Comment: Cherry’s distortions paint false picture

cherryweb

The most vicious and, perhaps, disgraceful first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs continued on Tuesday night with Marian Hossa the victim of a late hit, an unpenalized charge and headcheck by Raffi Torres that had Hossa carted off and sent to hospital (video). There will almost certainly be a continuing outcry by those who detest what has become of this postseason, while the defenders of this type of hockey will parrot the words of leading spokesmen for violence in the game, most prominently Don Cherry.

Cherry was at it again on Monday, providing ammunition to his troops during Coach’s Corner in the first intermission of the Rangers-Senators telecast on CBC (video). It was vintage Cherry, filled with half-truths, distortions and deceptions, all calculated to counteract the rising anger among fans against what they have seen. His main points sort of even sound sensible — until you really think about them.

First, Cherry maintains that the only people who are against “the fights and the bangin’ around” are the “reporters who get in free.” The coaches like it, he says, the fans like it, the players like it. Well, his point of who likes it and how much can be argued, but as one of those in the media (and I am also a fan who remembers when Cherry was a career minor leaguer) who has written against the current climate in the playoffs, I think I can speak for myself as well as a number of others when I say the main points being objected to are not the fights per se, but the dangerous and illegal play — especially at a time when the NHL maintained to one and all that they were embarking on a new era of player safety, most significantly when it comes to hits in the head.

That is certainly what I wrote about and others did as well. Sure, fights have resulted from these incidents. But shoulders to the head is not fighting. Heads being held and smashed into the glass is not fighting. Cross checks to the head is not fighting. Jumping a non-combatant is not fighting. Sucker punches are not fighting. Launching yourself into a player along the boards or in open ice is not fighting. That’s what reporters are commenting on. Cherry is busy here blaming the messenger, but he’s not even hearing the message correctly — or he’s purposely altering it for his audience.

Cherry’s second point is “this has been going on forever” and he shows footage of the infamous Canadiens-Nordiques 1984 Good Friday brawl and the fight between Stan Jonathan and Pierre Bouchard from 1978 — two incidents. I’m certainly willing to admit that there have been lots playoff series that have had vicious episodes; I’ve witnessed them in person and on TV. In any given playoff year, we might have had a few of them, mainly when traditional rivals hooked up. But what’s going on now seems unprecedented. It’s in almost every series of the first round and this sort of over-the-top play worthy of suspension is happening every single night.

I recognize a good deal of what is now suspendable was not considered even illegal a few years ago, but regardless. The NHL has changed — or its supposed to have changed — and it’s incumbant upon the players, coaches, officials, league execs fans and the media to change with it. If Cherry is right — and I don’t think he is — only one of those segments wants the NHL to live up to what it has pledged to do.

Further, I don’t believe the frequency of what we are seeing, the sort of widespread disrespect among the players, has been going on forever and I know I’m not the only one who recalls it that way. The playoffs used to be about discipline, about not risking selfish penalties (when they are actually called) that would put your team at a disadvantage. No longer.

Cherry’s final point is that TV ratings are soaring and he wants you to believe that the mayhem in these games is the reason why. There is absolutely zero evidence that the all this dangerous play — or even the fights — are the single or even the main reason why NBC ratings have climbed 50 percent — and I write this with a bit of knowledge about the televised hockey business as a one time director of broadcasting for the NHL.

There are all sorts of reasons why the ratings are up. One is that NBC is doing a quality telecast, the best ever by a US broadcast or cable network. Another is that every single playoff game is being televised nationally for the first time in the U.S. Another is that all the games belong to one company and while it is on different channels of the NBC family, they are providing fans with a consistent product one game to the next and one night to the next. Another is that NBC are doing lots of promotion of their games — not just on the NHL telecasts, but on non-hockey and even non-sports programming on their various channels.

And there are other reasons fans are tuning in that probably are even more significant than the job NBC is doing. These are amazingly competitive series, with a large number of one-goal games, overtime games and with comebacks, potential upsets of series favorites and see-saw scores that keep fans riveted to the TV just as much, if not more, than the fights and the headshots. I’m not naive enough to think those things don’t add to the number of viewers — hey, people slow down to look at car crashes every day. But that’s not why they go out driving, to see car crashes.

