“A rant that was moronic even by his own gravel-brained standards,” is how the Montreal Gazette’s Jack Todd viewed Saturday’s edition of Don Cherry’s “Coach’s Corner”. Hinting in his headline (with no supporting testimony) that Grapes’ days might be numbered on HNIC, the Hollywood Reporter’s Etan Viessing notes Cherry, “is suddenly way out of step with the CBC and the National Hockey League as they look to end headshots and fighting in professional hockey.”
“Don’s comments reflect his own personal opinion,” Kirstine Stewart, the CBC’s executive vp of English services, said in a statement on the weekend after Cherry on Hockey Night in Canada called ex-NHL goons Stu Grimson, Jim Thomson and Chris Nilan “pukes” and “hypocrites” for now opposing fighting.
“While we support his right to voice that opinion, we do not share his position. Player safety is a top priority for CBC, and we support the initiatives of the NHL and others in keeping players safe on and off the ice,” Stewart continued.
Putting blue sky between Cherry and the CBC also follows the recent deaths of former NHL enforcers Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak after they battled drug dependence and depression.
The question now asked by the Canadian media is how Cherry can continue to take to the CBC to condone the NHL’s star players being left helpless and out cold on the ice after taking head shots when the public broadcaster is backing the league’s push to clean up the game so players can live long and healthy lives after retirement.