Chicago Blackhawks v Vancouver Canucks

Last night the current Best Rivalry in Hockey resumed, as the Vancouver Canucks hosted the Chicago Blackhawks and promptly beat them into submission by a score of 3-1, the Blackhawks goal coming with nine minutes left in the third and the game likely out of reach. Understandably, the Blackhawks were frustrated.

Mild evidence of such can be found on the goal below, the Canucks third, where Daniel Sedin sensed the offensively over-eager d-pairing of Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson were pressing in, flew zone right as the Canucks gained possession, then scored a beauty on a breakaway with Duncan Keith chasing, and eventually, slashing him in the hip area. Check it out:

Karen Thomson, a reporter for Vancouver’s Team 1040, thought the slash a bit excessive, and decided to confront a frustrated Keith about it in her post-game interview. (An odd choice of an issue to take up, really – when a guy is in clean on your goalie, you want to give him a whack or a push, ideally on the hands as he shoots, to disrupt him. That’s a defensive desperation attempt than pretty much any pro defenseman would tell you they use. Again, a touch excessive at most, but note that no players took issue with it.)

Anyway, Keith, coming off a loss against a rival that saw him play over 27 minutes against seriously tough competition, didn’t care for how the interview went:

Keith: “What did you see?”

Thomson: “Well, there it looked like there was a penalty that went undetected. You seemed a bit frustrated.”

Keith: “Oh, no. I don’t think there was. I think he scored a nice goal, and that’s what the ref saw. Maybe we should get you as a ref maybe, hey?

Thomson: “Yeah, maybe. Can’t skate though.”

Keith: “First female- first female referee. Can’t probably play either, right? But you’re thinking the game, like you know it? See ya.”

Not good, Duncs. That said: listen to the audio. It doesn’t make Keith come off as a good guy – that’s some dumb s**t to say right thurr – but the context is helpful.

It’s a poorly thought out remark from a guy who doesn’t say too many deeply thought out things. When hockey players – hell, athletes – feel cornered, they tend to fire back with whatever’s easiest, which is half the reason homophobic slurs used to get tossed out so much. When there was no obvious thing to chirp a guy about (“Getzlaf is bald!” “Byfuglien is fat!”) that was the universal default (fortunately, big strides have been made in this department). That doesn’t make any of that okay, I’m explaining what happens on the ice in post-whistle scrums and the like. Players do their best to tidy it up in public, but the fact is that hockey players are not getting smarter, and they’re still going to go for the obvious thing when they’re worked up.

The problem, of course, is with putting gender (or sexual orientation) out there as a negative like you would, say, being an overweight athlete. Which it obviously isn’t, which is why Keith is an asshat for implying that.

I don’t think Duncan Keith is sexist. I think he was irritated and too lazy to search for some better way to fire back at a reporter that pissed him off about a play that, like him, I don’t think was all that awful. He went to both of the easy defaults – “here’s why you’re slightly different from your average person in this environment, oh and also you never played the game.” I think he just wanted to fire back and end a conversation.

If anything, this interview was probably a good thing for Karen Thompson. She held her own and she knows it…

…and she comes out looking like a pro.

I want everyone in sports to have equal opportunities to succeed, but I’m finding it hard to feel like Thomson was limited or minimized in any way. If anything, I’m sure she’s exasperated at having to deal with crap like this for another day in that line of work. It can’t be fun. But, she had a great sense of humour about it, and appears to have moved on. We probably should too, hockey fans.

Comments (79)

  1. As a Blackhawks fan I agree that Dunc’s comments were dumb. Shouldn’t have brought up gender and the “did you play the game?” question is cliche. Agreed that he was tired, frustrated, and had a rival teams reporter goading him about a meager play that didn’t change the games outcome. She knew what she was doing in pressing him on the issue and wanted a response like that. So part of me also has a hard time feeling sorry for her.

