Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star,
He’s 77 now and while he still sets the agenda for our national hockey conversation, he is more of a cult figure than a trailblazer. After three decades spent listening to a remarkably consistent message, a great many people have decided that Cherry’s defence of violence isn’t just wrong-headed, but that it’s morally corrupt.
Cherry replies by adding more square-footage to his bunker. He is besieged, and for the very first time, it seems possible that he could be broken.
The not-so-secret secret to Cherry’s success as a broadcaster is his commitment to an ideal. Cherry believes in a perfect sort of hockey and, more importantly, a perfect sort of player. That player is a humble thug, a skilled brute. He does not complain or retreat. He is always the aggressor. Cherry’s perfect player is the perfected version of himself.
Other analysts and experts are professional prevaricators. They can see both sides of any issue. Cherry sees hockey two-dimensionally. That’s what makes him compelling.
He’s also intellectually honest. As much as he sets out to provoke, no one who watches him can doubt that Cherry believes completely in everything he says when he’s saying it. There is always something calculating about a provocateur. Cherry isn’t one of those. He’s a zealot.
Hockey Night in Canada’s opening last night.
from Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette,
What irks me most about HNIC is Cherry’s supporting cast. With the exception of Elliotte Friedman, Canada’s premier sports broadcast features a collection of on-air mediocrities that add nothing to a viewer’s enjoyment of the game.
Contrast Hockey Night in Canada with any National Football League telecast. The studio shows feature witty hosts (Chris Berman is the ne plus ultra), Super Bowl winning coaches (Tony Dungy, Bill Cowher, Mike Ditka, Jimmy Johnson) and former All-Pro players: Terry Bradshaw, Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe, Tom Jackson, Howie Long, Boomer Esiason, Keyshawn Johnson, Rodney Harrison ... the list goes on and on.
On HNIC we get Cherry, a coach who never won a Cup; Mike Milbury, arguably the most inept general manager in the history of the NHL; journeyman goaltenders Kelly Hrudey and Glen Healy, and the man I fear the diabolical Ron MacLean is grooming to skate into the Corner when the Coach is clinically non compos mentis: P.J. Stock, who was a fourth-line scrapper for four NHL teams, amassing more than 500 minutes in penalties while scoring five goals in 243 games.
How many sleeps till TSN snatches the rights away?
more plus how much will Montreal pay for Carey Price…
HNIC opening montage from last night.
Some of the topics Coach’s Corner touched on- Communication on the ice (Tampa Bay), Edmonton Oilers, the Sutton hit and the Vancouver Canucks.
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,
He is, objectively, great at his job. When he leaves the airwaves one day, he will be missed, if only because there is nobody who can replace his capacity for forging a connection to his audience, and provoking reactions like this one. He is must-watch TV, as far as hockey goes, a sort of water-cooler cottage industry. Sometimes he’s dead right: no-touch icing, hard plastic shoulder and elbow pads, stuff like that. Sometimes he sees things in the game that nobody else seems to notice. And often, I think, he is terribly wrong.
But whenever Don takes the stage on Saturday nights now, I wonder how it’s going to end. The hockey world is moving away from him, on every level — Hockey Canada outlawed hits to the head for kids, the NHL has made moves to curb excess physicality if not fighting, even visors are becoming more common. He is receding into history even as he commands the pulpit, and with every passing year the odds of him saying things that the CBC will have to disavow rise. Maybe one day he will go too far over the line, as elastic as it has been for him. Maybe one day the storm won’t pass.
And when that day comes it will be sad, even for those of us who disagree with him. Don Cherry loves hockey, and he illuminates Saturday nights across this country even when residing in hockey’s darker ages. He will leave a void, one day, when the lights go out.
Don Cherry apologized Saturday on his Coach’s Corner segment for comments he made recently about a group of retired NHL enforcers.
During the Oct. 6 edition of his popular intermission segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Cherry referred to Chris Nilan, Stu Grimson and Jim Thomson as “pukes” for speaking out against fighting in hockey.
“I gotta admit I was wrong on a lot of things,” Cherry said. “Three enforcers, tough guys, my type of guys, I threw them under the bus, and I’m sorry about it. I really am.”
Cherry also apologized for suggesting that Nilan and Crimson had attributed their struggles with substance abuse to the violent nature of their former jobs, and for claiming that those players had said they wanted fighting banned from hockey.
“Chris and Stu never said that they took drugs because they were enforcers in the National Hockey League,” Cherry said. “Also, they never said they wanted fighting out of the game, that’s for sure.”
“I was wrong on that, 100 per cent wrong. And when you’re wrong, you have to admit it.”
added 10:11pm, watch tonight’s Coach’s Corner below…
from the Montreal Gazette,
Sources tell The Gazette that the Tennessee law firm Kay, Griffin, Enkema & Colbert will release a statement early Tuesday morning from former NHL players Chris Nilan, Jim Thomson and Stu Grimson indicating the players are not satisfied with Don Cherry’s remarks Saturday night and making clear that they expect a full apology from the CBC commentator.
Update October 11, 2:43 pm ET: Statement from the lawyers:
“Mr. Cherry’s comments were more than inappropriate; they were baseless and slanderous,” the statement said. “Furthermore, Mr. Cherry’s subsequent attempt to qualify his comments on (Saturday) Oct. 8, 2011, was entirely ineffectual.
“Mr. Cherry’s conduct throughout has demonstrated a complete lack of decency.”
The notice did not specify what further action the former hockey players might take nor did it offer a timeline.
*post originally published October 10, 10:43pm ET:
**more commentary earlier today
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Boys, boys, boys. Let’s all grow up here.
Lots of name-calling going on between Don Cherry and a group of former NHL enforcers these days, but not a whole lot being said, at least not much more than the kind of insults and taunts you might hear in a schoolyard.
Now, maybe we shouldn’t expect more. But maybe we should. See, the issues of fighting, concussions and related depression are serious, serious issues, and the way in which these folks are dealing with them is simply trivializing the problem.
Now, for starters, that’s enough with the lawsuit talk. First of all, nobody should publish stories about somebody “threatening” to sue. It’s a story when the papers are filed.
Here’s a news flash for the CBC: Cherry’s sorry act no longer plays with Canadians. It’s become sickening and when the ugliness is turned on a Stu Grimson or a Chris Nilan, it’s too much.
This feels like the beginning of the end. The monster is feeding on its young. Surely, this time, enough is enough.
-Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette where you can read more on this topic that seems to have gripped the media, including print, web and TV/radio based outlets.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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