The Kings apologize for harmless tweet; Canuck fans need to develop thicker skin

A Canucks fan begins to turn into the Hulk after learning what the Kings Twitter account did.

In case you’re still stewing with outrage over the sheer audacity of the Los Angeles Kings Twitter account, I want you to know that they have heard your cries. Thursday afternoon, the Kings apologized for the tweet, which was, of course, heinous. It was in poor taste to suggest the Sedins were women, claim Francophones such as Alain Vigneault and Alex Burrows should be exiled to France, call Cory Schneider a ginger, and make a riot joke all in one tweet.

Wait, that’s not what happened? They merely suggested the rest of Canada was rooting against the Canucks? Then why is the outrage-o-meter bordering on aneurysmal? Because that’s just true.

Earlier this week, I predicted that we might see a redemption narrative take shape this year in the national coverage, especially since the Canucks had scaled back the embellishment, Maxim Lapierre had become a fighter, and the whole group was tougher and less powerplay-reliant. But, one game into the Stanley Cup playoffs, I can already say that I was wrong.

On the bright side, Sweden loves the Canucks.

I didn’t expect Byron Bitz to hit a guy in the head (and neither did he, judging from his contrition this morning); it was a surprise that Ryan Kesler decided to pick Game 1 of the postseason to ratchet up the fakery, something we’ve hardly seen at all from him this season; and I wholly underestimated the way that hating the Canucks had become a national pastime, something the Kings’ social media guy clearly gets, and Canuck fans might want to get used to.

What blows me away is that the tweet touched on this phenomenon without deigning to any of the low-hanging fruit we’re bound to see and have already begun to see, and we lost it anyway. Provided the Canucks’ cup run goes beyond round one, we should expect to be inundated with sexist anti-Sedin arguments, absurdly slanted reporting, and lazy crap about Vancouver’s climate and geography not being Canadian (presumably from people that also want Hawaii and Alaska banished from the United States).

And this completely harmless sentence set us off? Here it is again, for posterity:

 

And here’s the apology. From Cam Tucker at the Vancouver Sun:

“We encourage our digital team to be creative, interactive and to apply a sense of humour whenever possible. To anyone who found it offensive, we sincerely apologize,” said  Kings VP of communications and broadcasting Michael Altieri.

Altieri would not discuss whether the individual would face any discipline, but said there had been internal discussions within the organization since the tweet was sent out.

“It’s definitely a philosophical approach we choose to take. We believe in engagement is first and foremost in all our digital strategies because we feel with engagement it will bring types of things we want for our business, for our organization over time,” said Altieri.

For what it’s worth, the apology rings a tad hollow for two reasons: first, because the tweet remains in their timeline for me to embed above. If they were truly ashamed of it, it would have been deleted. Second, Altieri’s use of the word “engagement”. That’s the key here. To spare me from repeating myself, here’s what I had to say about the tweet over at Puck Daddy:

As Thomas Drance of Canucks Army suggested, I suspect that much of the shock and awe among Canucks fans and even fans in other Canadians hockey cities stems from what they’ve come to expect from their team’s Twitter account, which embraces the word “official” and addresses the untold masses with the professionalism and relative remove.

You’d never see something like this out the Canucks’ Twitter account because it isn’t trying to drum up interest or attention; it’s just trying to maintain the status quo. Heck, it avoids full-on Orwellian status simply because the Canucks’ social media guru, Derek Jory, is talented enough to walk that fine line.

The Kings’ account, on the other hand, is actively trying to engage — and engage it did.

In effect, Vancouver fans are reacting (and I would say drastically overreacting) to a difference in approach. The Canucks’ social media presence is aimed at maintaining their fanbase and giving a massive, faceless organization a smidgen of personality. The Kings’ social media presence is aimed at growing their fanbase and attempting to drum up interest and appear relevant. And what’s more relevant than Canada hating the Canucks?

But it’s worth noting that Canuck fans seem to be forgetting about the other official Canucks Twitter account, @canucksgame, which tweets during games. Like the Kings account, it can be occasionally irreverent. And yet there’s little outrage when it makes a joke at the expense of the other team. How about that.

