Markus Naslund may be 7,000 kilometres from Vancouver, but he knows what's going on, and he also knows he's not ready to jump on board the Canucks' ship just yet, writes Elliotte Friedman.
Markus Naslund may be 7,000 kilometres from Vancouver, but he knows what's going on.
"I feel for them," he said from Sweden, where he'd just finished watching his son play in a tournament. "I know the feeling when you're working hard and things are not going well. It's overwhelming.
"I'm pulling for Vancouver."
In the last 24 hours, we've been wondering if he might do more. Naslund resigned as general manager of the Swedish hockey club MoDo, leading to rumours he would join his former agent, Mike Gillis, in the front office.
Gillis told Vancouver radio station The Team 1040 he would reach out to Naslund. But the former Canucks captain claims we are jumping to conclusions.
"This has nothing to do with anything in North America," he said. "This is a decision made here a little over a month ago, that I was not going to sign another deal. I'm ready to do something different.
"I can see why there is speculation. But there is nothing to the rumours."
Would he be interested?
If Gillis called, would he be interested?
"I don't know at this point," he said. "I had a couple of inquiries a year ago or so, but it made no sense for me or us as a family. I'm going to take some time...and see what I'd like to do. I'm not ruling out anything. I didn't take the job with MoDo with the NHL in mind. That was to help out an organization that was in rough shape."
Naslund wouldn't reveal which team (or teams) approached him -- except that Vancouver did not.
Naslund is the Canucks' all-time leader in goals, with 346. He's third in points, fifth in games played and his number 19 was retired in 2010. He attended Pavel Bure's own ceremony earlier this season.
He added he "wouldn't rule out" a lengthier return to North America, but again said not to read anything into that.
"I want to stress: This is nothing I am pushing for. Last year, friends asked me about some other opportunities outside of hockey...the timing wasn't right there, either. I'm considering that too."
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