If you’re not familiar with Coyotes enforcer Paul Bissonnette by now, chances are that means you’re not connected to Twitter. There, “Biz Nasty” has one of the NHL’s largest followings at over 61,000 people keeping tabs on what it’s like living the life of an NHL player, enforcer, and social icon.
If you’ve followed Bissonnette for a while, you’ve gotten to know his family in one way or another. His father Cam and his mother Yoli are virtually the NHL’s favorite parents thanks to Paul’s antics both at home and on the road. This week, Cam is in Phoenix visiting Paul and, like you might expect, when these two get together the talk is lively.
I sat down for an interview with both Paul and Cam Bissonnette to see what the two think of their virtual cult hero stardom. This exchange was better broken down in this format so you can get an idea of how this father-son combo handles each other.
PHT: Are you surprised at how big of a star you’ve become just from chirping your way through Twitter?
Paul: Yeah, I was kinda the first hockey player to take that approach to it. Other guys will tweet about charity and other things and just kind of stay under the radar. I’ve kind of taken it to the next level and people have kind of embraced it. It’s taken off.
PHT: One guy you’ve helped bring into the spotlight is your dad Cam. We’ve seen pictures of him all the time on there…
Paul: (laughs) Shirtless.
PHT: (laughs) Shirtless pictures. You’re good with chirping him, but do you mind needling him while he’s away at home like that?
Paul: Yeah, he doesn’t mind. He’s all for it. He was the same way I was when he was younger. I told him I was going to do it and he’s like, “Ahh whatever.” He gives a few jabs to me when I’m not around about not playing and stuff.
Cam: It’s hard to keep up to his style. I do my best but I’m always three steps behind him.
Paul: He can’t tweet because he doesn’t know anything about it. He doesn’t even have a cell phone.
Cam: I do. I got one about three months ago.
Paul: It doesn’t even have pictures. It’s a joke.
Cam: I follow him on Twitter… I just don’t respond to him.
Paul: You can’t. You don’t have an account.
Cam: Well half the language I don’t understand.
Paul: It’s all lingo.
Cam: I’m too old for that lingo.
PHT: Is there a way we can get you to set up your dad with an account? Something like BizDaddy maybe?
Paul: (laughs) Yeah maybe BizNasty6point2 because he’s 62 years-old. But yeah maybe BizDaddy should have an account. Yeah, that’s a good idea. I like that name too. Maybe. I’ll have to tweet for him though.
One way Paul’s made his impact on the game is to do the dirty work with his fists and helping to both keep the peace amongst the players and find a way to invigorate his team. It worked on Tuesday night in the Coyotes 2-1 win over the Blues as Bissonnette’s fights with Ryan Reaves and Tyson Strachan lit a fire under his team to get them back in the game. When it comes to breaking down the fights, Bissonnette breaks them down like a master of the sweet science.
“He (Reaves) took a run at Bods (Mikkel Boedker) he was just doing his job and I came right out and I saw it so I went right over. I literally hadn’t been on the ice for five seconds and he said, “yeah.” It wasn’t a very good fight and didn’t last too long. The next one was a bit better, but I like the lengthy ones where you get your shots in but it sparked the crowd and the team and it worked.”
As for what Cam thinks of his son doing his job as the enforcer out there, he’s straight to the point.
“That’s what got him here. It’s part of the game and every team needs one. I think he’s doing an excellent job of it here and I think it’s what’s keeping him in the league for now. I’m hoping to see him maybe later on get more ice time and kill penalties and…”
Paul interjects seriously, “Become a better player.”
“Yeah, become a better player for sure because as a fighter, your duration isn’t gonna last long in the league. So I think if he learns the game and he gets more ice time he can stay in the league. He can make his career last longer,” Cam concluded.
Getting that sort of serious change in tone from both guys made for an introspective moment. Bissonnette is still young (he’s just 26) and in the league in part thanks to fighting but also his dedication to learning a new role and position.
He came up through the Penguins system as a defenseman and not a fighter, but after learning the tricks of the trade in fighting from legendary AHL brawler Dennis Bonvie and getting moved to forward while in the Pens system, Bissonnette’s career has evolved in a new direction.
Thanks to Bissonnette and his ever-popular stream of thoughts, quips, and jokes on Twitter we’ll be able to keep up with him to see how his career evolves in Phoenix. We’re only hoping now that maybe his father will follow suit so we can see the two of them continue their fun back-and-forth via social media.
(Photo courtesy of @BizNasty2point0)