I’m writing this just after 1:30 AM EST, so it has now been roughly 81 hours since the conclusion of the Canucks dramatic 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon. Yet still, in the Boston or the Vancouver markets, that game and these two teams are all anyone seems able to talk about. The media, the fan-bases, the management, the players – they all hate each other. The Bruins have called out Shanahan, they’ve made Bertuzzi references, while the Canucks have mocked the Bruins’ intelligence and made some vague threats about "getting back" at Marchand at some undefined time in the future. It’s all very dramatic.
To that end, the video embedded above is possibly the best piece of "CANUCKS BRUINS RIVALRY OMG" media that’s been produced to date. Basically Tony Gallagher joined Shawn Thornton and some Boston homer media host to discuss the Dale Weise non-fight, among other unresolved issues from Saturday’s contest. Here are some highlights:
- It starts with Gallagher calling Shawn Thornton "unethical" for challenging Dale Weise to a fight the same period in which, Weise had an excellent minute long bout with Nathan Horton. Finally the host, some homer with a big head and a fake tan, tells Tony that they’ve got Thornton in studio, ready to go toe-to-toe with Vancouver’s most controversial sports columnist. Tony’s response? "BRING HIM ON!" I laughed really hard imagining flecks of spittle shooting off of Tony’s lips as his eyes narrowed… "BRING HIM ON!"
- So Thornton starts the ambush with a barb about whether it’s easier to fight "seven guys for a minute or just one guy", in reference to the doggy-pile that ensued when Thornton attacked Alex Burrows in front of the Canucks bench during Saturday’s game. This is awesome because Thornton, who is a surprisingly engaging personality on video, does that thing you do when you think you’re about to score an awesome point: he raises his voice a half octave, and delivers the line in a smart alec tone that even Alex Trebek could admire. I hate how Trebek always acts like he knows the answers. You’re just reading them off a cue-card, Alex!
- Tony yells "I CAN BARELY HEAR HIM" and Shawn Thornton audibly sighs.
- Shawn Thornton repeats the folk tale about the time he fought seven Canucks for a minute. "It was eleven-dickity two," he says, "and they all came at me at once. One guy, the towns-folk called him Dale, had arms like tree stumps, fists as hard as iron and hair as blonde as the golden molten lava in hell."
- Shawn Thornton continues with the hyperbole: "I’ve fought three times in a period before." This isn’t technically true, though to Shawn’s credit he’s fought three times in a game before. I find that pretty amazing. When you consider the length of this list of Shawn Thornton fights, his inability to get this one technical dead on is totally understandable. Total honesty, I found Thornton so engaging on camera I went and watched a few of his other segments with CSNNE. He’s wicked, and I hope that the damage his chosen career could do to the fine contents of his cranium don’t cost him what could be a stand-out career in broadcasting.
- Thornton quite rightly points out that Weise had at least 10 minutes to rest before Thornton got the opportunity to talk to him, and Gallagher makes a comment about Thornton being considerably larger than Weise. A 40 pounddifference is Tony’s initial claim! Thornton’s incredulity is palpable and he even makes a "whaa?" sound before going on to list himself as: "6,1 and 210" (Dale Weise’s exact weight, and 7 pounds lighter than Thornton is listed). Gallagher chimes in "so you only out-weight him by thirty!" and Thornton lands a haymaker "So he’s only 180 pounds?" Yeah come on Gallagher, who do you think Dale Weise is, a Stanchion stick-figure?
- Thornton’s final response to the size-differential argument is his best hook of the night, "yeah well I fought Derek Boogaard – so there goes that argument." For the record, Thornton fought the boogie man, may he rest in peace, twice in his career and won one of the tilts.
- The thing descends into mutual rambling a bit. Gallagher agrees with Thornton that Weise shouldn’t have dropped the gloves if he didn’t intend on fighting, and Thornton calls out Weise’s man-hood for punching him in the back of the head and failing to back it up.
- Finally the homer announcer asks Gallagher if he thinks the Canucks have earned their reputation, "because it’s not just Boston that hates the Canucks, most of the league hates the Canucks." Yes they do, and we embrace it. Most of the league, however, just loves the Bruins. They send them flowers on off-days: "Thanks for being you, Bruins. Thanks for pummeling us 9-0 the other night, your hair smells like home. Love, the Flames"
- Gallagher now has an exchange with the homer Boston guy, "How can you be hated when you have no toughness?" "Well that’s actually a good question," says homer Joe, before saying that it’s because the Canucks aren’t tough that they’re hated. It’s because they’re akin to the mustelidae genus that they earn so much scorn. Whatever, this line has been thrown around a lot in the Boston media and it’s bull-shit. The Canucks aren’t built to beat you up post-whistle, but they can play physical hockey with most anyone, and for the most part, that includes Boston. For example, I don’t know how you watch Saturday’s game and see the Canucks as "backing down" at any point…
- The interview ends abruptly from there with homer Joe fake-tan congratulating Tony and the Canucks on having won the President’s Trophy. Pretty surreal.
Here’s why this video rules: because Shawn Thornton is hilarious. He’s legitimately agitated, he grunts and sighs while calling out a fellow NHLers man-hood, he tells several folk tales and invokes some of his most impressive accomplishments as an NHL enforcer. Gallagher on the other hand is prickly and stubborn and makes for a fine foil in an argument with Thornton.
Gallagher got sandbagged, took the worst of it and kept trudging up-hill. Despite the clear bias of the host, who rather than moderating and ending the interview respectfully, chooses to score some cheap points, Gallagher hung in there and made some good arguments (to go with a couple really weak ones). It’s a clear decision in favour of Thornton, but, like when Gaustad and Regehr fought Lucic and Chara in the game after Miller got run: Tony-G showed heart.
Now when Thornton tells him about the time he fought four-score and nine-dickity Canucks that one time in Boston, Gallagher can come back and say, "and I took on two dudes for two minutes on CSNNE later that same week!"