Welcome Matt: What was the real reason behind Horvat's Canucks-shade?
Lots to unpack with Bo Horvat’s comments on the weekend, but two things remain the same.
One, the Canucks failed Bo Horvat more than Bo Horvat failed the Canucks.
And two, Horvat is in a real live playoff chase this month, and the Canucks haven’t been since the pandemic season of 2019-20, or even his rookie season of 2014-15.
He was asked about the crowd and atmosphere at UBS Arena with the Islanders battling the Penguins and Panthers for the Eastern Conference wild cards, and responded: “A lot better than Vancouver, I’ll tell you that for free.”
The first part was so not the Bo we know, and true to brand, he walked back those comments the next day.
The second part — “I’ll tell you that for free” — was an old-timey expression from the old soul that we came to know.
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Look, I don’t believe for a second that Horvat’s emotions got the best of him. He was a most calculating speaker as Canucks captain, so I think he intended to throw shade, at the very least towards Canucks ownership and management that failed to surround him with the talent and professionalism needed to make the playoffs.
Whether that extends to the quietness of Rogers Arena or Canucks fans who have treated him as a piñata since the January 30 trade with New York, only Bo knows.
It’s clear though, as one of the Islanders broadcasters noted, that Horvat is wise enough to politick with his new constituency, especially after just 16 points in 29 games since switching teams. That eight-year contract needs to age better than this first half-season, nobody would understand the pressure of playing before an expectant public better than Horvat.
Beyond that, hockey needs these dramas. We have seen that from sports that have risen in the last 5-10 years, like the NBA and Formula One, where the clashing of players, personalities and rivalries have led to greater interest.
Too bad he tried to take the comments back, but in some cases this genie is out of the bottle. He’ll hear about it next season when the Islanders visit Vancouver.