Mark Messier says the Canucks have ‘set themselves up’ for a long playoff run

Photo credit:Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
1 month ago
Maybe he’s jinxed them, but Mark Messier says the Vancouver Canucks have ‘set themselves up’ to go on a long run in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs
The Hockey Hall of Fame member recently spoke to NHL.com’s Dave Stubbs for a series of Q&A articles, the first of which was published Wednesday.
Of course, Messier is one of the most detested players in Canucks history, having played for the team through a particularly underwhelming stretch from 1997 to 2000. But he didn’t spare any praise for his former team in his chat with Stubbs, singling out their head coach, their star goaltender, and one of their biggest recent trade additions.
“Vancouver has had an incredible year,” Messier said. “I’ve got to take my hat off to Rick Tocchet and the job he’s done there. He’s really centered and focused that team. They do have a lot of talent, but you know, focusing that talent is not always easy.
“Demko seems to be an excellent goalie. Obviously not a lot of playoff experience, so that’s different. And I think Elias Lindholm, who they acquired by trade with Calgary, was a great addition. He’s a really solid hockey player who provides a lot of offense and can play a 200-foot game.”
Messier drew the ire of Canucks fans during his ill-fated tenure by taking the captaincy away from folk hero Trevor Linden and demanding his customary No. 11, which had been taken out of circulation in honour of the late Wayne Maki.
In the end, the Canucks didn’t make the playoffs once with Messier on the team — but that didn’t stop him from sharing his thoughts on their chances in this year’s playoffs with Stubbs.
“Vancouver has set themselves up. One of the things I like about the Canucks is they have a really big, strong defense. In playoff hockey, playing for two months, your defense is going to be tested – ground and pound – and they’ve got to be able to absorb that.
“Other than some inexperience in Vancouver, which is probably the thing that they’re lacking the most right now, you’ve got to look at their team as being really positioned well to play well in the playoffs.”
Messier collected 694 goals and 1,887 points in 1,756 games with the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, and Canucks during his 25-year NHL career. He won the Stanley Cup five times, including with the Rangers against the Canucks in 1994, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.

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