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?”

“Well, I–”

“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.

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17 comments

  1. peanutflower
    October 22, 2011

    who is “freaking Troy from White Rock”? Good, as usual, although I’d have liked it more if you took a stance. Any stance. That always provides for interesting reading.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      October 22, 2011

      I have no opinion on this. It was two blustery men blustering blusterily. Nothing was accomplished.

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      • Tom 1040
        October 22, 2011

        Disagree.

        Moriarity showed Gillis to be the flakiest flake of all the flakes. Moriarity outted Gillis on the anonymity BS as well as showing Gillis’ arrogance and rudeness in their first meeting.

        Well done, Wayne.

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        • Daniel Wagner
          October 22, 2011

          Really? I thought Moriarty sounded bizarrely, well, douchey for lack of a better word. I guess you hear what you want to hear…

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      • peanutflower
        October 22, 2011

        Well, sure, something was accomplished, although “accomplished” probably isn’t the right word to use — more like “de-accomplished”, which isn’t a word, but too bad. Although I applaud Gillis for standing up for the team his actions just feed into that whole “Canucks are whiners” image. I don’t think he was whining any more than Moriarty ended up whining but perception is of course everything. I think the Canucks need to hire a perception manager. You know, someone who creates a truth. Much like most of the media has done, with the exception of course of PITB.

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  2. MelT
    October 22, 2011

    I guess I was disappointed in Moriarty, I expected a newspaper editor to sound more cerebral and rational, as befits a man of the written word. Instead he comes off like a whiny fan-boy, “Gillis wouldn’t even shake my hand!”, “I went to the game and I thought this was a good idea!” (I’ve secretly suspected that this was how much research goes into many newspaper pieces.) I would be interested in what the Province’s actual sports staff thinks of this editorial, because as PITB stated in the first place, it’s a trade that only an uninformed person would think was a good idea, and now other sources like Mark Spector are quoting this trade as the opinion of the Province.

    And as you point out, Taylor and BMac were jittery when off the script. I thought they might weigh in on the fact that the trade was a bad idea, but no. Mike Gillis seems to make the whole staff at the Team 1040 very nervous.

    Sigh. Vancouver, even when we win we find new ways to torture ourselves.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      October 22, 2011

      I’m willing to bet that the sports writers weren’t too fond of the editorial team writing that. Tony Gallagher in the game today on Sportsnet was only willing to say that he defends the editorial team’s right to do an editorial on whatever subject they like, including sports. It seemed pretty clear that he didn’t think much of the editorial itself, but he wasn’t willing to say anything against his newspaper’s editorial team.

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  3. The Bookie
    October 22, 2011

    This whole incident is weird and seems uncharacteristic of Mike Gillis.

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  4. SteveB
    October 22, 2011

    Mike Gillis did the ol’ Fall-on-the-Grenade routine: say something controversial to take the Media’s attention off the team’s sputtering start.

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    • Spencer
      October 22, 2011

      …and then makes a trade several hours later. What a guy.

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  5. Michael
    October 22, 2011

    Oh lovely,
    Cerebral, rational and the editorial board of the Province tabloid all mixed together in a smoothie.
    What the heck does that taste like?
    Okay, not lovely, in fact, disturbing.
    Add just one drop of integrity and the chemical reaction would leave the Lower Mainland a smoking hole populated with the monsters from “Silent Hill”.
    I implore Mike Gillis to step back from this bridge.

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  6. JDM
    October 22, 2011

    Basically, any attempt by anyone at the province to defend that sack of crap trade proposal is a futile exercise in ego sheltering. Fess up, you said something immensely stupid and printed it for a couple of million people to read. That’s rough, but denying it just makes you look worse. Had the Province come out and said “mea culpa, we shouldn’t have written that”, I (and I suspect many others) would have gone on as it never happened. Instead, they now have lost more or less all of their credibility with me.

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    • Nth of the 49th
      October 23, 2011

      Uuummmm.

      The Province had credibility?

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  7. suckered again
    October 23, 2011

    Funny, I wonder if team1040 will now fire everyone that works for the province on their station in fear of losing the Canuck’s radio rights as they did with Tom Larsheid for being critical of a Gillis signed player.

    First of all it was a stupid trade idea. Lecavalier has a worse cap hit than Luongo and is past his best days. The goalie that will be moved is Schneider and everyone knows it. Unless Luongo himself asks to be moved.

    The best fit is Parise and a pick for Schneider, Ballard and Hodgson. Ballard being more of a salary equalizer. Parise is a UFA this summer and if no extention can be reached he will be dealt by February. Gillis was clearly already sore about the Luongo topic when moron fans booed him. The province should hire Tom Larscheid as an opinion writer for the team.

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  8. Jim
    October 24, 2011

    Gillis is an insecure whiner who so used to getting a free ride from the Vancouver media he blows a hissy fit whenever anything doesn’t go exactly the way he wants. Imagine all the crying he would do if the Vancouver media weren’t scared of him and actually made honest assessments of the job he’s done.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      October 24, 2011

      Yeah, imagine if they honestly assessed the guy who just won the GM of the year award and had his team win the Presidents’ Trophy and come one game from winning the Stanley Cup. Imagine.

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  9. Pilsnerpunk
    October 25, 2011

    How did a contributor from the Bleacher Report get on the editorial staff of the Province?

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