Nate Schmidt’s first media availability as a Vancouver Canuck on Tuesday was highly-acclaimed. It was the first time fans got a glimpse at the defenceman’s outgoing personality. He fills one of two holes left by Chris Tanev and Troy Stetcher, both of whom walked in free agency after negotiations with the Canucks fell through.
Though most people acknowledge the value of the acquisition, many are still learning of Schmidt’s upcoming role with the Canucks, which are explored in this analytical piece from CanucksArmy’s Brett Lee.
Nate Schmidt winning Vancouver hearts without even lacing up yet 😂 Love to see it.
— Dee ☕ (@forevercanuck) October 14, 2020
Schmidt brought an exciting energy that I felt was very similar to the Canucks roster I started watching a decade ago… He made me wonder what happened to the fun that players used to have during interviews, so I decided to deep-dive Youtube and revisit some iconic moments.
Here’s a countdown of my favourite Canucks interviews in the last decade (in no particular order):
#9. Air Canucks Tours
Something about charter tour videos always found a way to make me laugh. They provide an inside look at what Canucks players do during road trips, which usually consists of typical activities to pass the time: from competitive games like Mario Kart and poker, to watching movies. And, since they’re resting for the upcoming game, the interviews are more casual and laid-back.
One year, Brandon Prust gave a brief back-to-front display of the 2015-16 charter, while Troy Stetcher acted as a flight attendant in this one. Brandon Sutter hosted a couple of silly seatmate interviews during their flights on the road, where Canucks players either complimented or chirped each other on their airplane habits. It’s especially funny when they’re sleeping (or faking it, like J.T. Miller).
#8. Any Interview with Juice in it
Kevin Bieksa might as well have an hour-long compilation of funny interviews. His witty personality created some of the funniest player-media interactions I’ve seen in the NHL.
He did a headstand in the background of Dan Murphy’s set trying to distract him, intentionally formed an awkward group interview with Jason Garrison and Dan Hamhuis in this clip, impersonated Kesler in a radio interview, and made Hamhuis blush on Breakfast Television at the Annual Sports Celebrities Festival in 2014.
As Juice steps into more media positions, which I discussed in a previous article, we can hopefully expect many more hilarious interviews to come. He already meta-interviewed Canucks players in this video, and who could forget his masterful performance at the Sedin’s jersey retirement ceremony?
#7. ‘My Contract Sucks’
Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo had his fair share of amusing interviews, including his famous contract line in 2013 (2:38 in the video), which foreshadowed his surprise trade to Florida a day before the deadline in the following year. This relatable pass on a dumb question is high on my list too.
#6. A.V.’s Giggles
Past Canucks coaches definitely aren’t exempt from this list: Alain Vigneault had little to say to media after he couldn’t stop laughing at Vern Fiddler and his impression of a pouting Kevin Bieksa. My favourite AV moment, however, was when he said Dave Bolland had an “IQ the size of a bird seed” in this video after Bolland chirped the Sedins in an interview.
Gotta love AV.
#5. Nicknames and Pronunciations
Returning to recent years, there seemed to be a theme in names.
This video provided an explanation of unfair rookie standards with the backstory behind Quinn Hughes’ ‘Huggy Bear’ nickname. A similar video featured teammates purposefully butchering the correct pronunciation of Elias Pettersson’s name. The funniest: this interview with Jake Virtanen, explaining the AHL roots of his nickname ‘Big Tuna’ but also claiming Brock Boeser’s nickname was ‘Mr. Sensitive.’
I liked these videos because they gave a humorous look at how close the team is based on how much they (lovingly) make fun of the young guys.
#4. Group Interviews
A few of the best multi-Canuck interview clips from the early half of the 2010s: when they discussed the best pranks they ever saw in the Canucks locker room, provided parenting advice for then-new dad Mason Raymond, some classic reactions to the Chicago goal song Chelsea Dagger, and Eddie Lack and Kevin Bieksa joking about Dale Weise packing light on clothes for the road.
My favourite: when Henrik Sedin and Kevin Bieksa chirped Ryan Kesler’s ESPN Body Issue nude photoshoot, with Sedin saying it was “not impressive” and Bieksa claiming that the photos were airbrushed (sorry for the video quality, Bieksa’s face is fixed after a few seconds).
I swear, players nowadays don’t chirp half as well as past players used to.
#3. Schneider’s Impressions
Bobby Lou’s longtime netminder buddy and starter rival Cory Schneider was also a golden interview, becoming a mimic during his time with the Canucks. He flawlessly replicated Jannik Hansen, Alain Vigneault and Alex Burrows in a few After Hours interviews.
#2. A Classic Torts Meltdown
As Canucks coach for just one season, John Tortorella left a few memorable interview marks, as he seems to do everywhere he goes. There’s this clip where he was misnamed as ‘Mike’ by a media member; his comments on the Canucks & Flames infamous line brawl in 2014; one of many meltdowns after a phone rang mid-interview; and confessing that he didn’t know who Sarah McLachlan is. (If you missed him leaving the podium after 2 questions during the 2020 playoffs, watch it here)
Fortunately, his more chipper side was emphasized in this compilation, and it’s safe to assume that Tortorella lived up to the history of Canucks coaches saying anything to defend their players.
In my opinion, ‘Kesbomb’ was the blueprint. Former Canucks alternate captain Ryan Kesler’s schtick was casually walking in-frame during his teammate’s interviews and doing something obnoxious to steal the attention away.
Where do I start? Kesler ominously stood behind Cory Schneider whilst wearing his goalie mask, drank an energy drink (shirtless) behind a mature Henrik Sedin, did it again behind Dan Hamhuis, casually waved behind an unaware Christian Ehrhoff, showed off during training camp behind Jannik Hansen, sauntered in sunglasses behind Chris Higgins, and offered a slice of pizza to interrupt Raffi Torres (shirtless again). I’m sure there are way more clips out there.
My favourite above all: this clip from the Canucks Super Skills Competition in 2012, which featured a new era of ‘Kesbombing’ with Kesler’s son Ryker stealing Manny Malhotra’s spotlight.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) September 2, 2020
I can’t be the only one who wants ruthless teammate trash talk to return, can I? We saw how chirpy and silly the boys got during the line reads from Antoine Roussel & J.T. Miller during the Playoffs, so I hope to see more hilarious, cheeky banter in Canucks interviews next season.