Alain Vigneault is about as clever as Dave Bolland

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, 4.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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28 comments

  1. Timmy Wong
    December 14, 2011

    That apology was as half-hearted as the ones coming from the rioters after they got caught on Youtube…

    nice try.

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  2. john
    December 14, 2011

    Yeah AV didn’t take the highroad this time but hey, that’s all he ever does. Clearly the comments made by Bolland upset him more than it should because he obviously feels something of a greater degree. He’ll defend the Sedins in a heartbeat. Should he have said what he did? Probably not but like I said, he always takes the high road so why not let the media know he’s a little upset? Or more importantly, Dave Bolland and his poor word choice. Look at it this way: treat others the way you want to be treats. AV’s response is just that. After this debacle, I’m sure AV will continue on the high road…can’t say for sure about Bolland.

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  3. tj
    December 14, 2011

    What’s a guy to do (hey, looky at that font that’s coming up, all serif-y and classy! nice touch!). What was I saying? Oh, yeah… A team must defend its players, but don’t defend too rough-like, or risk getting into trouble. High road gets you ‘soft’ chirps. Trying to fight bad jokes with bad jokes (as it seems to me AV was trying to do) gets you ‘stooping’ accusations. Saying *anything* gets you ‘whining’ labels.

    I can’t bear it anymore. I’ve often thought, the hockey-fan undercurrent can get worse than 13-year-old girls defending territory, and now I’m sure of it.

    But this font. Jeez, this font is dreamy…

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  4. Ruth Fisher
    December 14, 2011

    Haha, AV defends Burrows so eloquently and then he does this…

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  5. Anonymous
    December 14, 2011

    Aww there’s no longer the like/dislike buttons? Now how am I supposed to scroll by Cambo’s usual vitriol? Is there any way you guys could bring that back? Other than that, nice header and layout!

    Anyways yeah I do think AV could have not said what he said but I’m a bit glad he did defend them. Obviously this is a sensitive topic for someone who has known the Twins for a great number of years and is probably tired of the lack of respect they get. Add to that the media latches onto this and runs to him begging for a soundbite and he obliged. He might have been a bit pissed off that day, who knows, he’s usually pretty zen.

    A lot of Chicago reporters said before the apology and have been saying after it that the Hawks upper management probably wasn’t too pleased with this situation so that’s where I believe the apology is coming from, but who knows? I hope he was being sincere, but if not, just goes to show who Bolland really is.

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  6. Mo
    December 15, 2011

    What I don’t get is why the media (especially the CBC) has never embraced Henrik and Daniel for their prowess and just plain identical-ness. To me, it’s a no-brainer, obvious, incredible story and one that doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. Sidney Crosby won the Art Ross once – in 06/07; Ovie once, in 07/08. Henrik, and then his IDENTICAL BROTHER Daniel did it in back to back seasons, 09-10 and 10-11. Why are THEY not the face of the NHL? I guess because they’re Swedish and not Canadian? And how can it be said they are not tough? They come out of the corner every time with the puck. This whole thing is beyond me, and it pisses me off! Royally!!

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    • J21
      December 15, 2011

      Yep, it’s because (1) they’re European and (2) do not play for an Original Six or other NHL darling club. I can’t think of any other reason, because their story is not only one of the most fascinating in the NHL, but in all of professional sports history. I can’t think of any other players like this.

      Same goes for Alex Burrows with CBC — if he’s an Original Sixer, they love the story of the hard-working non-draftee who finds a core, offensive role at the NHL level seemingly out of nowhere.

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      • Pierre Mcguire
        December 15, 2011

        Winning a Stanley Cup would help.

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  7. Erwin
    December 15, 2011

    I for one dislike the sexist undertones of using “sister” in the way Bolland half-retracted. Their media strung it along and fans ate it up, which I think was the larger foul here. A little surprised that Blackhawks franchise or the NHL is saying more about sexist comments like this.

    AV could have played the “stupid” and “ugly” cards better. Say like “Chicago is a class franchise, I’m surprised the media and fans there accept such bird-brained outright sexist comments.” It was probably lost in translation from some Quebecois insult involving de-pluming a lark.

    Anyway, more ammunition for the Green Men.

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    • Erwin
      December 15, 2011

      … “or the NHL *ISN’T* saying more”…
      *grumble*

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    • Sarah
      December 15, 2011

      I thought Daniel addressed the “Thelma and Louise” comment from Mike Milbury perfectly. He basically brushed it off and brought up the sexist aspect of the comment.

      “Usually, the guys who sit in those situations, they’re called experts. They’re there for a reason, I think. We don’t really worry about those kind of comments. He made a bad comment about us, calling us women. I don’t know how he looks at women. I would be pretty mad if I was a woman.” [Taken from Canuck Hockey Blog]

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  8. MelT
    December 15, 2011

    I kind of liked the obtuse nature of AV’s remarks, which would leave the mouth-breathers pondering for seconds on end.

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  9. Zach Morris
    December 15, 2011

    New setup?
    NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME

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  10. vancitydan
    December 15, 2011

    Two things. I am sure something was lost in translation in AV’s Quebecois tinted head ( he probably thought that one out in French )…and @#$% Dave Bolland’s “apology. You can only call that “apology” an “apology” with quotation marks, it was so forced and insincere.

