brakes!—down a perpendicular hill and it’s clear to me the team would be nuts to sign the naughty daredevil before he passes his next physical.
Also clear: Linden is not a guy who’ll be lost without hockey. Let’s see: relax—tanned, handsome, beery—in an icy river in Predazzo after an epic 12-hour bike ride, or get 20 minutes of penalty-kill ice time 5-on-3 playing against this year’s Edmonton Oilers for 8 hours?