Cory Schneider Abandons his Usual Tact, Mocks Edmonton

Throughout the past two seasons Cory Schneider has repeatedly proven to be exceptionally skilled with his use of words. When you think about it, this skill has been essential to him, after all he occupies a highly flammable position in the Vancouver sports market. Just one tone-deaf Schneider quote could bring a chorus of boo’s down on already embattled starter Roberto Luongo. Certainly Schneider is popular enough, especially among certain segments of Canucks fans, that if he came out and said something even indirectly referencing the idea that he "should be the starter" all hell would break loose on the Team 1040’s call-in shows.

Schneider is something of a chameleon, really. He’s Boston born, but he plays for the Canucks, and if the alleged actions of his Massachusetts born girlfriend Jill are any indication, he’s very loyal towards his first professional team. He can impersonate any Canucks roster player or coach with aplomb and he can talk politics without hitting a single wrong note. We’ve said it before, but Schneider has a politicians understanding of "messaging" and so it was a surprise to hear that yesterday, he took an all-out, tactless (albeit highly accurate and amusing) shot at one of the Canucks most moribund divisional "rivals": the Edmonton Oilers

Read past the jump for more!

Ed Wiles yesterday wrote a column about how once the postseason begins, the Canucks magically transform into Canada’s chosen Pantomime Villain for the duration of the playoffs. Canadians in markets outside of Vancouver may as well call the team "Demon Dastardly," and using Twitter, participate in the show by giving the Canucks him a hearty chorus of micro-blog boo’s, hisses and jeers every time they appear on stage. 

Asked about the constant swirl of negative attention that surrounds the club, Cory Schneider had this to say about the phenomenon:

"What’s frustrating to us is when the national media and people outside the city parachute in and form these opinions. They take things for facts that aren’t really facts. If you talk to us and spend any time with us, you understand we’re good guys. Dan Hamhuis, the twins, Manny [Malhotra], Sami Salo. They play the game the right way and do great things in the community. You look around the league and people don’t like us and Pittsburgh and we’re two of the better teams. You saw Darcy Hordichuk and Ben Eager in Edmonton. Nobody cares about Edmonton, so nobody hates them. It’s that simple."

While we’re loathe to disagree with any Schneider quote, much less one that defends both Sedin twins and Sami Salo while taking an awesome unprovoked shot at Darcy "the Canucks lost to Boston because they cut me" Hordichuk and the Edmonton Oilers – but there’s more to the reflexive Canucks hate than the club’s winning ways.

In part it’s the diving, which, has reached the point of villainous parody. When Kesler both interfered with Jonathan Quick and threw his head back to try and draw a whistle on the same play Wednesday night, it was hard not to notice. If Kesler had villainous facial hair, I’m sure he’d have twisted it on the bench immediately afterwards.

I also remain convinced that part of Canada’s negative reaction to the Canucks remains based on a latent impulse towards hockey xenophobia. With so many French-Canadian, American and Swedish stars, the Canucks sorely lack that "good Ontario boy" quotient that earns other teams a free pass from the Toronto media. If the Canucks had Rick Nash as opposed to Ryan Kesler – they wouldn’t be as good a team – but I’m stubbornly convinced that the media would like them an awful lot more.

I also think the club’s default strategy plays a role in the way the club is perceived. While Vancouver’s power-play has gone swirling down the toilet the past few months, this is a club that was designed to make their opponents pay with the man-advantage. To that end, they perfected a type of mental warfare that earlier this season Cam Charron named "Jerk-Puck."

The idea of jerk-puck is to goad your opponents into taking stupid penalties through a process of constant agitation, and then bury them when you get your chance on the power-play. With the way the NHL was calling the game when the Canucks first began to build around this strategy, it made a lot of sense and was effective. When the league stopped calling penalties mid-way through this season, however, it sort of went into the toilet. Now, "jerk-puck" just looks to most observers like hollow villainy, and I have to believe that plays a formative role in shaping negative perceptions about the club. 

