September 03, 2010
It's been a frustrating hockey summer for several reasons; but the bright, shining distraction from it all was the Twitter rambling of Paul Bissonnnette of the Phoenix Coyotes.
An Ilya Kovalchuk joke gone wrong, after the Russian forward had his original contract with the New Jersey Devils rejected by the NHL, prompted Bissonnette to shut things down on his Twitter feed, which offered a steady diet of odd observations, edgy humor and photos of homeless men.
Some fans immediately began to blame the Coyotes for taking their beloved "BizNasty" away from them, but it turns out it was his agent who recommended that he step away from Twitter for a while.
That break lasted all of one month as Bissonnette made his long-awaited return to Twitter by announcing his newfound love for A&E's "Hoarders" television show and his adventures in buying a washer and dryer to relieve those duties from his mother. His new handle: @BizNasty2point0
We spoke with BizNasty, a former Pittsburgh Penguins winger, on Thursday night just as he was sitting down to dinner with teammate Scotty Upshall.
Q. What made you come back to Twitter after your unexpected exit last time around?
BISSONNETTE: My agent thought it'd be a good idea if I shut it down. I think he got scared with the Kovalchuk comment and didn't want any bad publicity. It was all in good fun and I think everyone who was following it took it that way. He didn't want the League to get mad and fine me or suspend me for games because that's the last thing he'd want.
And then I talked to [Phoenix Coyotes PR man] Sergey ... he called me out of the blue and was like, "Hey, have you been telling people that we had to shut down your Twitter?" and I'm like, "No, I didn't say anything." They got a couple of emails about it, but they never told me to it.
Did the Coyotes or your agent give any restrictions for BizNasty 2.0?
I haven't told my agent. I don't know if he knows yet and I'm just waiting for the day I get a phone call from him. He doesn't usually call me unless there's contract negotiations, but I don't have those for another two years so I don't hear from the guy; so when I see his name pop up in my phone usually it's not good. It's usually I owe them money or [it's] about Twitter.
You announced your comeback plans last weekend on Facebook, but started a few days earlier than planned. How bad were you jonesin' to get going again?
My buddies were the ones that were like, "Man you gotta get back on it", so I pulled the trigger a little early, but it was good timing because there was a few funny things that happened before I left that were Twittable. (Ed. note: Like his battle with a baby and the date for which he used his father's mini van.)
Have you tried to get any of your Coyotes teammates to get on Twitter?
No, because we have married guys like [Shane] Doan ... they have kids and are so busy, so that's the last thing they'd care about. I've mentioned it in the locker room and they just kinda laugh, but the younger guys like Uppy (Scott Upshall) is a great Twitterer. Joffrey Lupul. Commie (Mike Commodore(notes)) is really into it.
(We took a short break as BizNasty ordered a dinner of tilapia with a side of penne.)
When you first joined Twitter, did you expect the reception you've gotten?
No, I didn't expect it. It's kinda cool. As long as you make someone laugh that's a pretty cool feeling, eh?
One of the popular aspects of your Twittering is your fascination with the homeless. Where did that come from?
I like it when they go above and beyond and have a fun sign and I'll obviously Tweet about it and always give them money or I usually try and buy them food -- that's the main thing -- so they don't go buy booze, but sometimes they're on the side of the highway.
If I sell 1000 shirts of the "Feed the Homeless" campaign, I'll get a tattoo of a bum on me.
Of a specific bum? Like one you've taken a photo of and Tweeted out?
No, your basic classic bum with a stick and probably smoking a cigarette.
Right now we're waiting until Don Maloney gets back to talk to and hopefully selling it in the team store, which would be huge. If not, maybe on the website and sell it outside the stadium before games.
Other promoting the "Feed the Homeless" campaign, do you have any plans for your Twitter use during the upcoming season?
I'm gonna try and think of some new ideas and obviously the homeless thing. And hopefully get something else that people will embrace that will be a regular thing, like, say, "This week's edition of: The Homeless Guy" and put a picture of the "Homeless Guy of the Week" and find something new.
Because, obviously, everything gets old.