    But, again, sexist, racist, and homophobic remarks have no place in todays society and shouldn’t be brought up no matter how tired and frustrated you are`.

  2. Whole squad is smug? You sound mad.

    And I really hope you think a Blackhawk is a bird…because that’s just awesome.

  3. Terribly written article. While the comments by Keith weren’t well constructed, be a fucking professional in writing about it. You calling him an asshat based on his comments shows a lack of professional writing ability.

  4. “So you’re an expert?”

    • Hahaha, I still adore that line. Haven’t been able to pull it out of storage since Sutton hasn’t been in the news.

  5. Being an athlete I can see where he is coming from. Sure he shouldn’t have brought gender inequality into the matter, but he did ask her if she played the game. Which in his defence argues that he was just proving a point if you don’t play a sport, don’t remark on it. She also did try to aggravate him and was looking for a poor response to start talk, being a reporter for the rival team and all. It wouldn’t surprise me if they told her to question him to make the Blackhawk team look uneducated and short tempered. Either way it’s done and over with.

    • if you can only comment or report on games if you’ve played hockey, that discredits many established reporters and pretty much every arm-chair GM/reporter (including everyone on here) out there. Having played the game doesn’t make you inherently better at reporting.

  6. “They must not watch very much east hockey, the Penguins could very well sweep them in 4 at the finals.”

    Are you retarded? Incase you haven’t noticed, the Blackhawks hold the best record in the league and went on a record breaking streak earlier in the year. Now just because the Pens made some significant acquisitions does not mean they will “sweep them in 4 at the finals”. You obviously haven’t watched any WEST hockey. The Hawks posess one of the deadliest 1-2 line combinations in the league, paired with the fact that they have great depth behind those lines. Yeah the Nucks won, they needed to win their division last night. Hawks bin derr, done dat. Motivation was clearly an issue for a team that is already looking ahead to playing their first round matchup.

    Figure it out.

    • ahem, best record in the west. this west v west and east v east tells us nothing about potential finals dynamics. hawks may match up against the pens, though not good enough to beat them methinks. however its a moot point because they won’t make it out of the west. toooo sooooft!

    • “The Hawks posess one of the deadliest 1-2 line combinations in the league, paired with the fact that they have great depth behind those lines.”

      True. Too bad the Penguins possess THE deadliest 1-2 line combinations in the league, paired with the fact that they have THE BEST depth behind those lines.

      The Pens are a top 3 team even without Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Letang, and Fleury. That’s a Conn-Smythe, 2 Harts, 3 Art Rosses I think, a Rocket, a Vezina, perennial Norris nominee, and a 40-goal scorer thrown in there (all currently in their prime)

      • If you’re going to make an argument for the Hawks over the Pens, you’d better talk about speed and defensive depth. Also, I would say that Toews plays better defensively than Crosby (who’s no slouch , at all) and that mindset goes down to the rest of the team

  7. I understand the need to comment on something like this, but please do research before you report. Your article is completely irrelevant after you made the comment “Daniel Sedin sensed the offensively over-eager d-pairing of Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson were pressing in.” Neither of those defenseman are offensive, in fact, they are typically stay at home defenseman. Maybe you didn’t think the sentence read like that, but a hockey player will look the sentence and think that you are claiming that both of them are offensive defenseman. Possibly reword that sentence and start again? It would make sense if you said that Keith and Hjalmarsson were caught pinching, but calling them an “offensively over-eager d-pairing” is just bad reporting.

    • The d-men were offensively over-eager. They’re pressing in, which is why they get caught. That’s how the goal happens. And while I’m being annoyed, “do some research?” Duncan Keith was a point shy of 70 a few years ago. Not offensive though. Noted.

      • Both of them rarely get caught in a bad pinch though, which is why I was annoyed with the article. Keith gets a large chunk of his points from the point, in which most of them are a direct pass or an assist off a shot. Every once and a while you’ll see him drop below the circle, but I would not group him in the offensive-defenseman category. Hjalmarsson rarely makes a pinch like that. I get what you’re trying to say, but it doesn’t come off right in the article.