Thankfully, the uproar in this case is limited to Canuck fans and not Canuck personnel.

 

AV is wise to brush this aside as a complete non-issue. That’s what it was, and that’s what it deserved, especially compared to the stuff that’s coming. Pace yourselves, Vancouver.

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38 comments

  1. tom selleck's moustache
    April 12, 2012

    First!

    Embrace the Hate!

    I couldn’t give two hoots what the ROC or anybody else thinks. Just win the Cup; nothing else matters.

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  2. Julia
    April 12, 2012

    I can’t even believe this is an issue and that they felt the (over)reaction from fans warranted an apology. I thought it was some awesome grade A trolling from the LA Kings twitter feed, and harmless. Seriously, there are better things to get outraged over.

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  3. Zach Morris
    April 12, 2012

    “If you decide to cheer for Vancouver, you will be joining a fan base that’s known as one of the most jovial and thick-skinned in the entire league, according to the Canucks fans who are currently holding my family hostage in case I make any diving jokes.”

    -Down Goes Brown, with a tongue in cheek look at which team Canadians should throw their support behind

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    • the real bob
      April 12, 2012

      down goes brown gives me hope that toronto media can be less biased

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  4. Timmy Wong
    April 12, 2012

    You know I try to have fun on the twitterverse and interact with PITB whenever the opportunity calls for it, but I have to disagree with this article. It’s not that the LAKings does only one tweet, but it’s the ones before and after it – the ones about Kesler diving or the ones responding to angry users with an arrogant attitude – it’s those ones that get to me.

    As a person in the communications and new media field, you never editorialize on an official account, nor do you respond to negative messages with an attitude. The @LAKings poster did just that, and that’s what ticks me off.

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    • CM
      April 12, 2012

      I agree with you, Timmy. Coming from their official account, it was surprising and as someone in communications and media myself, I felt it was unprofessional. That being said, had it come from a fan account or a PiTB-like Kings blog account, I probably would have found it funny and moved on. Perhaps my expectations are high because the accounts I follow generally do keep it classy even when occasionally digging into other teams. Oh well. We’re all excited, might as well enjoy the postseason as long as possible.

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      • Anonymous
        April 12, 2012

        Ugh sorry about that I pressed the space bar and it posted the comment for some reason.

        Anyways, what I was trying to say is I totally agree, especially with this:

        That being said, had it come from a fan account or a PiTB-like Kings blog account, I probably would have found it funny and moved on.

        I think that’s one of the big things. This is the LA Kings official twitter account and no one was expecting that. Considering this is official, this was seen by everyone. Big media personnel commented on it (I chortled when I saw Elliote Friedman’s simple “Oy vey.” RT), it spread like wildfire. Canucks fans would probably get iffy about this compared to a blog or random fan saying that. Hearing it ‘from the organization’ (except not really) is a different thing, you know? As much as Canucks fans want to #EmbraceTheHate after a full year I’m sure it’s tiring and seeing it start up again is so eye-roll worthy. Especially having that sentiment repeated and spread around so more people can pat their selves on the back for doing the cool thing and being Anyone But Canucks.

        I think the main points for this being overblown is:

        1) It’s after a loss to them (in which we demonstrated some things for people to point and say “hah see look at those diving villains how can anyone root for them!!111″) so there is obviously a lot of sensitivity
        2) It’s about something Canucks fans are pretty sensitive about
        3) It was totally unexpected given what people are used to from official accounts
        4) It came out of nowhere/no one was expecting this from them. If Damien Cox tweeted this thanking LA on behalf of Canada it definitely wouldn’t get this much attention.

        And sure this is a great way to get their name out there and to climb the popularity ranks of Sports-in-LA, but why should we be content with it being at the expense of us? Just roll your eyes, think ‘another one for the haters’, and move on.

