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(Frank Franklin II)
(Frank Franklin II)

Usual Suspects

Healy heated over Vancouver's green guys Add to ...

We interrupt this playoff season to ask the musical question, "Why is the CBC's Glenn Healy so mad about Vancouver's green men?" On Canada's west coast, at least, fans of the Canucks have paused from their masochistic mambo with the 'Nucks to wonder why the Hockey Night In Canada analyst got so steamed up on Saturday's show about the lads in their unitard splendour.

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Paraphrasing, Healy used HNIC's Hot Stove segment to opine, "You should not be able to stick your crotch in another man's face. Especially wearing a stretchy material." When colleague Eric Francs attempted to debate, Healy issued an unflattering comparison between the green men's costume and Francis's three-piece suit. In doing so, the wearing of the green by the Vancouver lads in their daddy's posh seats became an issue of vital international importance on ESPN's Pardon The Interruption and Around The Horn.

Tuesday night, HNIC's Scott Oake breathed more life into UnitardGate, interviewing the pair in their green glory in Nashville. They offered a third suit to Healy, an offer declined by Healy who pointed out that it was the Predators, not him, that had complained about them.

The unitard unrest led to the general question, why is Healy always so steamed? "Because he's pretty angry for a guy who watches hockey for a living" noted the Kurtenblog in the Vancouver Province. The Vancouver Sun issued 20 reasons why Glenn Healy hates the green men. Twitterdom... you don't want to know.

Reached in Nashville before Tuesday's Game 3, Angry Man Healy was serene. "If that's my title, I'm comfortable with it," he laughed. "They don't know the real me. (Healy plays bagpipes.) If you asked the fans here (in Nashville) they'd agree with the 'angry man' that it's not appropriate to stick your crotch in another man's face. If you did that in Toronto they'd escort you from the building."

Which might be the left-coast's point. They're happy to not be Toronto. (Judging from the election results they have company.) It's just you'd think they'd rather make that point using Steve Nash or Elizabeth May than the green guys. But to each his own performance artist.

Nashville Cats: Healy says that the arrival of the green guys is being drowned out in Nashville by the onslaught of the hockey circus. "It's totally different here from anything in Canada. People are delighted we're here, they say, 'Thanks for coming.' The dressing room door stays open, and they're asking, 'How much longer do you need?' They haven't ever seen media scrums like this, ever. The Canadian media, French reporters, they can't believe it."

Predators TV voice Pete Weber -- Torontonians might have known him from broadcasting the Buffalo Bisons baseball on WGR 550 -- says the team is finally reaching critical mass since eliminating Anaheim. "I go to the grocery store now and people are coming up and saying, 'Congratulations' and 'Good luck'. It used to be no one knew who we were."

Hurt Feelings: Apparently the NHL has a rule now that if you embarrass the referee by staring at him he doesn't have to call a penalty shot. According to Coach's Corner, referees are more concerned with their hurt feelings than the rule book. Don Cherry noted on Tuesday that Dan O'Rourke did not call a penalty shot because Washington's Alex Ovechkin embarrassed him by looking to him after he'd been hauled down on a breakaway. "You can't do that. You keep your mouth shut," said Cherry. Well, glad we have that cleared up. The sad thing is that Cherry's probably right.

Loud And Proud: After the Osama bin Laden hit on Sunday, there has been an outpouring of American pride and, yes, revenge. Monday, national-anthem cognoscenti made a point of catching two of the more prominent purveyors of the anthem trade. In Philadelphia, Lauren Hart synchs a version of God Bless America to a tape of the late Kate Smith before Flyers games. Perhaps the audio from the broadcast was down, but Hart's rendition was respectful though hardly transcendent.

In Chicago, however, Blackhawks boomer Jim Cornelison scorched the paint off the United Center before the Bulls/Hawks NBA game. Cornelison admitted beforehand that he was perhaps more nervous for this performance than any other. While his pitch was a little off, Cornelison's 747-like decibels matched the mood of Chicagoans, whose homeboy Barack Obama authorized the bin Laden assassination. The scene left TBS analyst Kenny Smith wiping tears away when he came back on camera.

Tuesday, Miami Heat eschewed a singer and let the crowd do a "fanthem" by themselves. Fashionable Miami crowds are usually so late arriving that many worried the tribute would be drowned out by a chorus of "Is this my seat?" But in some ways it might have been the nicest version as fans, players and referees sang from their hearts in honour of their country and the Navy SEAL team that executed the mission.

Tampa fans wish. There, a nervous young sailor did his tribute to Carl Lewis, torturing the anthem before Tuesday's Lightning/Caps game. Don't call us, seaman...

Dan's The Man: Good work by TSN getting ESPN baseball announcer Dan Shulman into studio Monday for a debrief with Rod Smith. Shulman had the responsibility of breaking the bin Laden story live during the Phillies/ Mets game -- the first time many heard the news. The pictures of the crowd learning via cell phones and then the scoreboard produced compelling TV.

For some, it summoned images of Howard Cosell announcing the killing of John Lennon on Monday Night Football in 1980. Shulman was getting rumours of the military action against the architect of 9/11 but could not announce the news till ABC (ESPN's sister company) confirmed the death. It made for some uncomfortable moments before he could pass on the news, admitted Shulman.

"I remember where I was on 9/11, and I'm sure I'll always remember how I heard this news (on Sunday night)," he told Smith. As word spread, the game became secondary. "It was like sitting at an Olympic hockey game and they're cheering 'USA USA' the whole time."

Hungry Like Wolf: Finally, Osama bin Laden apparently came between a noted news anchor and his beloved Washington Capitals. Talking about how he got the sensational news on Sunday, CNN's Wolf Blitzer revealed he was waiting for the Caps and Lightning to go to overtime when the call came in that justice had finally caught up with bin Laden.

"With a minute to go in the third period, (Capitals captain Alexander) Ovechkin scores a goal, ties it up. It was very, very exciting. Sam Feist, our political director and senior executive producer, calls me up and says, "How long would it take you to get to the bureau?" And I said, "Not long." He said, "Hurry!" Sadly, Blitzer's Caps lost in OT.

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