        • Joe – Do you watch Blackhawk games regularly? Keith often pinches and comes low to keep a puck in play. He is just so fast that he usually doesn’t get caught even if he gets beat while down low.

          • Been watching them for 20 years or so now. Play around with the status of Keith all you want, but Hjalmarsson is hardly offensive. Keith really has his own style of play because of his speed, he can be offensive when he needs to be, but is usually at home when plays like this occur. But now that I know the intentions of the sentence, my argument is no longer valid.

      • Never piss off a Hawks fan apparently.

        Yes, they were over eager b/c they were behind 2-0 late in the 2nd period, and decided that scoring a late goal to make it 2-1, and gaining momentum back, was worth taking chances for.

        • If you asked for my honest opinion, I don’t think the Hawks are going to win a cup this year. Have you seen their powerplay? It’s the same thing that killed them in the series against the Coyotes last year. Both of our tenders have good stats, but those stats aren’t an accurate reflection of their talent. So we have to deal with potential flaws in our goal tending in the post season. Yes, there’s plenty of snobby Hawks fans, but most of the “real” fans just love and appreciate hockey as a sport.

    • If they wern’t over eager offensively why did they get caught up ice? Sure they aren’t the most offensive dmen but with there team down 2-0 they were pushing the offence (and obviously eager doing it evidenced by the clean breakaway goal.) You could make comments based on reputation or you could accually watch the game.

      • I’m not debating the play, I’m debating the wording at this point. You read it, and if you don’t follow the Blackhawks, you assume that Keith and Hjalmarsson are an offesnsively-eager defensive pairing. The adjectives used provide a generalization to the normal play of both players, unintentionally it seems. If it was worded as “Sedin sensed that Keith and Hjalmarsson were being offensively eager and capitalized on the opportunity?” My apologies for being so picky and taking this further than it needs to.

    • How, exactly, does calling the Keith/Hjalmarsson pairing offensively over eager make ANY of the article irrelevant? You’re quibbling over a description of how two guys play their positions. It has almost nothing to do with the topic of the article, but was added only as coloring in order to describe the events leading up to topic of discussion. If no mention had been made at all about either of their play in the offensive zone, the article would still be… completely relevant.

      Maybe you’d like to calm down a touch and stop being such an asshat.

  8. “Have you ever seen a more punchable face then Toews?”

    Yes. Burrows, Lapierre and Bieksa come to mind. Toews’ face isn’t punchable at all.

    • Personally, I think Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton have punchable faces

    • Toews just looks like a guy trying to hard to look like he is focused all the time. But yeah I think he has a punchable face, so does Keith. They all disappeared under the onslaught of Lappy and the boys last night, only to resurface at times swinging sticks and looking sad.

  9. As a female athlete and huge sports fan, I believe this so called ‘controversy’ is absolutely absurd. There is nothing sexist about making a claim that if someone has not played a sport they don’t understand it… I would make that statement to a male or female who never played the game and has the audacity to believe they have even the slightest understanding of the mental aspect that is involved.

    • finally someone making sense

    • unfortunately duncan keith doesn’t understand the mental aspect of dealing with the media, whether it was a fair response or not there is still etiquette to be used when dealing with press and media, but hey what do I know i only work in PR

    • It’s not the “never played the game” comment that makes this sexist. It’s the fact that he decided to bring up her being a female, as if that limits her ability to understand hockey. If he had stuck with the never played the game comment and left out the fact that she’s a women, which is obvious to everyone but has no bearing on her ability to understand things, then this wouldn’t have been an issue.

  10. “And thats even if they get past the Canucks, which they cant seem to do.”

    You mean, besides that time they did and won the Stanley Cup…right?

    • ^Win

      Not to mention in the same year they swept your unachieving/same-thing-every-year Sharks.

