Video: Chris Higgins talks staph infections, Amex line, abs on After Hours

Chris Higgins was the guest on Hockey Night in Canada After Hours Saturday, marking the third consecutive week that a Canuck has occupied the chair to Scott Oake’s right. March has already given us interviews with Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa, and Higgins’s turn in Oake’s awkward hot seat falls somewhere between the two, neither as wacky as Bieksa’s mug-and-quip-fest, nor as dry as the Hamhuis interview.

For the most part, the talk covers ground with which the majority of Canuck fans should already be familiar: Higgins’s service family, which includes his police officer brother and his firefighter father, the American Express line being good, and Higgins’s staph infection and subsequent struggles last January. But do not dismay, Canuck fans, because if there’s one thing that sets 10 minutes with Scott Oake apart from your standard hockey interview, it’s that Oake asks the questions you’re typically not supposed to ask. In this case, that means Higgins’s After Hours clip features a solid five minutes on his crazy abs.

The ab overload began when Oake showed the classic Higgins photo that made the rounds last November. ”I think that was actually hacked from David Booth’s phone,” Higgins quipped. And Booth wasn’t the only member of the Amex line that drew a Higgins burn. When asked who had the best abs on the team, Higgins cracked, ”Ryan’s got the best photoshopped ones, I’ll say that.”

I’d say we should expect his linemates to pass to him even less than usual next game, but I don’t think that’s possible.

The ab overload didn’t end there, as Oake made sure to share Guts McTavish‘s ab-grab from the Blue Jackets game earlier that night, in which Higgins was caught lifting his jersey to adjust his shorts. Since the man wears no undershirt, that meant further midsection exposure.

“A little equipment malfunction,” Higgins said, adding, “But I don’t think anybody minds, right?”

(It boggles my mind that his abs are so clearly defined, even on this crude screenshot. Seriously, what the heck. Between his sweet beard-growing ability and his supreme abdominals, Higgins is 10 times the man I’ll ever be. Plus he went to Yale, so I can’t even claim to be more learned. As Whitney Houston once said, “I have nothing.” If you need me I’ll be under my bed eating bacon.)

All right, enough abs, you vultures. Eventually, mercifully, Oake, Higgins and Weekes moved on to other things. Here are a few more highlights:

  • Less than two minutes into the interview, Oake had somehow managed to say “staph infection” about four times. (And when he said it at 1:11, it was accompanied by epic music, for some reason.) At 1:43, Higgins snaps. “Let’s keep mentioning that, over and over again,”  He says. “It’s done wonders for my life.”
  • Once his initial annoyance passes, Higgins paints a pretty nasty picture of what January was like for him: nausea at the bench, dizziness between shifts… yikes. As he says, maybe he should have taken a little more time off, but considering the dude played with a broken foot for a month last year, I think it’s apparent that Higgins shares Ryan Kesler’s approach to problems with his body. Hey, I work hard to maintain you, you’re not allowed to break, get back to work.
  • At 3:11, David Booth applauds Higgins’s play during last year’s playoffs, or maybe he just applauds the word “playoffs.” Booth strikes me as a dude that’s excited to play into May for the first time. I imagine that “playoffs” is Pavlovian to him. If he doesn’t clap, he starts wagging his tail and pacing in front of the door.
  • Scott Oake, reading a tweet: “Chris, without you on the Amex line, why does it seem like it has ‘insufficient funds’? Higgins, dryly: “Very witty.” Yeah, he thought that tweet was stupid.
  • Prior to asking @gaycanuck‘s question, Scott Oake gave what felt like a 10-minute disclaimer on being appropriate and the You Can Play campaign. I had to laugh at Kevin Weekes cheering him on the entire way: “NICE. NICE, SCOTTY.” It probably wasn’t a necessary diatribe for Oake. As Higgins said in answering the question, “It’s a non-issue.” To me, the whole point of the You Can Play campaign is to make a player’s sexuality not a big deal, but I feel like the media is beginning to treat it like their finest and most progressive hour. If I were a gay hockey player, I’d be afraid to come out just because of the extremely and creepily welcoming reception I’d be sure to get from the media.
  • And finally, Higgins is not on Twitter and doesn’t expect to be anytime soon. Of course, maybe he just said this to throw us off the track. Fly, my minions, fly!
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10 comments

  1. Scout
    March 19, 2012

    Three words: Twitter Needs Abs.

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  2. Anonymous
    March 19, 2012

    Fun interview! Scott gave me serious secondhand embarrassment though, especially during his unnecessary spiel.

    Was I the only one doing a little side eye when they mentioned Kesler is the Canucks rep for You Can Play? Given that I’ve personally seen and heard him yell the f****t slur when I’ve gone to games and that kind of thing is exactly why hockey players choose to stay in the closet. Eh, I guess it’s still a good message to promote?

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    • May
      March 19, 2012

      Agreed. I think Dan the Community Man would be a much more appropriate pick for rep.

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      • stathead
        March 19, 2012

        More appropriate, yes, but less unexpected, maybe less impactful? And for a guy like Kesler, I bet the best way to get him to change is to ask him to lead the way.

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    • stathead
      March 19, 2012

      I bet Kesler is trying to drop the habit. Speaking as someone who tries never to swear and still bellows the f word (four letter version) about three times a trip in heavy traffic, I can see how he would yell a word that he got sort of conditioned to use as an agitator-type guy in a league with some salty language. Props to him for trying, even if he isn’t perfect yet. It’s better than thinking “Well, it keeps popping out and I guess it’ll never change- may as well leave it to the next generation of players to clean up the language.”

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  3. peanutflower
    March 19, 2012

    I know Scott Oake is a nice, honest, well meaning guy, but he’s just such a dork. I don’t think I’m all that much younger than him (according to Wikipedia he was born “circa 1950s”) but I hope I would never come across as trying so hard to be cool. It’s a wonder he can operate that iPad. And it’s not Higgins who is panting at the door of the playoffs, it’s Weekes who is itching so hard to get into the conversation that his paper never stops shaking… I’m going to forgo any mention of how darn cute Higgins is. Just another good example of how AV manages to find players that were under performing and generally on the downside of their careers and brings out the best in them.

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  4. bergberg
    March 19, 2012

    ab-tastic.

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  5. tom selleck's moustache
    March 19, 2012

    “If you need me I’ll be under my bed eating bacon”

    Ha, as will the rest of us, Mooney.

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  6. sarah
    March 19, 2012

    I think David Booth’s response to everything is to clap – Dude is filled with positive energy!

    Higgins on how he sometimes still thinks about putting on the fireman’s suit

    Women of Vancouver: So do we, Chris, so do we.

    In all seriousness though, Higgins did a great job, I thought, on the You can Play question. Stressing that it wouldn’t be an issue to any of the players really seems like the best approach in my books. I’m sure there are tons of player differences in the room [from music to religion to family status to times guys like to get to the rink etc etc etc] but all that matters to the guys is how they play hockey and that they’re good guys. Well done on that answer Higgy…guess that’s the prep school/ Ivy League education showing.

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  7. Bob
    March 19, 2012

    Booth’s first question upon arriving in Vancouver “Wait, let me get this straight, there’s hockey…in May?”

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