Yesterday, we broke down a Province news editorial that espoused a trade sending Roberto Luongo to the Tampa Bay Lighting for Vincent Lecavalier.
It was an odd thing, this unexpected newspaper-endorsed trade proposal, and not just because a paper’s editorial board doesn’t usually weigh in on rosters like they were playing “Fantasy GM mode” in NHL 12: it was also just a bad trade. Either the editorial board’s hockey knowledge is scant, Mike Milbury is on said board, or both. One assumes that, if the Province were an Ottawa-based newspaper, they would have espoused keeping Redden over Chara, too.
Needless to say, we didn’t like it.
It turns out we weren’t alone, however, as Mike Gillis unexpectedly called in to the Team 1040 Friday afternoon like he was freaking Troy from White Rock in order to express his dislike for the piece.
What was it he didn’t like? Was it the fact that similar contract length is the silliest foundation on which to make a trade? Will The Province’s next editorial suggest Ovechkin for Ehrhoff, because both contracts expire in 2020-2021?
No, Gillis didn’t like the way that the article’s lack of attribution to one particular Canucks beat writer made it difficult for him to find that person at Rogers Arena and dress him down:
I’m having a lot of trouble with this. I don’t see where there’s any accountability, I don’t see where this merits an editorial. If they want to weigh in and run the Vancouver Canucks, come on down here and do it.
This is awesome. I imagine, as Gillis says this, he was polishing a title belt.
If Jason Botchford wrote this and he was down here I could go up to him and talk to him about it. And find out why.
“Why’d you write this, Jason?”
“IT SUCKS GET OUT”
And finally, Gillis took offence to the implication that The Province’s editorial board knew better than he how to run his team. As the reigning GM of the year, he might have a point.
It’s beyond presumptuous to think that they have a say in how we operate this team in this manner. And I don’t like it.
Gillis didn’t like what The Province had to say, but Wayne Moriarty, The Province’s Editor-in-Chief, didn’t like what Gillis had to say much either. He appeared on the program a little later on, and while he stopped short of calling Gillis a weenie, it was clear any picnic plans the two had were officially canceled.
Moriarty rebutted Gillis’s primary issue, accountability, by explaining that most news editorials are unattributed. They represent the views of the board, normally a panel of three to four people, not of one particular person. Then he explained that he had been in contact with the Canucks earlier in the day and that Gillis knew full well Moriarty was the man to talk to in this instance.
He was aware very early in the day that basically I was responsible as the editor for the paper. Mike was playing a little loose with the facts there. He knew who wrote it.
Of course, then we discovered that Moriarty and Gillis weren’t particularly fond of one another, a fact that I’m sure played no role in this whole exchange. “The only other time I’ve ever met Mr. Gillis, I’ll be quite honest, he was quite rude to me,” he said. And then this gem:
If I was Mike, I’d be more concerned that 14,000 of his premium customers were booing his number one asset.
I’m not quite sure 14,000 is quite an accurate number, but since this whole scene had taken a turn into WWE-style smack talk, we’ll forgive the hyperbole. Following this, Moriarty compared Gillis to Brian Burke, called Gillis’s invitation to come down to Rogers Arena and talk about it “machismo garbage,” then sat back while Paul Bearer explained how he was going to win the Royal Rumble.
And then, in response to a question of any possible hostility between the Canucks and The Province, Moriarty said, ”I think we have a good working relationship with the Canucks.” Really? Far be it from me to suggest an editor made a tense error, but I think you mean “had.”
It was pretty much the greatest hour in the history of radio. You can listen to the whole thing here.
Be sure to enjoy the ten minutes prior to Gillis discussing the news editorial, when Don Taylor and Barry MacDonald ask him about everything they can possibly think of, uncertain of quite why he called. That’s just comedy gold.Tags: bad trade proposals, featured, fight fight fight, Gillis, spotlight, the province