The Canucks are a hated team, that hate has become self-perpetuating and at this point it’s not going away. It isn’t always rational, it fails to take into account the heart that players like Raymond and Malhotra have shown to come back from devastating injuries this season, or the steadfast, class of players like the Sedins and Sami Salo. But it’s there, and it’s based on more than the Canucks habit of winning more games than they lose. Some of what it’s based on is total nonsense (the xenophobia especially) and some of what it’s based on is very understandable, even to most Canucks fans (the diving in particular). But whatever the case is, there’s one thing we can all be sure about: the Oilers definitely do suck.

  • Milli

    Canuck hate – here are 10 suggestions for why the Canucks are disliked (some of which parallel what Thomas Drance wrote).

    1. The usual suspects – the Burrows bite, Lapierre taunt, the diving last spring
    2. Luongo – he is “too emotional” or emotional in the wrong way
    3. Reasons 1 and 2 were on display against Bruins, who have very passionate fans in Canada (particularly Maritimes)
    4. The collapse in the finals – losing 4 of 5, being badly outscored – not loveable losers like the 04 Flames, or 06 Oilers, but a group of “overated, arrogant” players who got thumped!
    5. The big stars – Sedins, Kesler – aren’t Canadian – unlike Toews, Doughty, Weber, Iginla, Pronger, Perry, Crosby, Bergeron, etc. No Canucks on Cdn Olympic team (other than Luongo – see #2)
    6. Sedin “sisters” – the level of disrespect is pretty high; and they don’t play “Canadian” style hockey
    7. Swedish factor – even though there have been well loved players (Salming, Sundin) there is ill will, a lingering anti-Swedish mood stemming from WWII (Sweden were neutrals). Alfredson is hated in Toronto. Cherry basically called Edler a Chicken Swede in game 6 of the finals last year. Sundin was never as loved in Toronto as much as Wendell Clark or Doug Gilmour
    8. Anti big city bias – along with Toronto and Montreal – many love to hate the big city and the image of latte drinking, sushi eating urbanites.
    9. Something for the Toronto media to attack, rather than the Leafs
    10. The riots – easy to have contempt for a city that does that to itself

    Other than that, I don’t have a clue.

  • Milli

    It’s funny that in talking about the negative perceptions of the Canucks team, you completely forget to mention probably one of the most hated Canucks (possibly even more so than Kesler) and that’s Alex Burrows.

    My point is, namely, that switching out one guy might not quite change the image issues that the Canucks have got.

  • Marda Miller

    Nobody hates a bad team. Pure and simple. And if you don’t believe that well then its as easy as haters gonna hate, skaters gonna skate, and potatoes gonna potate.

  • Marda Miller

    As swan-divey as Kesler’s move was, you have to admire the timing. That goal clearly should have been disallowed and Kesler probably knew it. His antics drew attention away from interference, so mission accomplished I would say. I have no issue with that move, but I do think that lately Kesler’s been losing his focus a bit. If anyone can point out one NHL team that doesn’t use hockey psychology and do a bit of diving and whining and complaining and faking please point them out. It’s not possible. The media have chosen to focus on the Canucks and that’s the reality that they have created.

    Lapierre is supremely good at what he does, as is Burrows. It would be different if they weren’t good players, but they are in spite of their tactics. Burrows and Lapierre aren’t “dirty” players — in fact, what is a “dirty” player anyway? Does biting a hand that is planted in your mouth make you a “dirty” player? Isn’t it the player who shoved their glove in your hand equally as “dirty”? Isn’t Weber a “dirty” player for bashing Zetterberg’s head into the glass? What about Marchand and his dirty little bend over plays? What about Kronwall and his butt-first backups for which there must exist no rule in the book as he never gets called? Aren’t those “dirty” players making “dirty” plays? Sorry, I’m just not buying that the Canucks have more than their share of “dirty” players. They argue calls — doesn’t everyone? They look for calls — doesn’t everyone? The games are clearly refereed by some sort of ad hoc process that changes by the minute, so how can you blame players for looking to exploit the situation.