      Congratulations, your team is the equivalent of the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA.

    • hawks were a different team 3 years ago. they are soft soft soft now and will not make it past St. Louis, LA, or apparently Vancouver.

      even a female referee can pick up on that,

  11. The audio is a lot more telling. The reporter was trying to create a story about a standard hockey play, interrupting him, and generally being a troll. Granted, Keith shouldn’t have fallen for it, but the line of questioning wasn’t right.

    What I really want is I want this lady to interview Torts.

  12. Female, gay Hawks fan, which means I’m obviously an expert on everything this post is about.

    While it’s commendable that Karen Thompson is unruffled by the exchange (and why shouldn’t she be–she must have had much worse slung at her in her line of business, this time she lucked out and it’s on a publishable tape), it stops being just about her once Good Canadian Boy Duncan Keith makes the conversation explicitly gendered. Now it’s suddenly about all women! Good move, Duncs.

    Whether he’s a sexist douchebag in his heart of hearts is irrelevant; whether he knows he should control what sexist claptrap comes out of his mouth while he’s working is relevant.

    I just want a reaction by him AND/OR the team that tells me they know and understand that this bullshit is not how things are done in a 2013 league that wants to, I don’t know, welcome the female of the species to spend money.

    Good opportunity for some public discourse, too. And maybe a really awkward PSA clip starring Duncan Keith Trying To Be Earnest.

  13. Who gives a shit, we pay him to play hockey, not public speak.

  14. I appreciate that most people are acknowledging that Keith’s comments are out of line, but could we please get rid of the “So and so isn’t a _____, even though he obviously said something that IS ______”? (Fill in whatever -ism you like in the blanks.)

    None of us KNOW if Duncan Keith is a constant sexist jerk in real life, and whether he is or not is actually irrelevant to the discussion. All we know is that last night he said something that WAS sexist and out of line to a female reporter, end of. We can condemn that without having to add the lame defense of “but I’m sure he’s not sexist!”

    • What we do know is that Duncan Keith hates the Canucks (especially the Sedins) and really, really, hates losing to them.

      Therefore, it’s probably not a good idea to try to troll him under those worst of circumstances. If that was a man who asked those questions, things might have really escalated.

      • So, what, she should be glad that instead of throwing out a sexist comment, Keith didn’t try and physically intimidate her in any way? How does that make any sense?

        I’m sure Keith was upset by losing to the Canucks. He’s still a professional athlete, and if he wants to troll someone, fine. Bringing gender into the equation makes it a sexist comment. End of.

  15. As a female I didn’t have a problem with his comments at all. He says first female ref simply because there aren’t any and the reporter is a woman. Then asks if she has played- as the article points out his “slash” is what any defenseman would do and since she never played she apparently doesn’t get that. It was a pretty tame conversation and honestly I’m more annoyed with her walking into a locker room and playing a guessing game like that. Be professional.

    • I agree. But let me first put this out there, I’m a Canucks fan and female.

      There’s a good article from the Toronto Star about this today. It basically points out that this is pretty normal locker room rudeness from players towards media. Actually offensive (to me anyways) is the other case that repolaer talks about – a female reporter interviewing a member of the Celtics while a team simualtes a penis behind her. That crosses the line, to me anyways.

  16. why don’t you post the entire exchange as it paints a pretty clear picture of the interviewer. As it stands, you have only posted the information that the Vancouver radio station published. YA KNOW WHY? Because their reporter was being a fucking moron in asking what she did. which led to this and led to HER bringing up the refs no-call.

    Ridiculous line of questions going after a nothing slash you see in every game, every night. Keith didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. Then she brought the refs into it.

    Update your post with the full exchange. You’re making this dumber than it has to be.

  17. This is an embarrassing article, not sure how people who work for the media live with themselves sometimes. Always diggin for dirt. Go write a book for kids or something you goofball.

