Alain Vigneault vs. Dave Bolland: Canucks and Blackhawks Talk Smack

Adam Graham@@adam_grahamAnalyst IIDecember 15, 2011

It seems as though another chapter in the rivalry between the Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks has been written, but this time it's due to an off-ice battle.

If you're one of those fans who loves a war of words through the media, then you're going to love what's transpired between Blackhawks pest Dave Bolland and Canucks coach Alain Vigneault.

First, Bolland and Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford went on WGN radio host Dave Kaplan's "Blackhawks Live" show from Harry Carey's restaurant; Bolland had some interesting things to say about the Canucks, along with the Sedin twins and the city of Vancouver.

Here are the key parts from the 30 minute interview that created the most controversy:

Bolland was asked which team the Blackhawks get the most pumped up to play against between the Canucks and the Detroit Red Wings.

"I think it’s both of them, for sure. Vancouver. I think you guys know how much hatred [there is]. We hate those guys.”

Then Kaplan mentioned the Green Men and Bolland responded with a popular insult.

“Yeah they’re ugly. And the sisters. But for sure, I think Vancouver is one of those teams that when they come to town or we go there, guys are pretty jacked and they are ready to go.”

Later in the show, co-host Andrea Darlas asked Bolland if the Sedins would still be considered sisters if they ever became Blackhawks.

“They’ll never become Hawks. I don’t think we’d let them on our team. That’s probably one thing. We’d be sure to not let them on our team, and yeah, they probably still would be sisters. I think they might sleep in bunk beds. The older one has the bottom one, the younger one has the top.”

The show also featured a live audience and a microphone was passed around to several fans who wanted to ask questions as well. At one point, a young boy asked Bolland if he hated everyone on the Canucks or just some of them, to which Bolland replied, "I hate them all."

Finally, Bolland decided to poke fun at the entire city of Vancouver when he was asked what he does with his spare time on the road.

"When we go to Vancouver we just stay in. We don't go out in that city. There’s a lot of weirdos [In Vancouver], you don’t want to be out there too long. You want to stick in your room, get room service and get out of there as quick as you can."

As unoriginal as the "sisters" insult is while referring to the Sedin's, I can't argue with the amount of "weirdos" there are in Vancouver, but just about every major city has its share of odd people roaming around its downtown core. The only difference in Vancouver is that it's such a hockey-mad city that some of those weirdos might recognize the Blackhawks and decide to specifically target them.

Perhaps that's what Kaplan was alluding to when he mentioned the old lady in the interview right before Bolland started talking about the city. Then again, maybe he was just helping Bolland stir the pot.

However, the rest of Bolland's comments need to be taken with a grain of salt because, even though they might not reflect a very classy individual, the nature of this particular radio show was extremely light-hearted and Bolland was pandering to the audience by trying to be funny.

It's also worth noting that the host of the show set the tone of the interview by referring to the Sedin's as the "sisters" in his introduction, which was met by laughter from the audience.

While this shouldn't make it okay for Bolland to insult the Canucks and the Sedin twins, it's obvious he thought he had the green light to say whatever he wanted and he realized the best way to entertain the audience was to make a few immature jokes about them.

For this reason, Bolland's comments are very different from the cheap shot that Mark Recchi took at the Canucks when he said, "In 22 years, they are the most arrogant team I played against and the most hated team I've ever played against."

While Recchi's comment was one of vitriol and hate, Bolland sounded like he was really just poking fun at the rivalry between the Canucks and the Blackhawks. He's an agitator on the ice, so perhaps he was just trying to get under the skin of the Sedin twins and agitate them off the ice as well.

However, it appears the person he agitated the most with his comments is the head coach of the Canucks, Alain Vigneault.

The usually jovial Vigneault was clearly upset with Bolland and offered up this response:

"I think it's a bad reflection for himself, for the image an NHL player tries to portray. In my mind, such a classy organization like Chicago, I'm sure they're not too happy about that. I'm sure the NHL isn't too happy about that. We're not talking about junior league here or bush league, we're talking about the NHL, where they have professional players where they get involved in community and society. We all do a hard line of work and they do it the best way they can and to have guys like this trying to act like comedians, that's just not the right thing to do."

Oh, and he also took a few insulting shots of his own at Bolland.

"When you have comments like Bolland's, he's obviously an individual whose IQ is probably the size of a bird seed, and he has a face that only a mother can look at."

Vigneault made these comments without the usual smirk that normally crosses his face when he's having fun with the media. Clearly he wasn't impressed with the Blackhawks center.

As silly as what Bolland said about Daniel and Henrik Sedin was, those comments from Vigneault are much more surprising.

Anyone who follows the Canucks knows about Vigneault's sense of humour and the calmness he usually portrays. Apparently Vigneault didn't listen to the entire interview with Bolland and Crawford, because if he did he would have understood the comedic and light-hearted nature of it.

Then again, maybe Vigneault just doesn't care and doesn't think the tone of an interview should give a professional athlete an excuse to toss insults at his opponents.

As a fan, I think it's funny and I think hockey needs more of that sort of thing. However, if I was a head coach I'd probably be defending my players as well.

As surprising as it is that the older and seemingly more mature Vigneault stooped to the same level as Bolland with his response, Bolland needs to be willing to take as many insults as he dishes out.

For the record, Henrik Sedin was a little more level-headed when he responded to Bolland's comments.

"Who cares? I have a lot of respect for a lot of guys on [Chicago] and we're not playing them for a few weeks, so I don't know where that came from."

Perhaps that's the angle that Vigneault should have taken as well.

Regardless, I think hockey fans everywhere will be circling January 31, 2012, on their calendars because that's the next time the Canucks and Blackhawks will battle each other on the ice, as opposed to their most recent battle through the media.


NOTE: If you have time to listen to the entire WGN radio interview and you missed the hyperlink I provided above, you can also listen to it by clicking here.

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