    I don’t mind athletes being colourful, and if he had stopped at the bunk beads, whatever. But he went on and on to think up new ways to insult the city ( weirdos”, “stay inside” etc ) and even with the prodding of the WGN guy ( one of the broadcasters of the team, much like TEAM here ), he was the one playing that forward.

    So to hear a few cliched words of apology wrapped around the “little fun” and a “little tongue in cheek”" that, if you watch the clip at Chicago Tribune site seemed insincere anyhow.

    He knew what he was doing then, he should have just STFU, as I guess we all should. Its all going to be brought up Jan 31st anyhow!

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  11. Jeff
    December 15, 2011

    How is that at al sexist?? What an absolutely terrible piece of writing. If you want to rip Dave Bolland, rip him for his play on the ice this year, or the fact that he is making comments about two players who have been and always will be light years ahead of him in terms of skill. But to call him sexist? Come on.

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    • John Andress
      December 15, 2011

      Jeff, if you cannot see the sexist connotations of Bolland’s comments then no amount of explaining it is likely to penetrate your fog. But you are right. I think that Henrik and Daniel’s two Art Ross Trophies, one Hart Memorial and two Olympic Gold Medals (collectively) trumps anything that Dave Bolland has managed to achieve at an individual level. I just regret that his small minded stupidity manages to grab the limelight and that AV has contributed to the legs of this non-story.

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    • Dan Boyle
      December 15, 2011

      Sedins are light years ahead of Bolland playing the roll they play, Bolland is light years ahead of them playing his roll, the evidence is what Bolland has done in the playoffs the last two years. People can say what they want but he was a big part of the Hawks winning the Stanley Cup.

      He already has at 25 years of age a Memorial Cup, World Junior Gold Medal & Stanlay Cup, i believe there are only a handful of palyers in the NHL taht have achieved that.

      My hats of to the Sedins as great goal scorers and hats of to Bolland as a clutch players in the big games and at shutting down the top players in the league.

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      • Pierre Mcguire
        December 15, 2011

        Fact is, the Blackhawks don’t win the Stanley Cup without Bolland. And the Canucks don’t win the Stanley Cup without……oh, wait.

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  12. JDM
    December 15, 2011

    I somehow get the impression that AV made the mistake of thinking he was not going to be quoted on that. There’s no way he could have said that with the intention of the comments being published, could he? That’s just stupid.

    Bieksa said it pretty well. Schneider responded to Milbury well last year as well, though in my view the only response to anything Milbury ever says should simply be “Hey Mike, Alexei Yashin.”

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  13. Dan Boyle
    December 15, 2011

    What Bolland said was wrong but do understand that this was a local radio show were fans call in and they were having fun at Vancouvers expence, happy to see him apoligise.

    Cant believe what the Vancouver coach came back with his comments, shows that he is classless and not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

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  14. rvtBC
    December 15, 2011

    Actually, AV DID make a very similar Gillis-like reply but it wasn’t as ‘sexy’ as his birdseed crack and, not surprisingly, it’s the birdseed comment that has been picked up and getting airtime.

    I am kind of surprised and disappointed that you didn’t mention that part of AV’s remarks and reproduce those, particularly given the focus of the article is how he should have taken the high road. The birdseed comment was really a very small part of what AV had to say.

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  15. shadlove
    December 15, 2011

    LOVE IT!!!! IT’S ALL GOOD! HOCKEY NEEDS MORE TRASH TALKING LIKE THIS TO BUILD UP GAMES IN AN 82 GAME SEASON! SCREW “CLASS”, I’LL TAKE THIS OVER THE TYPICAL OLD HOCKEY CLICHES I ALWAYS HEAR ANYDAY!

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  16. shoes
    December 15, 2011

    Dave Bolland is an idiot and the most common comment you get is …”oh yeah, he won a stanley cup” First of all…..even though everybody wants to win a cup, it is a team sport and many a turd has been on a team that won a cup, including Matt Cooke,

    The only remarkable thing about Dave Bolland ……….is that his head is too small for his body. Sort of like birdseed.

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    • Dan Boyle
      December 17, 2011

      Corerction Memorial Cup, WJ Gold Medal & Stamley Cup, three of the haedest to win in Hockey..

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  17. Kezzi
    December 16, 2011

    Thank you for pointing out, again, something that I as a female hockey fan find insulting in male culture – the use of female terms to put a guy down. Like Daniel said last year, what does that say about the speaker’s opinion of women? I’m starting to insult my friends now by calling them Milburys and Bollands. Who would want to be one of THEM?

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    • Dan Boyle
      December 16, 2011

      sOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE INSECURE OR A FEMINIST, ITS JUST A JOKE, GET A LIFE!!!

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  18. Canadian4evr
    December 16, 2011

    Man how petty is this dialogue…you’d think that Bolland actually committed a serious hate crime against the Sedins. Quit falling for the media over reaction as this trash talking happens all of the time in sports or in life generally. Poor judgement from all parties in this case but isn’t there more serious issues in the world than Bolland trashing the sisters. OMG did I just say that? Please don’t forward this to AV…

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  19. Pat
    December 16, 2011

    Wags,
    You are right on. Why would you even acknowledge Bolland’s comments and give him any credence?? This only makes me wonder about the mental makeup of this team. I thought that we shucked the 800 pound gorilla last year. Didn’t we?

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