September 26, 2011
Anyone that watched the Canucks get bullied by the Bruins like a Yankees fan at a Boston pub understands their need for a power forward down the lineup. Anyone that saw what Mark Recchi(notes) did for Boston in the Stanley Cup Final (six points) knows the Canucks lacked the same kind of clutch geezer on the ice and in the room.
So there were practical reasons to hope Owen Nolan would make the cut, along with the fact that he was Owen [expletive] Nolan: 39 years old, born in Northern Ireland, called his shot in the all-star game and a captain who scored goals and dropped the gloves with equal dexterity.
If this cut is the end of Nolan in the NHL, he didn't go out like a chump. No, he wasn't fleet of skate; but he received praise from coach Alain Vigneault during his time with the Canucks for his effort and effectiveness. Alas, his absence from the power play late in the Canucks' loss to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday telegraphed his fate.
But as Team 1040 reporter Jeff Paterson pointed out, there's a reason Nolan's a fan favorite:
"Good for Owen Nolan. Stopped for pictures and signed autographs for fans as he left Rogers Arena for last time minutes after being cut."
As of Monday morning, there's been no announcement of Nolan's hockey future, but anyone as fiercely dedicated to hockey as Nolan is should find a way to stay in the game. Remember: This is a guy who saw his young kids for three weeks in five months as he played for Zurich in the Swiss League, primarily to earn a job back in North America.
It's a shame he couldn't find one with the Canucks.