  18. must be a slow day, if tortz would have said this itd be filed under standard. this and the seguin tweet should be filed under things every one says or thinks. move on and report on actual hockey systems, teams, predictions, not what they said to some nobody radio personality.

  19. Once again a Chicago Blackhawk comes out and says a comment that is un-professional, cowardly, sexist, arrogant, cruel and deserves discipline from the NHL office. It seems that Duncan Keith’s mother needs to slap her son and teach him some manners in talking to women. I have heard rude and stupid comments before from Blackhawks, recently Carcillo said dumb garbage about hurting Canuck hockey players. Obviously the Management for the Blackhawks needs to have a talk to their players and make them understand that these rude and Pathetic comments will not be tolerated. Duncan Keith should also have to go to a Womens shelter or something and do some community service for a week and maybe learn some respect for women, of which without them all of us men wouldnt be here alive!!! And good for Karen for staying strong and poised in the face of a sexist sack of arrogant garbage like Keith was being. Next time if I was her I would flat out slap the shit outta him bigtime and tell him to shut his rude mouth.

    • Sorry, but Duncan Keith is fully qualified to play in the NHL and although post game comments from players are judged by everyone it doesn’t ultimately matter worth a shit when it comes down to signing his next contract. I dont care if she is man, woman or otherwise, this Karen is supposed to report on hockey and proves she is not qualified to do so with the dumbest question I’ve heard asked in a post game interview in a long while. The fact she can’t skate/play makes you tend to think she is just not knowledgeable, but even if she were and this was meant to antagonize a guy who just finished a game she is not being proffesional either. She is kind of like the Canucks and their fans tend to be, start shit and then turtle when someone brings them to task and run and tell everyone about it. I have never been more disgusted by a sports franchise as a whole and if you ran this story without the team or player names I would bet the reporter was from Vancouver. It’s disturbing that such an unknowlegeable fan base exists, supporting a Canadian franchise. WE LIVE IN CANADA… PLENTY OF PEOPLE TO REPORT ON THE NHL WHO KNOW ABOUT HOCKEY.

    • Thomson displayed an incredible lack of journalistic professionalism. If she worked for an editor with any kind of standards she’d be catching shit for conducting an interview in a manner that could only be described as trolling. Sadly that seems to be acceptable for far too many publications.

  20. This guy just sounds like a total bucket, doesn’t sound like he watches any hockey at all. Either conference

  21. One thing people here are forgetting is that the rivalry between the Canucks and the Blackhawks doesnt end with the game or the players, its also between the cities media and of course the fans! Obviously the Vancouver media is going to be Bias and the Chicago media is im sure printing their Bias opinions also! Bottom line Duncan Keith said a stupid comment and the local media person Karen Thomson asked a fairly silly question. BUT Keith should know that his comments will be printed and he shouldve retracted immediately. Keith is a really good and solid pro defenseman and any comments about his hockey ability or how he played last night is a joke. The Only issue here is a stupid answer to a silly question, period.

  22. Not a good look for Keith, but pretty garbage reporting from Thomson at the same time.

    The only fan base, and media, and organization, in the entire league that feels the need to cry about every single thing that ever happens to them. The victim complex in Vancouver is so incredibly strong that they freak out about finishing anything but first in a “world’s greatest places to live” survey.

    A talented team with a loser fan base, I can’t wait to watch them crash out yet again, hopefully they manage to keep their rioting tendencies under wrap this time.

    • Did you read my post? I don’t have an issue with the team on the ice outside of Burrows and Kesler, and actually have tremendous respect for the Sedins. My issue is with the fan base (including the media) and the greater organization. A bunch of whiny victim complex losers.

    • I whole heartedly agree, and I’m a Vancouverite.

  23. I think Keith’s joke about the first female referee and the comment about not having played the game ran together in his mouth but not his mind.

  24. Title should be “Assessing a heated response to some dumb stuff someone who shouldn’t be reporting on hockey said”

  25. Mountain out a molehill

    arent they’re better stories in the NHL ATM???

