The Podcast That Never Was; With Daniel Wagner


Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, things just don’t work out. Those words have never rang truer to me than right now. On Saturday night, I was in Abbotsford to see the Heat take on the visiting Edmonton Oilers Oklahoma City Barons. Another person who happened to be in attendance was Daniel Wagner, who fancies himself a connoisseur in the art of ‘giving Bulis’.

We decided to record a podcast in the media lounge during the second intermission. It was busy, and rather loud, but I figured that this was what people who live life on the edge do. So we went ahead with it. The result was a rather unforgettable amount of fun for Daniel and I, and an audio track that was a jumbled mess. It turns out that there’s a valid reason why people usually record in studios designated for podcasting.

But I’m not one to go quietly into the night. And I certainly won’t pretend that this never happened. So instead, I’ve gone ahead and transcribed the discussion for you. In case you were wondering, Daniel’s voice is as sweet as his writing is eloquent. I will make sure to have him on again in the near future, to make amends. 

Read Past the Jump Once You Have Finally Stopped Shaking Your Head.

Dimitri Filipovic: It feels good to be joined by unquestionably one of the two best Pass it to Bulis bloggers out there. What’s happening, Daniel?

Daniel Wagner: One of the two, eh? Not a whole lot. Just enjoying the Heat-Barons game. The Barons are absolutely dominating in really every facet of the game, but it’s still scoreless, so anything can happen.

DF: I tweeted this earlier, but I get the sense watching this game that the Barons are just one more first overall pick away from really making some waves in the AHL.

DW: I say two. They need at least two. Maybe Yakupov, and a goaltender taken with a first overall pick. 

DF: [I go on to spend some time informing the listeners about the surroundings we’re recording in, telling them that I hope they enjoy the show. In hindsight, those 30 seconds were rather ironic]. 

The prevailing topic of the past week the entire Pavel Bure saga. You wrote about it.

DW: Absolutely. It’s actually in the Saturday edition of the paper, too. I’m in the paper now [I think I saw a popping of the collar, but I’m not confident enough in it to report that it happened].

Iain MacIntyre and I wrote opposing view points on the subject. I am fully in favour of Pavel Bure’s number being raised to the rafters. Iain thinks that without the community involvement, it shouldn’t happen. So did Thomas Drance, actually, which was a post that I completely disagreed with. He is dead wrong. 

But my basic take is that I’m coming from a perspective of a guy who grew up during a time when Pavel Bure was the Vancouver Canucks. I was 9 years old in ’94, so it had a major impact on me. I was completely clueless about what his community involvement was, and I didn’t care. I was just a kid who wanted to see the Canucks score some goals. 

He brought the Canucks to relevancy on the national scene. Trevor Linden, Jyrki Lumme, Cliff Ronning; all great players, but without Pavel Bure the Canucks aren’t noticeable. He won the Calder, the first trophy won by a Canuck. He has the back-to-back 60 goal seasons. He was the best player in Canucks history on the ice, and his number should be in the rafters.

But because the Canucks have had this secondary requirement in the past – which they have needed to have to justify some of the retirements they have already done – they need to stick to it. I feel that just because they have had stupid requirements, doesn’t mean they need to stick to them.

DF: I agree with you. And I hope the Sun is hiring because saying that may get me fired. He was a special player, who is finally being rewarded for the career that he had by being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. It just doesn’t make sense for me to not have that number retired. Has anything definitive come out on it, because I know there have been conflicting reports?

DW: Tony Gallagher and Jason Botchford firmly believe that this is happening. 

DF: Well, yeah. There’s a Province versus Sun war going on right now. And it seems to me that you’re kind of in the middle of it. You know you have to pick a side right? Can’t have the best of both worlds.

DW: A little bit. You’ve got to get some controversy going, right? Get a good headline. But Iain is just going off of what the Canucks have told him. I assume that they want to keep this on the downlow. And Botchford ran with it, based solely on an interview with Gino Odjick; one of the good friends of Pavel Bure. Whereas Gallagher says that he spoke to someone closer to Bure, who indicated that it was happening.

DF: Let’s take this discussion one step further. Based on the current Canucks roster, who do you see as viable options for one day having their number retired? And beyond that, what about the Ring of Honour? 