        IMO I get where they’re coming from and that it’s a great strategic move for them, and I’m not upset about it in the slightest. Not gonna lie, I was also like “What? Is this series over or something? Was Canada holding their breath for us to lose a single playoff game?” Weird timing for the tweet to be honest.

        But this groupthink and the ignorant people perpetuating it and the gross self-congratulation is dumb as hell.

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  5. MaggieLizer
    April 12, 2012

    Well, to be fair, it was a “I’m sorry if you’re offended” apology, which makes me think the Kings didn’t take the outrage too seriously – and they shouldn’t. I mean, it’s a chirpy comment, just chirp them right back and move on. I agree, this is not even the worst we’re gonna hear as we continue through the playoffs.

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  6. Poit
    April 12, 2012

    Reminds me of last year.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/lightning-fans-force-bruins-to-remove-bear-ads-mocking-tampa?urn=nhl,wp5215

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  7. John
    April 12, 2012

    The tweet itself is relatively harmless, but it was more the timing, minutes after the game ended. Pouring salt on a fresh wound is classless. Maybe I need a thicker skin, but I’m guessing if they would have released it today, it wouldn’t have made much noise. Nobody likes a sore winner.

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    • iceman
      April 12, 2012

      Exactly. Just ask the sorest winner of all-time… the Boston Bruins!

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  8. tj
    April 12, 2012

    Oh my god… Has this crap already started? How juvenile and exhausting. It’s hard to only read PITB during the playoffs, and avoid all the self-righteous, indignant hysteria, but I will do my damnedest. I just want to watch good hockey. All this other stuff, in the name of marketing something (a team; a league; a newspaper; etc), is corrupting the true beauty of the game. Yeah, sure, chirp a littler here and there, have some fun. But the Bieberification of the playoffs seriously tests my patience and passion for a game I’ve been watching for 20-odd years.

    Breathe, people. Hug a puppy.

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  9. J21
    April 12, 2012

    The only reason it’s annoying is because the “hate” theme is obnoxiously self-perpetuating groupthink, so crap like this contributes to it, but also because if the Canucks’ Twitter account took a shot at Los Angeles or King fans, there would be forty new threads on HFBoards and seven new Damien Cox columns on how this proves the Canucks are an inferior race unlike all others, etc. And endless replies about how “You haven’t even won anything!” would permeate.

    On this last point, how come King fans are “allowed” to chirp when their playoff history is less impressive than Vancouver’s? This seems to be the all-important measuring stick for Joe Sports Fan, even if success was attained in a six-team league where no one could take a slapshot.

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    • Cam Charron
      April 12, 2012

      I just want to say I like this comment and much of your other comments.

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    • Anonymous
      April 12, 2012

      Exactly. Double standards yo.

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  10. Chicky
    April 12, 2012

    Lame. All of it, the tweet, the response, the stupid apology, it’s all lame. Know what wasn’t lame… Lucic’s GF making an arse out of herself publicly. LOL Kidding. Kidding

    I will say this though, growing up in another province (and yes it had a NHL team), if my team didn’t make it, I cheered for whatever Canadian team that was in the playoffs. Want to know why? Simply because they were based north of the border. That’s how I roll. Should one day the Nucks NOT make post-season, I would be the exact same way.

    Do I care if the “rest” of Canada isn’t loving the ‘Nucks. Nope. I’m ok being selfish and keeping this team as My Team.

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    • the real bob
      April 12, 2012

      it’s just ottawa…

      I remember MTL fans cheering for the nucks last year because it was against the hated bruins

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    • obituary mambo
      April 13, 2012

      I have to say, I don’t get that mentality at all. Who cares what side of the border a team falls on? I’d rather see a good game and I’ll root for the team that gives me that. The majority of players are Canadian, which is why you had Bruins fans claiming their team was “much more Canadianer” than the Canucks were. I can understand rooting for a team in your general area, which is a big part of the reason I generally root for the Sharks in games that don’t involve the Canucks. However, I could care less about the Ducks or Kings, two teams that are in my home state (albeit quite far away), which, last I checked, is much smaller than the country of Canada. Apart from that Sharks thing, I cheer for entertaining teams or ones with players I like. Rooting for a team because it falls on the “right” side of the border seems arbitrary to me.