I have no doubt Don Cherry will continue his holy crusade to keep hockey what it was when he was a coach. The fact that it was 30 years ago and things have changed enormously since then doesn’t matter. He’s a man stuck in the past and he’s not above oversimplifying or even falsifying things if it suits his purposes. He’s not about to speak against the kind of hockey that has made him a household name and a hugely wealthy man.

96 Comments

  1. Un Canadien errant says:

    The problem is that Don Cherry is given a pulpit to preach his skewed vision, without the moderating influence that Dave Hodge used to have. Mr. Hodge would bring Mr. Cherry back to order when necessary. Ron MacLean has been, since replacing Dave Hodge, nothing more than a straight man, and when he ineffectually tried to counterpoint Mr. Cherry, he’s browbeaten and shouted down.

    It’s almost necessary to give a sane and non-senescent observer a two-minute rebuttal period immediately after Don Cherry’s segment to provide a balanced commentary on the state of affairs in the NHL.

    As our national broadcaster, it is way past time that the CBC consider what lasting damage is being inflicted on our national fabric and our national sport by the bleatings of Mr. Cherry. His irresponsible diatribes fly contrary to the responsibility of any broadcaster to use the airwaves for the public good.

    ———————————
    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  2. Duracell3 says:

    …is Cherry serious?

    I’ve yet to see ANYONE who cares about the fighting in the playoffs. Not one.

    He completely misses what they do care about, which is blatant headhunting in almost every series.

    Dementia.

  3. theflower says:

    I’m sick of all this Cherry bashing! I must tell you I have nothing but love for Cherry. Do you know how many hospitals this guy goes to, to see about the health of injured players, refs, linesman and the like? Do you how many charities he helps. Man this guy is there for more people to offer whatever help he can than most of you would ever do in your lifetime. When my father was in hospital years ago, Don was in there seeing an injured linesman, brought him a book to read and chatted and my father was in the spot right beside. He talked to us, took time to give my Pops a pep talk and he did not have to do a damn thing and let me tell you this guy was as sincere as they come. Tell you what, he is opinionated yes, but he often makes valid points. He lives, breathes, eats hockey every day and I respect his opinions and his passion, for life, love and hockey!

  4. mal2478 says:

    I blame more or less the instigator rule turning it into a free for all in the playoffs. Do you think Torres would hit Hossa knowing someone like a Stu Grimson or a Rob Probert was also on the ice?

  5. VancouverHab says:

    Hello HH: thanks for the support below–time difference meant I couldn’t continue the discussion. We could have debated “Gomez vs. Luongo.” ;–)

  6. Michael says:

    Excellent article, Stu. Cherry’s main argument boiled down to this: “Hockey shouldn’t be changed because it’s always been this way.” Yup, that’s his reasoning. Let’s accept that premise regardless of its dubiousness. If that was a valid position, we would still be watching helmet-less players pass around horse turds – laterals only, mind you, because the forward pass would still be illegal. It’s hard to improve something when you think everything should be preserved on the grounds that it’s always been present. Next time he’s arguing for the advent of no-touch icing (one of the very few points on which I agree with Don), I would love to hear McLean say, “But Don, the NHL has always had touch icing. Can’t change it if we’ve always had it, right?”

    A rolling stone gathers no moss. Cherry loves to invoke “love it or leave it” reasoning when it suits him but there are few voices that complain as frequently about the NHL as he does. It’s a very common characteristic of the “love it or leave it” types.

    Another thing that struck me about Cherry the other night was that he played the clip of Laich’s goal and noted that Chara could have two-handed him on the way to the net, but didn’t, citing this as evidence that “there isn’t a mean bone in his body,” and thus, he didn’t intentionally do Pacioretty last season. It’s a strange thing to give credit to a player for – I guess every time I pick up a knife without stabbing someone, I’m a lifesaver – but it also contrasts starkly to the statement Cherry made to open this NHL season.