  26. I completely understand being annoyed at stupid media questions. I’m often impressed by the fact that more athletes don’t just blow up at the inanity of it all. We laugh at hockey players especially for their standard cliche responses, but they obviously have that drilled into them for a reason, which is to prevent them from saying anything stupid. Or interesting, but that’s a subject for another day.

    I also get the “you didn’t play the game so shut up” reaction to dumb questions, or questions designed to goad a player into an unwise response.

    But as someone who is so, so sick of the worst insult both fans and media can think of being a comparison to playing like a girl, Duncs annoyed the crap out of me last night.

    You don’t like fighting in hockey? Might as well play in skirts! Cindy Crosby. The Sedin Sisters. You play like a girl. Like any one of the people who say that shit could hold their own on a women’s professional or college or even high school hockey team.

    Gendered insults show a lack of thought at the very least and are completely lazy. I get Duncs was frustrated last night, but if he had just left out the word “female,” no one would give it a second thought.

  27. This was kinda stupid for sure.

    Stupid, but hilarious. Seriously hilarious.

  28. Post about Team X loss on BHS = 10 comments
    Post about sexism controversy on BHS = eleventy billion!

  29. she a dumb bitch

  30. Funny thing, Keith only has 2 more hits this season than Karen Thompson. He also looked quite feminine after he elbowed Sedin and turtled and ran for the rest of that game. So, I guess he speaks from experience when he discusses estrogen levels.

    • I’m guessing from these statements you pull for Vancouver which makes you a hypocrite as well. Waah waah waah… poor canucks, we got elbowed… wah wah… should have been at penalty/suspension… but we are tough it’s the other teams that are spineless.

  31. Justin, I take exception to your 3rd to last sentence.

    “If anything, I’m sure she’s exasperated at having to deal with crap like this for another day in that line of work”.

    In particular, your use of the word “exasperated”. Exasperated implies that she was infuriated. Please do your research as clearly she is only mildly irritated, and at times, amused. Your use of the word exasperated makes the whole article irrelevant. This is shoddy journalism.

    • She must have been “exasperated” to ask such a dumb question that is so clearly aimed to aggravate a player right after a hockey game. To come across as such a homer in her line of work, you would almost hope she was “infuriated”, as opposed to her being of an even state of mind and thinking that to be an acceptable practice. I think the fact this was initiated by her proves she was in fact, “exasperated”
      I don’t always agree with Justin, but god damn it I respect him and would rather read his take on the NHL than anyone else.
      So Helvetica, I take exception to your whole comment. No im not font of it at all. I’ve always been more of a Times New Roman guy anyways.

  32. Justin, seriously, can you police these comments just a little bit? Could you at least do something about the continued use of the word “bitch,” and especially the one that reads “this bitch should be slapped in the face”?

    You’re really going to let that stand?

  33. I’m a lifelong Hawks fan and this isn’t even the worse thing a Hawks D-man has said. For Cripes sake in the 90′s you had the captain threatening Betman’s life.

    I’m pretty sure older fans can come up with even worse Hawks player’s statements off the top of their heads.

  34. Keith is an asshat. He tries to two hand a guy that beat him to the outside. The same guy he concussed last year before the playoffs with a vicious and deliberate elbow. He wasn’t trying to stop a scoring chance, he was trying to injure another player. Luckily this time he was unsuccessful.

    When asked about the play he makes inane comments that were both sexist and dismissive rather than be a man and say he lost his cool.

    Dude needs some therapy, seriously.

  35. Another stupid question asked by the media. Maybe the truth hurts. Did she ask everyone in the room including the canucks side if they should of been called for a penalty? The Canucks are as cheap as they come. Did you see Kessler cheap shot JT all game? Don’t think so. At least she is a Canadian, Chicago media is even worse. They will start getting interested in Hockey around the 3rd round of the playoffs.

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