New York Islanders star Bo Horvat apologized Monday for a negative comment he made about Vancouver, where he played for nine seasons, as a hockey market.
After a victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday at home, Horvat was asked how the Islanders' playoff push ranks for him when it came to excitement in the arena and the buzz among the fans.
"I mean it's been unbelievable. A lot better than Vancouver, I will tell you that for free," he told the crowd, who cheered the shade.
In January, the Islanders acquired Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks, where he had been the team captain, and signed the 28-year-old center to an eight-year contract extension.
Horvat said he wasn't expecting the backlash he received from Vancouver fans on social media for his comments.
"I didn't mean any disrespect to the fans of Vancouver or my teammates or the city of Vancouver at all. It wasn't directed at them," he said. "The fans were all excited and I was excited to be in a playoff push. It was just one of those things where my emotions got the best of me. I was just happy to be there. It might have come out the wrong way to a lot of people, so I apologize for that."
Horvat said he "really enjoyed" his time in Vancouver and didn't intent to be disrespectful. He said that he is "really happy" to be with the Islanders now.
"I just wanted to express that. It maybe came out the wrong way to a lot of people," he said.
Horvat has 7 goals and 8 assists with the Islanders in 28 games, after tallying 31 goals and 23 assists in 49 games with the Canucks. While Vancouver has been eliminated from playoff contention, the Islanders are in a wild card race in the Eastern Conference.