Gino Odjick has been thinking about speaking his mind for quite some time since leaving Vancouver.
On Wednesday, perhaps the most popular player in the history of the Canucks pulled the trigger.
The target was Mark Messier, the man Odjick says consults regularly with coach and acting GM Mike Keenan on trades and management moves and is largely responsible for the shambles this season has become.
While declining to say what put him over the top and made him finally decide to speak out, Odjick started at the beginning.
"Messier was brought here to help lead us and put us over the top as a team and everybody was on board waiting to go along with him," said Odjick, who was in his eighth season with the Canucks when traded to the New York Islanders March 23.
"We were all looking forward to the season positively. It was going to be great. But right from the start it was clear he wanted to have all the power and wanted his own people around him.
"He didn't break a sweat for the first 10 games and just waited for Tom Renney and Pat Quinn to get fired.
"He talks to ownership all the time and he's responsible for Keenan being here and he's part of most of the trades. He sits in for four hours with management every time there's a trade. He's responsible for a lot of the changes.
"Look what happened with Trevor (Linden) in St. Louis when Keenan gave him (hell). Did he come over to him and say, 'Look Trev, we're with you?' He didn't say a word. How can you be captain like that? How can the team be together that way? He's not with the players. He's the one who controls everything."
While one might expect that there would be some venom directed at the coach who wouldn't play him, Odjick was not so inclined.
"I don't blame Keenan for what's happened. Everything he does, he does in the name of winning. That's all he wants. But everything that ... Messier does is for more power.
"They signed him to help us but all he wanted was most of us out of there so he could bring in his own people. The organization has always been great, but he just wanted to tear it apart and do it his way. But you'll never see Keenan bench Messier, no matter how bad he plays."
Odjick did not pretend he was crucial to the success of the Canucks or any other team.
"I'm nobody. I'm not the kind of player who can carry a team or make a big difference. I haven't won six Stanley Cups, but I've always been able to look everyone I've ever played with in the eye. I've been honest and I've got to be honest. He (Messier) just wants to destroy everything so he gets the power. Everyone is brought in to play for Mark."
Messier could not be reached for comment until after Wednesday night's game.
Odjick, whose role here in Vancouver has always been looking after Pavel Bure on the ice, decided to transfer those responsibilities away from the ice as well, wading into the buzz about his friend the Russian Rocket's probable departure this summer.
"If Pavel wants to leave, people have to understand a few things," says Odjick.
"He's always done his very best for the team and the organization. You have to remember we were only getting between 9,000 and 11,000 fans a game when he got here and he got the crowds back up to where they could build GM Place. He was basically the guy who built it.
"Who sold the luxury boxes? Whose name did they use? He gave everything he had in Vancouver all the time. Remember he played all last season with that whiplash injury and never complained.
"If there comes a point where he definitely wants to leave, they have to understand all aspects of why he might want to go somewhere else."
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