    He opened the clip saying, “Kids, I’m going to tell you something that can save your life. After you score, never push the defenceman.” He then played a clip of MaxPac shoving Chara after scoring the OT winner in a game prior to his season-ending injury. If Cherry doesn’t think Chara intentionally bludgeoned Pacioretty, how on Earth could he say that shoving the giant D-man endangered his life? Apparently the man is so stupid that he didn’t realize what he was saying: in no uncertain terms, he believes Chara was avenging an embarrassing moment from earlier in the season.

  7. nova scotia vees says:

    Can’t be bothered to read alot of this crap, but some I agree with. I have watched and covered hockey (reporter) for many years and Cherry is way off-base. This is not old-time hockey..these are attempts to injure and maime star players. Head shots are disgraceful. We almost saw a death on the ice. Max was close to having his spinal cord snapped. Where Cherry is right is about the equipment. It is lethal. But the NHL wants this, because they are appealing to the UFC crowd. I believe many of them are on steroids. Didn’t Laracque allude to that? As far as I know, the league doesn’t even test for them. “Roid rage” is what we are seeing.

    • halifaxhab says:

      I firmly agree with Cherry on the equipment issue….sorry I just vomited a little in my mouth when I said that.

      And I would LOVE to disagree with you on the steroid issue. But I just cannot. Unless they test everyone there is no certainty. But out of the 1400 plus pro hockey players that belong to NHL clubs you’d have to think even a few are users.

      GO MOOSEHEADS!!!

      I love Barry Manilow .

      -Scotty Bowman

    • Duracell3 says:

      They do test for steroids, randomly I believe every player on the team gets tested 3 times a year. (every player who is on the roster on those 3 occasions at least). That said, you’d be very dense that there is no one using them, and they do not test in the off season obviously. Not the biggest problem though, everything else you said is spot on.

  8. slimjim111 says:

    Picking on Cherry is too easy. If you (journalists) want to bark about hits and all, take it to Bettman and the NHL.

    Cherry is stating his point of view on his slot. Right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. You journalists care about the game? Take a more direct approach and start targeting the league, not a man who’s been a scapegoat for more or less his whole career and has no say on the league.

    • dorvalhabsfan says:

      Its easier to ridicule someone for having a different opinion than your won. honestly the article above is guilty of hypocrisy by saying cherry half truths it, you cant half truth an opinion and thats what Cherry delivers week in/week out. if there’s a problem with fighting or illegal hits its not Cherry who has to fix it nor is he the one who made it happen. for years he has been complaining over lack of respect and now that its starting to show people seem to think that Cherry WANTS illegal hits? get real the man preaches to kids to keep their heads up and play hard and fair.. he doesnt say HIT HIM IN THE HEAD he says HIT HIM IN THE CHEST. /cherry condones strong fast hockey not dirty hockey. he’s an easy target because he’s likea bull in a china shop sometimes but he’s not the reason head shots are up.. awful league discipline and linesmen that jump in on every scrum are PART of the reason

      Go Habs Go

    • wouldn’t it be more fitting to take it straight to the NHLPA?

      ———-
      hip-check!

  9. The Dude says:

    When Cherry point out to crowd reaction ,he wins! Spartacus on ice mo-fo’s and just like then it’s all about staying alive for your next opponent .And lets keep the political agenda out of this because we are still in the dark ages and we as consumers are all guilty of allowing bad sh!t,EVERYWHERE!

  10. DorvalTony says:

    That’s dishonest to bring in the Torres cheap shot which happened AFTER Cherry’s editorial.

    Chris Nilan and PJ Stock both had measured responses and generally agreed with the thrust of Cherry’s Coach’s Corner segment in their ‘appearances’ on the Mitch Melnick show on TSN990 yesterday. Neither said anything revelatory OR inflammatory and I don’t think Cherry did either.

    Thanks for listening, Geoff Molson.

  11. Mustang says:

    Talk to just about any American about hockey and the conversation quickly centers on fighting. This is how the game is promoted and perceived in the US. The NHL is desparately trying to increase US interest in the league and it seems that fighting is the vehicle that has been chosen. Most Americans (outside of the real fans in some of the NHL cities) don’t give a damn about hockey. Watch ESPN or take a look at USA Today and you will see that football, baseball, basketball, woman’s highschool basketball, etc, etc, are given more coverage than pro hockey. I was in the US last week and I wanted to see the final results of the NHL season. I finally found a small article buried on the last page of the sports section.

