Alain Vigneault was the guest on Hockey Night in Canada After Hours Saturday, and you have to think the timing was just right. With the regular season coming to a close, the Canucks having just clinched their second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy, and AV’s inevitable transition into his dry, unforthcoming, and short “playoff mode” on the other side of a good night’s sleep , he was in a particularly chipper mood.
Keep that in mind when watching the interview. It isn’t the most compelling of the recent Canuck appearances on After Hours, but it’s AV at his breeziest, and that’s something we likely won’t see again for quite some time. Not long after this segment, the clock struck midnight and the Vancouver head coach turned into a grumpy pumpkin. But for one more night, at least, he was all rosy cheeks and chuckles. Enjoy.
Just a few highlights:
Scott Oake asks if Andrew Ebbett’s was being used as a placeholder for Daniel Sedin, who is rumoured to be skating at an undisclosed location. Not so, says Vigneault. Daniel’s not healthy right now and he’s just trying out potential combos for the postseason, where everyone is likely to play with everyone. It makes sense, although Oake was right to wonder what in the heck Ebbett was doing on the first line. If that isn’t an indication that Vigneault pays attention to possession stats, I don’t know what is.
The guy who walks past at 7:12 gives a grade-A sneer.
At 6:30, Chris Higgins saunters by with two very attractive ladies. What’s Higgins got that I don’t? Like, besides money, an Ivy League education and abs you could zest a lemon on.
If it wasn’t completely clear that the entire Canucks team has been annoyed with the local coverage this year, Vigneault interrupting Scott Oake to mock the implication that 2 losses in 6 games was a funk pretty much sealed it for me.
Normally mum (and even deceitful) on his starting playoff goalies, Vigneault declares Luongo the starter for game 1 immediately. I was glad to see him take that storyline out of people’s hands immediately. I also like the way Vigneault said “Both my goaltenders are ready for this challenge.” The possessive tone struck me as a subtle and maybe even passive-aggressive reminder that he, not the fans or media, is the authority on who will play in goal.
Vigneault claims Luongo has been blamed for the teachers’ strike, bad weather, and high gas prices. That’s crazy. Luongo can’t control the weather.
In case you forgot English is still Vigneault’s second language, enjoy the way he trips over the word “resilience”.
On gigglefest: we had played 6 games in 8 days. I was tired.
And finally, my favourite part of the interview came at the very end, when Vigneault ribbed Oake about the possibility that the CBC wasn’t going to be covering the Canucks in the first round. Here’s why this was especially funny to me: when it comes to playoff broadcasting, the CBC and TSN have an agreement that the CBC gets to pick two series to cover, then TSN gets the third, then they alternate naturally. This year, that meant that, once the CBC took the two Canadian series, TSN would get that sexy Penguins and Flyers series. No doubt the CBC wanted that one more than either of the two they took, but can you imagine the uproar if they had skipped over one of the Canadian series? Most of us prefer TSN’s coverage, but can you imagine the outrage out West if we learned CBC had skipped us over? Vigneault poking fun of this was funny. “I just wasn’t sure if you were going to pick us,” he says. Oake immediately goes into P.R. crisis management mode. “The Canucks are number one for us,” he says.
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