DW: That’s an interesting question. My big criteria for number retirement is this: can you see that number on anyone else? For Bure’s, the answer is no. It pains me that Ryan Johnson has worn the number 10. For me, I can’t see anyone ever wearing the 22 or 33 again. You can justify it on performance, and the major awards they have won. As for the Ring of Honour, that’s a tougher one.

I think Alex Burrows has to be, just based on his story. He’s a guy who started out in the ECHL, and made it all the way to the top line, becoming a fan favourite. Beyond that, I don’t think that there’s too many other guys.

DF: So you wouldn’t have Kesler in there? Obviously there are still so many games to be played in his career, but all we’re doing here is talking hypotheticals anyways. 

DW: It would depend on how long he stays with the Canucks. I’m hoping that he’s the kind of guy that stays long term, and ends his career here. Burrows for me, just has the feel of someone who will wrap his career up here. There’s people who could make the argument for Mattias Ohlund.

DF: I’m glad you brought him up. I think he has to be in the Ring of Honour, just based on what he managed to do for the team in this early 2000’s. And we’ll get to defensemen in a second.

But for me, when you were talking about your requirements for the jersey retirement, I couldn’t help but think about that big ol’ number 1. I can’t picture anyone else wearing it, honestly. 

DW: Really? The big issue for me is that I don’t know that he’ll be with the team for quite long enough.. 

DF: But that’s an interesting debate in and of itself, right? Do you value the peak, or the longevity? I think there needs to be some sort of fine balance between the two. Because his peak with the Canucks was pretty remarkable.

DW: It needs to be a bit of both. The statistics are there, but the major awards aren’t. 

DF: So if those final 60 minutes against Boston play out differently, we’re not even having this discussion? That’s a little silly. I hate succumbing to those sorts of narratives. 

DW: Oh, absolutely. And I absolutely agree that it’s ridiculous to think that way. But that’s what they’re going to look at.

DF: Sadly. Let’s get back to Mattias Ohlund. Back in the summer, I wrote about how he held the franchise record for points by a defensemen. What I couldn’t help but notice was the fact that barring some sort of serious injury, Kevin Bieksa will top that record. If he can lay claim to that, it’ll make for an interesting argument about whether he’s RoH worthy.

DW: I mean, who knows? Maybe he goes out and wins a bunch of trophies. A Conn Smythe or something? That would imply that the Canucks actually win a Cup. Not too many defensemen win that award in a losing effort.

DF: No. Especially when they’re not even the best defenseman on their own team. Let’s shift along to a discussion about Twitter. Mike Gillis was on the Team1040 last week, and didn’t come across as a huge fan of Twitter. He said that all of the messages are his, but he doesn’t actually click "send". He doesn’t trust himself when it comes to looking at the mentions, and not responding to some of the irrational things that are sent his way. I figured we should talk about David Booth.

DW: I wonder if Gillis is the kind of guy who obsessively checks his Facebook account? But yeah, there are interesting expectations when it comes to athletes on Twitter. Fans seem to expect players on their team to think exactly like they do. And David Booth is the kind of guy who doesn’t think the way that a lot of urban, city-dwelling Canucks fans think. 

I think that a lot of people like to hunt, and a lot of people are on the conservative end of the political spectrum, too. I don’t think that they take issue with what he tweets. And I don’t either.

DF: Agreed. But my question is whether he’s aware of what he’s sending out there, and the effect that it has on people? Is he doing it tongue-in-cheek? At this point, he must be aware of the backlash.

DW: He gets a ton of hate tweets. I guarantee it. But he has spent so much time in a bubble. The bubble of being a professional athlete surrounded by jocks. The bubble of being a Conservative Christian, who’s surrounded by like-minded people. I think that if he said any of the things that he says on Twitter to the people around him, they wouldn’t think twice about it.

He said something interesting recently in a tweet not too long ago. It was something along the lines of "I know that I’m frequently misunderstood", and that showed me that he recognizes what he is saying isn’t being heard the way he thinks it will be. Booth doesn’t seem to have a handle on the PR side of things, and that’s fine. That doesn’t mean that he’s a bad person. 

