Darren Langdon was not a long member of the Canucks, but made a big impression with his teammates. The undrafted tough guy from Newfoundland rarely had anything other than a smile on his face and it was a lot of fun to be with him. I made a story for Sportsnet about the busy household in Langdon when he and wife Jillian's triplets were one year old (the couple have four children).
When the shooting was over, I remember the asking look in Langdon's eyes when he asked me to drink a beer or two. I said yes and we had a couple while the kids crawled over us. It was fun to meet Langdon from his home in Deer Lake, Nfld.
In your first year as a professional, you collected 429 penalty minutes from ECHL in just 54 games for Dayton. How is that possible?
Did you mention that I have 50 points? I hate it when people don't mention it!
I will mention it! (Langdon actually scored 23 goals and scored 45 points)
Claude Noel was the coach at the time. Good guy and very funny. He put me out in the first game because he obviously thought I wasn't good enough. We had a tough guy and he was injured so I was moved to the next game and fought the toughest guy on their team and got a goal and an assist, and the rest was history. Each team had its own tough guy and I was doing pretty well so they all wanted to try me out. At the end of every game, it was pretty much a guarantee that I would have at least one fight.
What was it like as a naughty child from Newfoundland to receive the news that you were going to the NHL (with the Rangers 1994-95)?
I was told that I would fly to Montreal to join the team. Mark Messier was the captain and when I got there he said to me: "I don't care if you have a beer, I don't care what you do, but we have a meeting at Chez Paris. You slumped down. And me wonder: "Oh my god, am I in heaven or what?"
Darren Langdon's rookie photo with the Rangers.
OK, you scored a goal in your first NHL game. Who was it on?
Against Patrick Roy, but it wasn't really my goal. I went to Paul Stewart and said it wasn't my goal, it didn't touch me. And he said to me, "It came off your butt, so it's your goal, boy."
Sean Pronger wrote in his book "Journeyman" that you, Manny Malhotra and he were dressed as a fourth line for a game and did not get a single shift. Do you remember that?
Yes. I believe in Gretzky's last year when I played five or six games without touching the damn ice. John Muckler was a coach who didn't like to play his fourth line.
You were brought from Carolina to Vancouver and only played 45 games before being released from Montreal by waiver. I know that Bertuzzi and Naslund were not happy with your departure.
When I got there, they threw me into a room with Bertuzzi because I don't think anyone wanted it (be Bertuzzi's roommate). Because you know what he's like, he's grumpy – but grumpy in a good way. We got on perfectly. He was grumpy but I gave him F-offs a couple of times and it's my remote because I'm older than you hit it. I think the Canucks only traded one room to him for me. We had fun.
I know you like to have an odd beer – has there ever been a time when you overdid it the night before a game?
It probably happened. I remember a practice in Minnesota where I went to the bathroom just before the ice rink because I thought I was going to throw up. And I heard a trainer come in. I sat on the toilet and thought, "God, if you get me through this day I'll never do that to me again." Anyway, I got through the training and I, Bert, Nazzy and Clouts (Dan Cloutier) went straight back to the same bar. I didn't learn my lesson. I never really exaggerated or was bad on game nights. But when there was no curfew, I became stupid.
Was Bob Probert the toughest guy you fought against?
Yes, probably. And Tony Twist. I only fought him once. He dropped bombs but didn't hit him. And my left was free and I said I could nail it now and it will look good. But think to me what happens if I miss with the left, he would knock me out with the right and we have something to do after the game. So I want to try to kill him, or do I want to be kicked out, or do I say I fought Twist and everything went pretty well. Anyway, I thought about it and didn't throw the left. I'm not stupid.
Now to the mailbag!
What happens now? Did the team borrow it a second time to be closer to home?
– Sean John (@Reiterwrong) December 16, 2019
This is a really difficult situation for a really good guy. It is clear that Baertschi is not an AHL player. With Utica Comets, Dude has an average of more than 1.4 PPG. This was the second best total in the entire league when I last checked. And yet Baertschi has released Monday for the second time this season.
It should really be asserted; He is not responsible for shots. has a small but positive penalty differential and a bad shot. No reason not to be a regular player. pic.twitter.com/WVXcIg32a1
– Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) December 15, 2019
Here's the thing. Baertschi's salary is $ 3.37 million a year, and he signed another year after that. Not many teams have enough space to pull him off the wire. In addition, the teams now know that Baertschi wants a trade and a fresh start. So why not try to work out a deal with the Canucks that Vancouver keeps a salary for? And to be honest, it is probably a better situation for Jim Benning than buying up Baertschi this summer.
One thing is clear, it is currently not a great situation for anyone. If I were Benning, I wouldn’t distance myself so much from this player. Benning recently called Baertschi "soft skill" and said the Canucks had developed into a rather tough skill team. But if this hard skill doesn't produce, Baertschi should definitely be an option. He has a damn good story alongside Bo Horvat, and it's no secret that the captain didn't exactly illuminate her with all his might. One only has to ask whether the horse is out of the stable at this point.
What do you think is the main reason for the disorganization of Canucks? What do you currently see as positive?
– Harpsama (@harpsama) December 16, 2019
Maybe we can go into this in more detail later. I don't think it's a system-based problem. I think the composition of the roster is a bit crazy. The strikers group is still too heavy because the bottom six players are allocated far too much money (not to mention Loui Eriksson, who is often in the press box). And the team ran defensively and hunted far more than in the first month of the season. Losing Alex Edler due to injury has definitely put the defense in a loop. If they can't recover by the turn of the year, this season may look a lot like the last two.
How long does it take for Loui to be given up unconditionally for the purpose of the buyout?
– Rugby Jeff (@WPrugbyjeff) December 17, 2019
I know that some Canucks fans noticed when the Kings did it with Ilya Kovalchuk earlier this week. Unfortunately, I just don't see it at Eriksson. First of all, his contract is as good as a buyout proof of the way it was structured. Second, and more importantly, Eriksson is not going to get away from just one piece of dough. He will receive a $ 3 million signing bonus on July 1 next year. I assume that the issue could be raised after it has been paid out. But will Eriksson really leave $ 5 million on the table and just go away next summer? I doubt it.
I know, right? And it was my hometown, for heaven's sake. We all know that if there is a chance that Oake can interview Ryan Reeves for the 134th time, he'll take it. And yes, it's entertaining. Also, I'm not paid for by the game, so it doesn't hurt the paperback to be pushed by Oake. What have I done? Check out the Seahawks game, the Niners game and the Canucks game while enjoying the drinks for adults. Pretty firm day, to be sure.
The most optimistic member of our media horde?
– Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) December 16, 2019
Well, that's not Paterson, I can tell you. Seriously though, Thomas Drance is usually pretty optimistic. I still think the winner is John Garrett. It has already been mentioned, but I have only seen Cheech in a bad mood once in my life.
If Peach were responsible for the PK, the Canucks would put more pressure on them instead of being in this modified box.
– sedinitronic (@sedinitronic) December 16, 2019
As you can see in this video, Peach shouldn't be asked to do anything.