  • Marda Miller

    As an outsider, it amazes and amuses me how concerned Canuck fans are with how they are perceived by non-Canuck fans. When the Oilers were winning a quarter of a century ago (yes, I remember), Oiler fans didn’t give a rats patootie what anyone else thought of us. Who cared? What other fans thought of us was none of my business -I cared what the Oil did, and other fans hate was worn as a badge of honour. Of course when you win people don’t like you. Canuck fans – get over it. You can’t win a President’s Trophy without it coming with a large bullseye attached to your back. Embrace it. As the Emperor said to Luke Skywalker “Good, good, let the hate flow through you…”

    • Marda Miller

      The Gretzky Oilers were Canada’s team – they had fans from coast to coast. Of course they were incredibly exciting, and Gretzky was the first Anglo Canadian superstar to play for a Canadian team (unlike Howe, Orr, Hull). The 04 Flames and 06 Oilers had a big following in their cup final appearances in Toronto. Even many Toronto fans cheered for the Senators in 07. Last year’s cup final were different in that regard, in part due to presence of many Bruin fans in Canada(as apposed to TB, Corolina or Duck fans) and due to the notorious incidents in the cup final.

      • lj

        They may have been Canada’s team – I didn’t care – in fact if they weren’t Oiler fans first I didn’t want them to cheer for us. And if I was a Canuck fan, I wouldn’t care a tinker’s dam what someone in Whitehorse or Toronto or Halifax thought. I would circle the wagons and let everyone else go hang!

  • Reg Dunlop

    I think canuck hatred east of BC is truly exagerrated. Canadians just want to see playoff hockey, full of passion, courage, skill and effort. As a Canadian,of course I root for a Canadian team. For example, did everyone see the skill and desire displayed Wed. night in that dominating and inspiring performance by the Kings? Great Canadian players such as Doughty, Carter and Richards; a great performance by Penner after a trying season. Such character, how can they be denied?
    Thank you, thank you Kings for keeping vancouver’s futility streak going. I only hope that the canuck players stay healthy for when they are re-located to a real hockey market like Saskatoon in a year or two, maybe even get a 2nd or 3rd rounder when they deal that back up goalie.

    Go Kings. Go Oil. Go Oilkings. Go Saskatoon Canucks. Go away vancouver.

  • Reg Dunlop

    So Dmac, let me get this straight. Gretz was the 1st anglo Canadian superstar to play for a Canadian team? So, Morenz, Harvey, Apps, Mahovlich… how do they not count? There was the NHL prior to 1967. Oh, also, what about the great superstars of the canucks? Tallon, Blight, Ronning, Smyl? Haha, bad example I guess.

    • Reg Dunlop

      It is fair to say I was referring to the post expansion period. Morenz, Apps – before my time; Harvey – he was great (never saw him play) but not of the same stature as Howe, Richard, Orr, and Gretzky (IMO). Same for Mahovlich. Davie Keon and the Big M were part of great Leaf teams, but not of the stature of Belliveau

      For anyone who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when the pre expansion Leafs were a concept, not a memory, it was exciting to see a great team in a Canadian city outside of Montreal. The 70’s Leafs had their moments, but never challenged the elite. Into that setting came Gtetzky’s Oilers.

      I see you want to provoke … you forgot Linden. So here is a question – were the 1994 Canucks Canada’s team, at least outside of southern Alberta?

  • lj

    classless comments from a classless player on a classless team owned/managed/coached by classless idiots.

    pretty easy to take potshots right now at the Oilers, their young superstars, and their 5 Stanley Cups. might not be so easy in a couple years when they’re mopping the floor with the canucks.

    win a cup, then run yer damn mouth off.