DF: You’ve had some interaction with the Strombone account on Twitter. Do you think that the frequency, and hilarity of his tweets keeps up when he’s inevitably traded from the Canucks? I’ve been wondering about it lately. It’s quite possible that he has seen the writing on the wall, realized that his time here is up, and is now having some fun with the whole situation.

DW: The frequency took a big step-up in the offseason, and throughout the lockout. And it’s why he has become so huge. But because he officially refuses to put his name to it, he has impunity. It has made him the most interesting athlete on Twitter. At least hockey player.

DF: Oh yeah. It’s not even really close. The second would probably have to be BizNasty.

DW: He’s a bro. He’s a little misogynistic. He’s a little sexist. He says bro things, and bros like to read bro things. But yeah, with Luongo it’s all this little inside joke with his friends back home. He refuses to tell us what’s behind the Strombone name. He’s having fun with it all, and is even getting a little political.

DF: Oh my goodness. The Tim Thomas joke had me falling out of my chair.

DW: It was hilarious. But he was able to get away with it because it’s a little tongue-in-cheek. Whereas when David Booth does something like that, it comes off as a little condascending. But one thing that’s on the blog right now..

DF: Hold on. Wait a second. This isn’t the part of the podcast where you plug stuff. You can’t just do that all willy nilly.

DW: Oh common. Right now on the blog we have Roberto Luongo’s 10 favourite hate tweets that emanated from the Tim Thomas joke. And he personally picked 10 out, from what he said were hundreds. They’re mean, and they’re vicious. They’re not funny. There’s one that’s funny with all of the pucks behind him in the net. But the tweets themselves aren’t funny. It’s only good because it’s Luongo himself that signed off on it.

DF: What are your thoughts on the game we’re witnessing tonight? 

DW: Oh, you know. It’s fun seeing Justin Schultz in person. I haven’t seen him do anything though. But the awesome thing is that I heard by the 3rd period on Friday night Canucks fans were booing him every time he had the puck. Not Abbotsford Heat fans, but Canucks fans. I guess they’re still a little bitter.

DF: Yeah, and we’re seeing him play by far the most out of anyone on either team. That kind of opportunity and role is why he picked Edmonton over Vancouver. For me, the big takeaway has been just how much they seem to hate Magnus Paajarvi. He has been by far the best player out there, and yet he’s still playing with guys far beneath his talent level. And they refuse to give him the ice-time that his play has warranted.

DW: Here’s the thing with Paajarvi. He always looks like the best player on the ice, but then you look at the box score, and he doesn’t do anything with it. He’s a "look good" player. He’s a Moneyball player.

DF: Hey, you try dragging Anton Lander’s carcass around. But now is the time where you can plug some stuff. Go for it, the floor is yours.

DW: You can follow me on Twitter @ADanielWagner. It’s not @TheDanielWagner, because that was already taken. You can check out Pass it to Bulis, follow us there, and check out my work regarding general NHL stuff at the Backhand Shelf blog.

DF: You have been starting to tweet more. I’m a fan of that.

DW: Yeah, I just got a smart phone a few months ago, and am starting to get the hang of it. I’m picking it up. It’s actually my first cell phone ever. For a blogger to not have a cell phone? Yeah, weird.

DF: I don’t blame you, though. There’s probably no cell reception in your mom’s basement.

DW: I definitely live in a basement, but it’s just not my mom’s. Don’t get me wrong, though. It’s still a basement. I’m a proper blogger.

Fun with Numbers

0: The number of things I took the liberty of adding in as I transcribed the podcast. Everything you just read was actually said. I refrained from using my power to make Daniel look silly.

1: In my humble estimation, this really was 1 of the best podcasts I’ve had the pleasure of doing. You’ll have to take my word for it, because you’ll never get the chance to listen to it.

9: On Facebook, Daniel shared a spot he did for Team1040. He claimed that something he learned about himself from doing it was that he says "absolutely" a lot. On this podcast, he went on to say it a grand total of nine times. Including one instance, where he rattled off two of them within the span of a few seconds.

: The number of laughs that were had. And it’s why I didn’t include "[laughs]" in the transcript. Feel free to assume that we were laughing the entire, because we probably were.

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