If your main source of Canucks news is Pass it to Bulis, you’re probably under the impression that the Canucks are incredibly witty, clever, and fond of silly jokes. After all, the Canucks give silly animal nicknames to each other, photoshop each other naked, and ruin each others’ interviews. Meanwhile, Kevin Bieksa is one of the best quotes in the NHL and Keith Ballard has unparalleled self-deprecating dry wit, and Roberto Luongo is surprisingly willing to joke around.
Since Alex Burrows and Maxim Lapierre are two of the best chirpers on the team, it would be completely understandable if you thought that all French Canadians are great at chirping. Unfortunately, Alain Vigneault proved that wrong.
After Dave Bolland brought out the tired, trite, and casually sexist “Sedin Sisters” insult on the radio, it was inevitable that the Vancouver media would take his comments to the team and ask them what they think. Mike Gillis was the first to respond, speaking to the Team 1040:
It reminded him of when he was traded to Boston, back when Stan Jonathan and Terry O’Reilly, among other toughies, played for the Big Bads.
“Harry Sinden said to me, the toughest player on our team is Jean Ratelle, because Jean Ratelle goes into the corner and gets the puck against anybody,” Gillis said. “When I look at Daniel and Henrik, Jean Ratelle is a Hall of Fame player and one of the greatest people I ever met. They’re the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a player like Jean Ratelle.”
“If someone wants to take a shot at them after all they’ve accomplished, especially over the last three years, it rings hollow in my ears. I played on a line with Jean Ratelle, I know how good he was, and I don’t think he had one five-minute major in 22 years. He was considered a great player and that’s what these guys are.”
It’s a level-headed, reasonable response from Gillis, which isn’t all that surprising as he’s a level-headed and reasonable guy. The Sedins are certainly tough, though not in typical ways. They may not throw punches and bodychecks, but they take punishment to make plays and perform better in games with more physicality.
At the end of their careers, the Sedins, like Jean Ratelle, will be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, making it a little bit ridiculous that Bolland suggested the Blackhawks wouldn’t want the Sedins on the team.
If it had been left at that, the Canucks would have been safely on the high road, Bolland would have been left looking petty and unprofessional, and Canucks fans could safely continue to think of their favourite team as clever and witty.
Then Alain Vigneault opened his mouth:
“When you have, comments like Bolland’s, he’s obviously an individual whose IQ is probably the size of a birdseed. And he has a face that only a mother could look at.”
“You’re talking about two players who play with integrity, they play the right way, that are great examples of everything this game stands for,” he said. “Then you have a birdseed like that making comments. Lucky his mother loves him.”
I bet those jokes absolutely kill in French.
The first issue is that IQ doesn’t have a size: it’s measured as a number, not in volume or mass. Then he tries to turn that into an insult on its own, calling Bolland “a birdseed.” Then he dropped to the level of Bolland himself, exchanging “bunk bed” jokes for “a face only a mother could love” jokes.
Next time, Vigneault, leave the retorts to Bieksa:
“If he doesn’t want them on his team, he’s crazy. It’s probably because he’d be out of a roster spot.”
That’s how it’s done.
Keith Ballard’s approach is quality as well. Asked by Barry MacDonald if he had lost any sleep over Bolland’s words, Ballard responded:
No, not at all… I just heard about it this afternoon. Believe it or not, I’m not following Dave Bolland too closely.
That works too.
To Bolland’s credit, he has since apologized:
“I’ve got the utmost respect for the Sedin twins and for Alain Vigneault and all the Vancouver Canucks. It was just a little bit of tongue-in-cheek that we had at the little radio show with some of the fans. I’ve got the utmost respect for Vancouver and what they do and what they do on the ice and how they do it. Both of us have a great rivalry going during this season.”
Hey look! Class! Still doesn’t excuse the casual sexism of using the female gender as an insult, but it’s something.Alain Vigneault is about as clever as Dave Bolland, Tags: Alain Vigneault, Canucks, Dave Bolland, English is Vigneault's second language, featured, Mike Gillis