    We Canadians consider hockey to be a great game, most Americans only ever hear about the fighting and the dirty hits. I somehow doubt that the NHL is going to seriously try to remove the ugly hits when this is the only way they can promote the game in the US.

    • kazmojo says:

      Speaking as a native-born Canadian living in the US, you’ve got it backwards. Most Americans don’t care about hockey, it’s true. Of the four major sports, it’s dead last. But for most Americans, it’s because of the mayhem. Basketball is much more popular here, and fighting was essentially banned years ago. Football is probably the most popular sport, and people love the big hits. But look at what happened to the Saints, and you’ll see the fine line between organized mayhem and outright thuggery. It seems that Americans view hockey as more of the latter.

  12. Timo says:

    Cherry is an easy target. Why don’t you (you as in journalists and reports) address it with those who actually makes decisions? Bettman, Daddy Campbell, whoever is the head of the NHLPA, etc. I am not defending Cherry, but it’s easy to write crap about him while asking polite cliche questions from the league executive. It’s like Boone et Co. making all these keen observations on their blogs but when the time comes to ask pointed questions from Habs’ players, coaches or management you guys are nowhere to be seen.

  13. CalgaryHab says:

    I imagine a Bruins uniform over all the offenders of suspendible hits/punches this playoff – and it magically becomes clean and acceptible.
    That aside this playoff has been fantastic! (there’s no way our Habs would’ve been able to match the intensity and toughness – sigh… )

  14. pottymonster says:

    just to get this out of the way, i think don cherry is the greatest.

    now, cherry always loves violence in the game, but he also cares about safety. maybe since he’s getting older now and slightly less coherent his message is getting mixed up, but he often used to make the point that the problem isn’t the players and the hits, it’s the equipment.

    when player A knows he can hit player B as hard as he can and player A will escape without a scratch, player A will make that hit all day long. meanwhile, player B has taken a piece of rock hard body armor to the chin, muhing his brains about.

    if you take away this ridiculous equipment and replace it with softer and smaller variants, so that if you try to kill somebody with your shoulder you also dislocate it, you will see less huge hits because the players will have to balance out the fact that they could hurt themselves. youll still get shoulder to shoulder against the boards because of the nature of that hit, but it would probably go a long way to eliminating these extremely violent hits that are aimed at killing people.

    • JIMVINNY says:

      Not going to happen. Not with the number of guy who can pound that little piece of rubber over 100 mph. Not with the vital organs that the equipment is protecting.

      The answer is simple. Suspend, for a long time, those guilty of hits like the Torres one last night.

  15. smiler2729 says:

    Don Cherry.

    Love him or hate him, there’s not one hockey fan that wouldn’t want to have a beer with him and talk hockey.

    I did in 1994.

    Let’s just say he’s one of a kind.
    _______________________________________________
    Jack Edwards is a clam, Bruins are gutless weasel pukes.

    • boing007 says:

      Speak for yourself. I’m looking forward to the day when that blowhard will no longer pollute the air waves. Bon débarras!

      Richard R
      Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

      • RGM says:

        Je suis d’accord. He’s an iconic figure and all of that stuff, but I lost all respect for him when he pretended he didn’t even know Pacioretty’s name in the wake of the Chara hit.

        ———————–
        GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is probably not our year!
        “Scott Gomez is an elite NHL player” – VancouverHab

        Chat with me on Twitter @TheRealRGM81

        • smiler2729 says:

          That stuff gets on my nerves, not bothering to pronounce names properly.

          _______________________________________________
          Jack Edwards is a clam, Bruins are gutless weasel pukes.
          The Halakian Jaroslaves’ constant BS make me anti-Halak

    • ZepFan2 says:

      I wouldn’t!

      Any friend of that idiot Rob Ford is no drinking buddy of mine!

