Friedman defends Sportsnet colleague Gazdic in spat against Canucks fans

Former NHLer and current Sportsnet analyst Luke Gazdic isn’t too popular amongst Vancouver Canucks fans right now.

During a recent appearance on the OilersNation Everyday podcast with Tyler Yaremchuk, Gazdic seemingly had enough of some Canucks fans who have been accusing him of being an Oilers homer. The 34-year-old spent 136 of his 147 NHL games in an Oilers uniform.

“My account still will not stop with Canucks trolls,” Gazdic said. “My tweet last night on Twitter just saying, ‘Congrats, Oil Country,’ I’m going through Instagram message requests here now, and the amount of hate and absolute garbage, gibberish trash I have ever seen. Canucks twitter, you’re an absolute joke. You’re team’s a joke; you’re a bunch of losers. The Oilers are going to the Stanley Cup Final, and I hope you guys are having fun watching it on TV and watching me on the panel because you guys are not there.”

Canucks fans didn’t take kindly to Gazdic’s rant, particularly with him calling the Canucks team trash while also painting all fans with the same brush. That said, few see the messages some of these analysts have to put up with, and yesterday on Donnie & Dhali, one of Sportsnet’s most popular analysts, Elliotte Friedman, defended his colleague.

“Let me just talk about Luke for a second,” Friedman said. “First of all, I think Luke’s going to be a star, and he’s on the way to doing it. … This is the first time that Luke is going through this, and I think Luke will grow a thick skin; he will learn all the things that [we] have learned. The first time you go through it, it’s hard. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve seen some of the things that were sent to Luke, and they are way, way, way over the line.

“The people who sent some of these things to him, they should be embarrassed. If I was part of that fan base, I’d be embarrassed of them. He is not wrong to feel the way that he feels about some of the things that are sent to him, and I will back him to the ends of the earth on that. Eventually, he will learn to block it out. He will learn the difference between legitimate criticism, which we all get, and [he’ll learn] how to filter out, quite frankly, some of the BS that he’s been sent. … He’s learning that there are people out there that are embarrassing, weak people who hide behind anonymity, and they do things that they wouldn’t dare to face to face.”

While Gazdic probably could have gone about things a different way, Friedman’s perspective certainly shines a light on how frustrating things can become for them. Gazdic has yet to comment publicly on the situation.