After he lit a fire under all of Vancouver sports media this week with his comments about how the negativity of the city’s media and fans was having an impact on the Vancouver Canucks’ management team, Elliotte Friedman reiterated those thoughts on his podcast 31 Thoughts.
“I do think it takes its toll on the people who work there and play there, because they’ve all told me it does,” said Friedman on the pod. He also said that he thinks Vancouver is the second "edgiest" market in the league, after Montreal.
Friedman and co-host Jeff Marek went on to label the city’s fans as having an “us versus them” mentality not found in any other city around the league.
Many media outlets have tackled Friedman’s original comments, and the most probing of those have suggested that the network he works for (which has a relationship with many teams around the league, including the Canucks) had a hand in him saying what he said.
It’s hard to tell, as the impression from this corner is that Friedman has long been a fair judge of all things puck, using his influence to educate at all times. He’s even said on the air that he has a problem with calling out players for being out of shape due to his own figure. A mean dude, he certainly is not.
But is Friedman trying to project his nice guy way of doing things on to everyone else?
The idea that Canucks fans or media should tone it down because they ought be worried about adversely affecting management through their words or tweets is asinine.
The Canucks have been bad (like, bottom of the barrel bad) for three years in a row now. The fan base is rightfully upset. The media is correct to point out lapses in judgment, because they are being proved right by every move the team makes.
It’s quite obvious that the media has also given the Canucks praise where it has been due. Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, Troy Stecher. Ben Hutton. Some moments of Jake Virtanen. The Leipsic trade looks like a winner, but of course it’s been one game.
But come on. If you're going to be in charge of a multi-million dollar franchise that so many people care about in a hockey-obsessed city that's never won a Stanley Cup, you have to be prepared. Expecting fans to be nicer because it might hurt the egos of management is a hilarious thing to suggest.
(Sidebar: If there’s one area where there’s been a bit of a lapse in media coverage of the team’s recent successes, it’s with Horvat’s contract. He looks like a number one centre, and having him locked up at $5.5 million for six years is a major win, especially with the cap about to go up.There are arguments out there that it wasn’t a great deal, simply because you should never sign a player for what he may become, but that’s an issue for another day, and one that seems impossible to attempt with a majority of the NHL’s agents.)
The other part of this, Friedman and Marek’s comments, which hit airwaves today, were positioning Vancouver as a city with an "everybody against us” mentality.