Saturday, October 8, 2011

CBC wags finger at Cherry

Looks like there may be finally trouble in the self-built paradise that Don Cherry has constructed all these years.   At long last the CBC actually disagrees with something he said, openly.    This is in reference to opening night for the NHL two nights ago.   Mr Cherry accused three well known heavy hitters of being "turncoats" for saying they have changed their minds about fighting in hockey and then went on to claim that some groups are trying to take advantage of the deaths of three "enforcers" during the off-season.   Further he accuses Brendan Shanahan (an enforcer who got suspended five times during his playing career) of going too heavy in handing out suspensions and fines.

For its part, the Mother Ship says that as a broadcaster it takes violence in the sport quite seriously and that it supports player safety "on and off the ice."   Could it be the CBC going to cut the man loose after all these years?    Other than his tributes to fallen troops and cops, he has gotten increasingly irrational over the years.    Certainly much more unrestrained since Rose died (sorry, but that's how I see it.)

I do wonder if a lot of the violence has to do with all of the safety equipment.    You sure didn't see that many head shots way back when players didn't have any helmets, mouth guards or padding.   But as the equipment has gotten better, so has the bar been lifted constantly on how far one can go and get away with it.

I happen to think players can be aggressive without going demented.    A smoother and faster game exists in Europe in part because there is absolutely zero tolerance for the crap that exists in the NHL.   Most fights here get only a two minute penalty, at most five from the ice (although for official records it would be ten) -- over there it would be anywhere from five to twenty depending on the severity, and in the most extreme cases expulsion from the match followed by suspension (along with an official 25 PIM in the books).   Come on, don't tell me European players aren't aggressive -- during the lockout in 2005 games were broadcast from Europe and what we saw was that the home talent there as well as NHLers who wanted the exercise actually enjoyed themselves; they took chances but knew when to draw the line.

I know the old joke, "I went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out."   But if players are dying from dementia or Parkinson's, a direct result of all the hits they took, then it's no joke.    Maybe the Mighty Mister Donald should lead by example and turn in his government health card as well as the supplementary benefits he gets from the Exploding Pizza.    Or maybe ... uh, no, not that.   He's not worth it.

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