Joined by Nassaumen Hockey podcast co-host Jon Zella, Mike and Dan remember when the Islanders acquired Trevor Linden, an actual NHL star, during a tumultuous time on an off the ice.
Linden was just 27 at the time, a multiple time 30-goal scorer and All Star, and a longtime captain of a recent Stanley Cup finalist. He should have been the cornerstone piece for a “word salad of a team” that needed all the help it could get. But he ended up just passing through this very foggy era, and his acquisition left the Islanders “Generation Next” as more of a “Generation Left.”
Jon talks about his fuzzy memories of Linden as a player and about this very strange time in Islanders history; when the overmatched players, cheapskate owners and psychotic general manager made rooting for them impossible (unless you were a little kid and were just happy to be there).
Thanks again to Jon for coming on. You can listen to the Nassaumen Hockey podcast everywhere you get podcasts or on YouTube, and you can follow him on Twitter at @jonzella. After the recording, we found out that Jon’s cousin is also Mike’s wife’s best friend, and they were at the same wedding a few years ago! Small world.
WEIRD BONUS MATERIAL!
- Linden’s trade to the Islanders was a big deal. It’s funny to think he was only 27 at the time. He had packed a lot into his first nine years in Vancouver.
- Here’s a quick video of Linden being named captain before a game against the Flyers in March of 1998
- It didn’t take long for him to get acquainted with the three-ring circus the Islanders were at the time.
- Linden was was even featured in a ticket promo commercial.
- This is an AMAZING NHL Cool Shots episode from Long Island, circa 1999. I wanted to get it into the episode but couldn’t find a place to sneak it in. The Linden portion starts around 12:30 but make sure to watch Jason Dawe, Mike Watt and Eric Brewer watching The Tragically Hip and Claude Lapointe and Zdeno Chara at the bowling alley.
- Linden wasn’t traded at the 1999 deadline but his future on the Islanders was very much in doubt.
- Milbury called Linden a “class act” when he finally traded him to Montreal for a first round pick in the summer of 1999. But make no mistake: the trade was made as a way to cut costs, period.
- Our friend @OlegKvasha did a deep dive into the weird, one time only jersey Linden wore when he was given the captain’s C.
What makes a “Weird Islander?”
We’re always open to suggestions about other Weird Islanders to discuss. Remember the criteria. Candidates must fulfill one of the two of the following:
- Played one (1) season or less for the Islanders or very short stints over multiple seasons.
- Be a veteran NHLer who is not generally associated with his time on Islanders.
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Drum sfx via Zapsplat.com.