Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Marchand Of Venice

It's remarkable how insane the Vancouver Canucks - Boston Bruins rivalry has become lately following Saturday's Stanley Cup rematch. It's led to everything from fanbase and organizational fights to media going after bloggers who cover the other team to reporters verbally duking it out with opposing players to allegations of media defacing the NHL's media guides merely because a player they didn't like adorned them. There are some serious questions about the media's role in all this, and I talked about some of them this morning in an excellent discussion with Jessica Quiroli and others. Serious discussions aren't a lot of fun, though, so instead, I present one of the wackier ideas that came to mind; rewriting Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" (original quotations available here) to cover the Vancouver-Boston rivalry, and particularly Boston's Brad Marchand's polarizing hit on Sami Salo and subsequent suspension. Thanks to Cam Charron, Thomas Drance, Tom HawthornJason Ford  and
Ashok Sadana for their help, and thanks to Maclean Kay and PPP for encouraging me to turn this into a post. What follows is a partial script. Call me, Hollywood!


- In the role of Shylock, Brad Marchand, A Bruin
- In the role of Portia, Brendan Shanahan, A Disciplinarian
- In the role of Antonio, Sami Salo, A Wounded Canuck
- In the role of Gratiano, Alain Vigneault, A Coach
- In the role of Bassanio, The Vancouver Media, A Dubious Entity
- In the role of Salarino, Zdeno Chara, A Boston Captain


"In sooth, I know not why I am always injured. It wearies me, you say it wearies you." - Salo

"I hold the NHL but as the NHL, Vigneault, a stage, where every man must play a part, and mine a sad one." - Salo

When criticized for his team fighting back against Boston, "Why should a man whose blood is warm within, sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?" - Vigneault

"There are a sort of men, whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond;
And do a willful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
As who should say, I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark!" - Vigneault on the Vancouver media

"Vigneault speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Vancouver." - The Vancouver media

"If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, Brad Marchand and the rest wouldn't be in the league and Sidney Crosby would still be healthy." - Shanahan

"When he is best, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast." - Shanahan on Marchand

"If I can catch him once upon the hip,
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him." - Marchand on Salo.

"They hate our sacred nation; and they rail,
Even there where Canucks fans most do congregate,
On me, my hits, and my well-won roster spot,
Which they call a disgrace." - Marchand on the Vancouver media.

"Thee devil can cite scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness,
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek." - Salo on Marchand's justifications.

"O Father Shanahan! What these Canucks are,
Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect
The thoughts of others!" - Marchand to Shanahan.

Act II:

"But hear thee, Vigneault;
Thou art not wild enough, not rude enough and not bold of voice enough!" - The Vancouver media to Vigneault.

"All that glisters is not black and gold. Not all those who wander are lost. Whoops, swapped Shakespeare with Tolkien for a second there." - Shanahan

"All things that are, are with more spirit chased than enjoy’d." - Vigneault on what it's like to coach the Canucks.

Act III: "Why, I am sure, if Salo shows up, thou wilt not take his mental health? What's that good for?" - Chara

"To bait newspaper scribes withal: if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million in contract negotiations; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Bruin. Hath not a Bruin eyes? Hath not a Bruin hands, gloves, pads, hockey sticks, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same bodychecks, subject to the same injuries, healed by the same team doctors, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Canuck is? If you slash us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not give you a facewash? If you beat us in the playoffs, are we not eliminated? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we shall resemble you in that. If a Bruin wrong a Canuck, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Canuck wrong a Bruin, what should his sufferance be by Canuck example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction." - Marchand

"In the NHL, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
But, being season’d with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil by the Bruins? - The Vancouver Media

"Here are a few of the unpleasant’st words
That ever blotted paper! We'll run them on the front page!" - The Vancouver Media

Act IV:

"If you suspend me, fie upon your law!
There is no power in the decrees of Shanahan.
I stand for judgement: answer — shall I have it?" - Marchand

"I am a tainted wether of the flock,
Meetest for long-term injury reserve. The weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground, and somehow blows out its knee in the process." - Salo

"The quantity of suspensions is not strain'd,
They droppeth as the gentle rain from NHL headquarters
Upon the league beneath. They are twice criticized: they offend him that gives and him that takes. They are mightiest in the mightiest; they become
The throned commissioner better than his crown." - Shanahan

"Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that;
You take my house, when you do take the bodychecks
That doth sustain my house; you take my life,
When you do take the means whereby I live." - Marchand

Act V:

"How far that little suspension is being covered! So shines any reaction in a violent world of hockey." - Shanahan

"How many suspensions by season season’d are
To their right praise, and true perfection!" - Shanahan

"These blessed suspensions of the night." - The Vancouver media


  1. /standing and clapping

  2. Anonymous10:46 AM


  3. Anonymous11:21 AM

    Amazing. Purely amazing.

  4. Anonymous8:47 PM

    That was absolutely brilliant. I loved it!

    The best part has to be:
    "The quantity of suspensions is not strain'd,
    They droppeth as the gentle rain from NHL headquarters
    Upon the league beneath. They are twice criticized: they offend him that gives and him that takes. They are mightiest in the mightiest; they become
    The throned commissioner better than his crown." - Shanahan

  5. Excellent, pure exellence! If anyone's bound to extract their pound of flesh, it 'Badly Bradley.'