Bo Horvat’s new trash-talking ways appear to be short-lived, as the former Canucks captain apologized to fans in Vancouver today.
Now a member of the New York Islanders, a team that’s in a playoff race in the final week of the NHL’s regular season, Horvat drew the ire of a number of Canucks fans for his comments on Saturday night.
Following a huge 4-0 win by the Islanders on home ice, in a game where Horvat picked up two assists, the former Canuck threw some shade at his former team and their fans.
Asked by a reporter at ice level where this experience ranked for him, in terms of playoff pushes and excitement from the home fans, Horvat didn’t pull any punches. In fact, he even threw a little jab.
“Yeah, I mean it’s been unbelievable,” Horvat said. “It’s a lot better than Vancouver; I’ll tell you that for free.”
That comment wasn’t well received with a big portion of the Canucks fan base.
Horvat felt the blowback, and on Monday he apologized.
“I wasn’t obviously expecting that. It was kind of a heat of the moment thing. I didn’t mean any disrespect to the fans of Vancouver or my teammates or the city of Vancouver at all. It wasn’t directed at them at all,” Horvat told reporters.
“The [Islanders] fans were all excited, and I was excited to be in a playoff push. It was just kind of one of those things where my emotions got the best of me. I was just really happy to be there, to be honest with you. It might have come out the wrong way to a lot of people, so I apologize for that. I’m just excited to be in this position right now, to be in a playoff push, to be right there.
“I really enjoyed my time in Vancouver; I’m not trying to disrespect them at all.
“I’m sorry if it offended anybody, but I’m really happy to be in this position right now. I’m really happy to be here, and I just wanted to express that.”
🎥 Horvat Pregame Availability 🎥 pic.twitter.com/Syt1Y5uHY3
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 10, 2023
The Islanders are one of three teams chasing down the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. New York and Florida are both currently above the playoff bar, tied with 91 points. The Pittsburgh Penguins are hot on their heels, just one point back of both teams.
It’s a situation that’s foreign to Horvat, given how much losing the Canucks did during his nine-year run in Vancouver. The Canucks made the playoffs in his rookie season in 2015, and again in 2020. The late-season playoff push was interrupted by the pandemic in 2020 though, with the Canucks clinching a spot in the 16-team Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win in an empty arena in Edmonton.
Horvat’s offensive production has slowed with the Islanders, as he has picked up just 15 points (7-8-15) in 28 games. But he’s been hot of late, scoring four points in his last two games.
The Islanders play tonight in Washington and back at home on Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens. If they win both games, they’ll book their ticket to the playoffs.
As for Horvat’s former team, the Canucks have three games left in their season: tonight in Los Angeles, tomorrow in Anaheim, and Thursday in Arizona. Vancouver will miss the playoffs for the third year in a row, and the seventh time in eight seasons.
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