On the very day that 24/7 Flyers Rangers is set to debut, it's been the feud between the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks that has dominated the news cycle (much to the dismay of HBO, one assumes). One night after a radio interview surfaced in which Dave Bolland called the Sedins' "Sisters", seemingly everyone has chimed in, and I'm just talking about within the Canucks' locker room.
I should warn you that if you're expecting brilliantly quippy retorts, you should go elsewhere. Here's a top ten list of great literary insults. Did you know Virginia Woolf once called Ulysses "the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples"? I assure you nothing I'm about to report can touch that.
Let's start on the gentle end, as Mike Gillis had his say during an interview on Vancouver's Team 1040 radio station. From The Province:
It reminded [Gillis] of when he was traded to Boston, back when Stan Jonathan and Terry O'Reilly, among other toughies, played for the Big Bads.
"Harry Sinden said to me, the toughest player on our team is Jean Ratelle, because Jean Ratelle goes into the corner and gets the puck against anybody," Gillis said. "When I look at Daniel and Henrik, Jean Ratelle is a Hall of Fame player and one of the greatest people I ever met. They're the closest thing I've ever seen to a player like Jean Ratelle.
"If someone wants to take a shot at them after all they've accomplished, especially over the last three years, it rings hollow in my ears. I played on a line with Jean Ratelle, I know how good he was, and I don't think he had one five-minute major in 22 years. He was considered a great player and that's what these guys are."
Gillis makes a great point: anyone that would claim the Sedins are weak or effete hockey players need only look at their track record or their strength in the corners. These are guys that absorb the crosschecks of defenders in order to create separation along the boards.
Alain Vigneault was a little less gracious, moving away from personal reflection and towards personal attack. Again, from the Province, in an article brilliantly titled "Sister Act II":
When you have comments like Bolland's, he's obviously an individual whose IQ is probably the size of a birdseed. And he has a face that only a mother could look at."
"You're talking about two players who play with integrity, they play the right way, that are great examples of everything this game stands for," he said. "Then you have a birdseed like that making comments.
"Lucky his mother loves him."
So, to recap: Dave Bolland is dumb and ugly and his mother has poor taste in progeny.
Unfortunately, Vigneault stopped short of re-enacting the French castle scene from "Monty Python", which is a shame because I would have paid good money to hear him say, "I fart in your general direction."
By the way, intelligence quotient is a number, not a unit of mass. You can't have an IQ the size of a birdseed. That in mind, 'Birdseed' is a horrible nickname and I beg Canuck fans not to adopt it. But I digress.
Lucky for the Canucks, Kevin Bieksa, who can always be relied on for a good quote in times of need, stepped up the trash-talking game a little:
"I think if it weren't for the twins, I don't think anyone would hear about Dave Bolland. His matchup against them in the playoffs has put him on the map. If he doesn't want them on his team, he's crazy. It's probably because he'd be out of a roster spot."
But only just a little. He definitely didn't hoist this back-and-forth into the realm of Wildean wit, adding:
"I think he looks more like a girl than they do."
Sigh. The Canucks next play the Blackhawks in January, although one assumes we won't have to wait that long for the next stage of this feud to unfold.