      Having said all that, I fully agree with you on the lameness of this entire twitter uproar. The tweet was surprising in its utter lack of class, but it’s hardly worth getting upset over.

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  11. Lucky
    April 12, 2012

    I liked your approach last night about pretending like we are Canada’s team with your hashtag #Canadasteam. I know it pissed off that one guy that you decided to reply back to by simply calling us Canada’s team again. That’s the way I feel like we should all respond. Just let all the negativity roll off your back, don’t focus on it too much and enjoy the game! There are fans I’ve seen attack other people for expressing their hate for the team. JUST LET IT GO, WHO CARES?! If you pay attention to the haters or bother to reply back and “fight” with them, they know they’re getting under your skin and will just do it that much more.

    GO CANUCKS GO!

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  12. biznow
    April 12, 2012

    a) rather than whining about the tweet, just quietly wait, and when the Canucks eliminate the Kings, send out a tweet that says “Thanks @LAKings”

    b) don’t hate on the rest of the country for not getting behind the canucks, the canuck nation is the only nation that matters right now. I’m sure when the playoffs are over, we’ll go back to only having mild disdain for each other.

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  13. Trey
    April 12, 2012

    The only outrage I see is HERE. As a Canucks fan I say ‘good one LA’. No offence whatsoever. Why are these so-called media types saying it’s the wrong thing to do on an official account? Obviously you guys are taking social media way too seriously. Just close your laptop, shut off your ipad, iphone and whatnot…….go outside and enjoy the sunny day. Friday we will come back with a victory and eventually the series!

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  14. Tom
    April 12, 2012

    Supposedly The LA Kings twitter account is ran by a very young man in his early 20′s. The Kings Brass was not impressed by this, and he has been dealt with and taken away from the job.

    I don’t mind it, but I can see why people would see it being un professional. It is the LA Kings twitter account. I can’t see why people would find it offensive though. Sticks and stones people, sticks and stones…..

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  15. Tamara B
    April 12, 2012

    I grew up in Winnipeg, and lived in BC for a couple years, and now live in Ontario — the Canucks are MY team!! :)

    that said — the diving, OMG sooooo embarrassing — really!!!

    LAKings mocking us? Um yeah, trash talking and chirping has always been a part of hockey! How can we take great delight in Lappy and Burr and then claim OUTRAGE at that tweet??

    Now, who fans should REALLY be ticked off at… PJ on HNIC. I cannot understand why CBC has a commentator that so clearly loathes the Canucks!

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    • JustSayin'
      April 12, 2012

      Couldn’t agree more about PJ. If any of our tax paying dollars are covering this guy’s salary, can I find out how much and deduct from my taxes this year!

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    • iceman
      April 12, 2012

      CBC only employees hockey commentators/analysts who have a minimum hockey knowledge AND loathe the Canucks – Cherry, MacLean, PJ, Hrudey and the worst of the bunch, Milbury.

      Yeah they all fit HNIC alright – Hockey Nutcases In Canada.

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    • LaLou
      April 12, 2012

      “How can we take great delight in Lappy and Burr and then claim OUTRAGE at that tweet??”

      EXACTLY.

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  16. JustSayin'
    April 12, 2012

    Childish, classless, but not unexpected from the soulless city of LA. What did surprise me is the sub-Oscar performance of their “apology”. Wasn’t authentic at all, guess they’re taking acting lessons from Kim Kardashian rather than Meryl Streep. Clearly, the Kings endorsed it and this is representative of their organization. Just part of the hater bandwagon at this time of year. No big deal.

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    • JustSayin'
      April 13, 2012

      Just to clarify, in case it was missed, I had my tongue firmly planted in my cheek while writing this post. The tweet was childish, classless, but funny. I see humour on both sides. LA is celebrating like they won the series after one game. That’s funny. LA has a huge amount of talent in the city, but they also have people like Kim Kardashian who know one can understand why she is famous. That’s funny. It’s better to see the humour than to jump on a hate bandwagon. It’s no big deal. Have fun with it.

