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19 Stories: One captain to another

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

Every member of the Vancouver Canucks who played alongside Markus Naslund was impacted in one way or another.

For three players in particular, namely Trevor Linden, Roberto Luongo and Henrik Sedin, Naslund was more than a great influence in the dressing room and a superstar come puck drop, as team captain he was a shining example of everything a leader should be.

Naslund was a man of integrity, dedicated to succeed with the Canucks, driven to bring a Stanley Cup to Vancouver, who led by example regardless of the situation. His pre-game speeches never made headlines, but he knew what to say and when to say it; funny thing is that all these qualities could easily describe Linden, his predecessor as Canucks captain, and both Luongo and Henrik Sedin, his successors.


STATUS: Retired

CAPTAIN: 1990-1997

On Naslund as a leader…

"He was a guy who certainly led by example. He was very genuine, I think he really wore his emotions on his sleeve, so to speak, but when I got back he was the kind of guy that did a lot of his talking on the ice."

On how he was impacted by Naslund…

"For me it was interesting because coming back to a place that I was captain at and then obviously stepping into a situation where Markus was captain, it was great. We talked about it and he was really great at allowing me to get comfortable here. He was a guy that had fun with things and when I got back it was a very fun group, a young group and a fun group."

On if their captaincy styles fit well together…

"I think we complemented one-another well, I think we did things maybe a little bit different, but I think we were good for one another in that I’d always bounce things off him and I think we worked well together that we could go off each other. That’s the good thing about having people that are different, that you can share each other’s thoughts and experiences and it’s a good way to do it."

On why it's fitting Naslund's #19 will be retired...

"He certainly turned this organization around from where it was in ’96, ’97 and ’98. He was a big, big player, a big catalyst of some of those really good teams in the early 2000s. He did a lot for the community and was one of the most dynamic players in the game when you look at the type of numbers he put up."


STATUS: Active

CAPTAIN: 2008-10

On Naslund as a leader…

"He was the type of guy that was a hard-worker, led by example mostly and didn’t speak much, but when he did he had some stuff to say and we listened because it was stuff that was important for us to take in and get back on track."

On other attributes that made Naslund a great captain…

"Just his professionalism. He was professional at everything he did, he came to work everyday and his demeanor about himself, he was as straight-laced as the come."

On how he was impacted by Naslund’s leadership…

"Obviously it was nice to have a guy like that and for me being able to take over when he left, I just tried to be as straightforward as I could and honest and hardworking everyday."

On if he saw Naslund’s traits in himself as captain…

"I did. I tried to give my 100 per cent everyday at practice and lead by example as much as I could. At the end of the day, I think that’s the most important thing is you can be a leader in the locker room all you want, but you’ve got to be able to do it on the ice to be a true leader."


STATUS: Active

CAPTAIN: 2010-present

On Markus as a leader…

"He wasn’t the most quiet guy, he stood up and said stuff when it needed to be said stuff when it needed to be said, but mostly he showed everyone on the ice and off the ice how to handle yourself. That’s what kind of leader he was."

On why Naslund made a great captain…

"First of all he was a great player, I think that’s number one. The way he treated everyone around the rink, it didn’t matter if it as a fourth-line guy or a guy that was called up, he treated everyone the same and that shows what kind of person he is."

On how Naslund helped the Sedins…

"It helped us to see that it wasn’t such a big step for us. When we came into the team we were young, we were from a different country, but he treated us the same and he made us a big part of the team right away."

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