NHL

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

CBC's MacLean stands by his man

Says Cherry still sharp as tack, being treated unfairly

  • Print

TORONTO -- Ron MacLean says Don Cherry is being treated unfairly over his season-opening Coach's Corner blast against a trio of former enforcers and their take on fighting.

But the Hockey Night in Canada host acknowledges that the two weren't as clear as they could have been.

"I think part of it's unfair, but I also accept I take a lot of beatings in the media and there's nothing I can do about that but go back and say, 'Well what could I have done differently to make it clearer?"' MacLean said in an interview Thursday. "The only thing is if you're not clear -- and we weren't clear that night.

"I can't take full responsibility because I didn't even know what the point was that night. I didn't understand that there was anything wrong with what he'd said. I didn't know if in fact Stu Grimson was misquoted or not.

"I'm still uncertain a bit because I happen to think Grimson was sort of laying out in an article on Grantland (www.Grantland.com) some things that make you link with what happened to (Wade) Belak to fighting.

"All I can say is I think Don is such a sharp guy that he doesn't wade in very often without knowing exactly where he's going. To say whether (Cherry's treatment) it's fair or unfair is not our prerogative, but I know I'd stand by the guy. And I would weigh his opinion over most, over the opinions of most."

Cherry called out former enforcers Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson, labelling them "pukes" for suggesting that NHL players who fight are prone to substance abuse.

Cherry also lashed out at anti-fighting advocates in general, saying the summer deaths of former tough guys Derek Boogard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak were used as a soapbox for their arguments.

Grimson, Nilan and Thomson subsequently issued a statement calling Cherry's comments "damaging and inflammatory" and said they were looking at legal avenues of recourse.

Grimson has denied he ever said fighting should be removed from hockey, or that the enforcer's job causes substance abuse.

In the Grantland story, Grimson does talk about the hard life of a hockey enforcer and the difficulties he faced when it was time to leave the game after a concussion.

Nilan has talked about his addiction issues, but doesn't blame them on his past role as an enforcer. Thomson has said fighting should be banned from hockey and blamed fighting in the NHL for his addiction.

Kirstine Stewart, the CBC's executive vice-president of English services, subsequently issued a statement saying Cherry's comments reflect his own personal opinion.

"While we support his right to voice that opinion, we do not share his position," Stewart said in the statement after the HNIC segment aired.

Cherry later said he regretted using the world "pukes," more for the fact that kids might have been watching.

Stewart says she spoke last Friday with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and delivered a similar message.

MacLean says that doesn't surprise him.

"Gary and I have had our moments and he's stopped coming on (Hockey Night in Canada), sadly, so I can't ask him these questions. But he makes no bones about the fact he sees us a partner in the way of a marketing arm. Not in the way of Hockey Night in Canada as a journalist.

"And if I have to go the way of the dodo bird, I will go the way of the dodo bird on that one. Because we pay $100 million for the rights but we don't pay $100 million to be told what to say is good for the game."

Cherry has also challenged recent disciplinary rulings by Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's new vice-president of player safety, saying they are altering the sport.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 14, 2011 C2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

New Pornographers frontman says latest album is band's 'best'

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A golfer looks for his ball in a water trap at John Blumberg Golf Course Friday afternoon as geese and goslings run for safety- See Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge- Day 24– June 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Horses enjoy a beautiful September morning east of Neepawa, Manitoba  - Standup Photo– Sept 04, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How many wins do you think the Bombers will finish with this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google