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  17. longtimefanfirsttimeposter
    April 12, 2012

    2 obvious dives by Kesler and one by Hank. I’ve defended the Canucks against what I considered an undeserved reputation in the past but they better cut out that crap like now. Let the refs call what they call, don’t make yourself look like a fool out there, and besides the powerplay sucks, so what are you helping anyway. I love the way Luongo played, could have been 3-0 after the first 60 seconds with the brutal defensive breakdowns right off the hop but the rest of the team needs to show up. Hansen looked pretty good for stretches but the rest were on their heels the whole night. I know our guys can do a lot better and the Kings probably can’t play much better than they did, so if Luongo can keep it up we should be all right, but cut the diving crap.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      April 12, 2012

      Henrik got a stick between his legs. It’s nearly impossible to stay on your feet when that happens. I agree about Kesler dives and he needs to cut that out now, but that wasn’t a dive by Henrik.

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      • stathead
        April 12, 2012

        Why worry about what Twitter accounts say? That Kings tweet was less harsh than some tweets from fans when the Canucks aren’t dominating. Me, I protest the announcing. I was first watching CBC, who were so determined to see Luongo struggling that they sounded relieved when he finally let in a soft-ish one (THERE’s the story we want at last!), then didn’t even wait for the replay of the guy poking him in the chest with a stick to announce that we were about to see Luongo diving because the poking was sure to be absolutely nothing.

        Then I switched to CNBC; Hank went down, they called it a dive. And when a Kings guy was called for slashing on Lapierre, on the replay they said something like “yeah, that’s barely anything, he just drops the stick immediately and of course he gets the call” – yes, he dropped it right away because it was IN TWO PIECES from the slash, and he’s obligated to drop a stick as soon as it’s broken! The big faker.

        Can we just get two guys from the Czech republic or Latvia or something with no loyalties to do the commentating? I’d rather hear it in Czech than some of that. I know, #embracethehate!

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        • John in Marpole
          April 13, 2012

          A couple of weeks ago on the NBC coverage of a game involving Philly one of the Flyers took a clear dive and drew a penalty. Ed Olczyk was doing the color on the game and he was asked about it by the play by play guy. Olczyk said “You have to do what you have to do to win.”

          The hypocrisy of someone who has a past history of denigrating the Canucks as divers saying that made my jaw drop.

          That said, Kesler needs to stop that sh*t immediately. He embarrassed himself in game one.

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    • stathead
      April 12, 2012

      longtimefan, it’s just that none of the announcers are noticing ANY embellishment by the other team, and are seeing a lot of what isn’t there for Canucks – are pointing out that a dive is sure to be coming up before they’ve even seen what happened (see my post below). And Hank didn’t dive. :)

      Can we set up some kind of video index documenting dives by the other team, people? :)

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    • Peanutflower
      April 12, 2012

      Probably if you didn’t listen to Craig Simpson you would think differently about Henrik. Kesler needs a talking to sure but don’t buy into Simpson’s crap. Henrik was tripped. On more stride and it wouldnt have even been talked about. Same with Luongo getting shoved into the net with a stick. It’s ridiculous. I’m taking advice and turning off HnIC audio from now on.

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      • JustSayin'
        April 13, 2012

        I agree @Peanutflower. Whey I have the game on mute, I enjoy it much more. All season long, I have been muting between periods, but now I just mute the whole thing.

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  18. akidd
    April 12, 2012

    if the kings want to get the canucks all riled up that’s their business. as for defending the canucks to the roc, well, that just got a little more difficult thanks to kesler. kesler could easily send out the same tweet the kings did.

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  19. Warpstone
    April 12, 2012

    But you know, if the tweeter had type “your” instead of “you’re” it would totally be fair to declare open season on him… :P

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  20. Vince
    April 24, 2012

    Sorry, no Lord Stanley for you… again.

    You’re welcome CA!

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