Friday, October 07, 2011

A full bluster greets the new season, as many suffer the wrath of Cherry!

He had been silent for the most part since the Canucks and Bruins parted company in June, but as we learned on the debut of a new season of Coach's Corner Thursday night, Don Cherry had a lot to say on the state of the game as he would like to see it.

Hockey Night in Canada's Bishop of Pugilism took to his pulpit on Thursday, expressing his distaste at the state of the game under the new watchful eye of Brendan Shanahan, reciting Shanahan's official title with just a touch of sarcasm in the midst of his now mercurial and viral rant, Cherry asked if the fans liked the new NHL, using the Leafs and Canadiens as his benchmark for pacifism  on the ice.

Yes not even three games into the season (Vancouver and Pittsburgh were probably just getting the pre game skate underway) and Cherry had already declared Shanahan's intercession into the game as a failure.

Somehow deciding that the NHL by attempting to protect it's players from perhaps permanently damaging head injuries and shortened careers, was but another step in what Mike Milburry (another of the leagues toughness advocates) once coined as the sissification of hockey.

The nature of Mr. Cherry's rant against the more proactive approach to health and safety was true to his form, full of bombast and anger, a perfect storm of Cherryisms for the new season.

Donald S. it seems, is not cognitive of the fact that the league's marquee player, Sidney Crosby would not take to the ice in game three on the night, a game featured right there on Hockey Night in Canada, owing to a concussion he suffered in January of 2011.

To help with the math,  that's now almost nine months that Crosby has been out of action thanks to an elbow to the head nowhere near the boards by the way, on New Years Day.

The message that the cheap shots and blows to the head need to be reigned in, lost on the HNIC commentator, who seems to believe that if player safety is taken any further that the game will devolve into figure skating, with sticks.

But he wasn't finished with the new Shanahan agenda,  no doubt hearing the jungle drums that fighting may be on the watch list in this new era of the more watchful NHL, Cherry railed on against those tough guys that weighed in over the summer to speak out against the brawling and scrapping that made them famous.

In a quote that is making much in the way of waves today, Cherry offered up  a salutation and a declaration that has Cherry's detractors in full volume now.

“The ones that I am really disgusted with … are the bunch of pukes that fought before: Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson,”

We imagine that with his disappointment that some of the brethren have jumped the ship, he will take away their honorary status as tough guys, perhaps purging their fights from the large collection of Rock Em, Sock Em videos he has compiled for profit over the years.

He was in full spittle by the end of his debut session of Coach's Corner, Ron McLean who really offered little of value to this weeks session, seemingly  was left to throw the coach the towel at the end of his dissertation on the decline of hockey, perhaps keeping his hand on a cel phone should Mr. Cherry have worked himself up too much.

It didn't take long for the reactions to fly to the Coach's Corner segment, from journalists to those players called out during the segment, many have weighed in on the topic of the night.

Ranting Cherry steals spotlight from Leafs
Cherry makes up for lost time
Tough guys fight back against Cherry's "pukes" comment
Don Cherry's head injury comments unleash Twitter wrath
Ex-enforcers punch back at "senile old uncle" Don Cherry
Grimson, Nilan, Thomson to address Cherry's comments on OTR
Cherry blasts tough guys for speaking against fighting
Don Cherry calls NHL tough guys 'pukes' for anti fighting stance
Nilan angry, appalled by Cherry comments
CBC rides shotgun on Don Cherry's stagecoach
Cherry's fighting mad, won't apologize
CBC doesn't share Cherry's take on hockey violence

No doubt the reaction to Tbursday's Coach's corner provided the kind of controversy that the CBC finds attractive for ratings, but fearful that their host may step over a line one time too many.

We're not sure if fighting will be exorcised from the game any time soon, but it would seem that perhaps the nature of that aspect of the game is in decline and perhaps destined for the extinction list, a status that proponents of the uglier side of the sport may one day find themselves on as well.

But, not without a loud, snarling fight it would seem.

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