British Columbia hockey fans will be the first to tell you that Vancouver Canucks' head coach Alain Vigneault only has two modes when he's standing behind the bench: bemusement and annoyance, and both modes are signaled by the same smirk. (It's just a matter of degrees.)
It was a surprise, then, to see Vigneault in total hysterics Sunday. Late in the first period of the Canucks' visit to play the Dallas Stars, cameras caught Vigneault cracking up so hard he had to cover his red, teary-eyed face with his lineup card while he attempted to compose himself.
Vigneault's lost it before -- most notably, when someone suggested former Canuck Kyle Wellwood was playing like a man possessed during a scrum -- but never at the bench during a game. What was so funny?
Did Vigneault catch a glimpse of this bewildering and oddly suggestive sign, that a fan had brought to the American Airlines Center?
No. According to Sportsnet's Dan Murphy, Stars' winger Vernon Fiddler does an angry Kevin Bieksa impression that Vigneault and Bieksa find irresistible.
Apparently AV laughing fit (as well as Bieksa breaking up) has to do with Vernon Fiddler doing a Kevin Bieksa "angry face" impression.
— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) February 26, 2012
Kudos to Fiddler for noticing that Bieksa's angry face is ripe for caricature. One wonders if his take is a spot-on, Bill Hader-esque impression, or an absurdly broad, Andy Samberg-esque impression. Sadly, at this time, there is no footage of the face that broke Vigneault. But we're on it.
The Canucks would take the lead in the second period, and they would continue to lead heading into the third period, a situation in which they were 26-0-0. However, the Stars managed to tie it up late before scoring the overtime winner to take the game, 3-2. Did Fiddler's impression throw the Canucks off their game? If so, he may have inadvertently stumbled onto a brand-new kind of agitating: comedy. It's better for the brain and the heart.
The age of the rat is over. Long live the age of the comedian!
In other news, the Buffalo Sabres have signed Jim Gaffigan to a one-year deal.