      ———————————————————————-
      “I got a feeling, a feeling deep inside” – Lennon/McCartney

      I’ve got a feeling

  16. blu_blanc_rouge says:

    The Bruins are responsible for this out of control, dirty play off hockey…they won the cup playing this way last year.
    Like every year teams try to copy the previous year’s champion.

    I just hope the Habs maintain their traditional and historic style– skill, speed. complimented with size and a few hardnosed players

  17. Hobie Hansen says:

    Message to all fans and reporters that don’t like what is going on in the playoffs: PICK ANOTHER SPORT!

    And like Cherry said, the fans love it.

    So to the minority of people out there, wherever you are, watch baseball, watch women’s hockey or go into the kitchen and make a pot of tea.

    • JohnBellyful says:

      Love it or leave it — the argument that never gets old or makes sense. I take it you’ve never criticized the Canadiens, HIO, the NHL, Canada because if you have …

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        Ya, I’ve criticized the Canadiens for being small and not tough enough?

        I wonder if I was right?

        • LafleurGuy says:

          You were right, but you were probably happy with picking up David Desharnais.

          “May you live in interesting times.”

          • Hobie Hansen says:

            Desharnais is awesome! Small and skilled players are essential but should only make up a certain percentage of your team. And that percentage is not 50%.

        • JohnBellyful says:

          What is it then, a love-hate relationship? Do you still love the team, Hobie, but hate some of the things that it’s doing or has done? What’s it gonna be, another losing season and you’re outta here? Or will you keep following the team, dare to be critical and risk being called disloyal to the club?
          Well, it’s off to work, talk to you later (I say this because I didn’t want to seem rude if you reply and get no immediate response)

          • Hobie Hansen says:

            I just found it funny over the past couple seasons how appalled people were (on HIO) when the Canadiens were getting beaten on the scoreboard and in the corners.

            Every hockey personality in the world was waving their arms in the air saying: MONTREAL IS THE SMALLEST AND SOFTEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE!

            And what happened, the police were called to arrest Chara.

            Finally Staubitz was brought in last year and we’ll see the new GM add a lot more size and toughness, you can write it down. Wait for Tinordi, he’s going to literally destroy people in front of the net. And I’m sure you won’t hear anyone complain around here when that happens.

          • halifaxhab says:

            I love good, CLEAN gritty hockey and even the occasional fight. I loved the Crosby-Giroux cat scratch. But all these injuries are not the result of clean open ice hits. Most are dirty plays where a player deliberately leaves his feet at top speed to crush another player, or worse.

            It is plain discusting to watch some of these guys pull off the dirt they do. I have a hard time watching the playoffs this year because of it. The league and mostly the refs have to make a team hurt for this to keep players that don’t want to hurt their teams to think twice.

            I love Barry Manilow .

            -Scotty Bowman

        • HabFanSince72 says:

          Pick another team. To use your “logic”.


          Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

          • Hobie Hansen says:

            Sorry buddy, I’m more of a Habs and hockey fan than you’ll ever be and I ain’t going anywhere. :-). Especially now that the Smurf era is coming to an end, thank god!

          • NCRhabsfan says:

            Can we take a vote? I vote that Hobie find another team. I hate to think that I like anything he does.

            I’ll be watching to see how Hobie feels about it next season when Desharnais has been seriously injured by some moron hitting him in the head after the whistle or while he’s skating innocently to the bench away from the puck. We’ll see if he loves this brand of hockey after Price is impaled, Subban suffers a broken neck and the third overall pick has undergone career ending knee surgery all because of dirty hits. Maybe Staubitz will beat the offenders up, because that will fix the terrible injuries coming out of those plays. Of course, it is equally likely that he gets beaten up to boot.

            It’s all fun and games when it is the other team’s Marion Hossa getting hurt. We’ll see when it’s the Habs how you feel.

      • ZepFan2 says:

        I always had a soft spot for that moronic saying: “You’re either with us or with the limp wristed pinko lefties”. :roll:

        ———————————————————————-
        “I got a feeling, a feeling deep inside” – Lennon/McCartney

        I’ve got a feeling

    • Cal says:

      Yeah, the monority of fans don’t like what is going on. Sure. They all love cheap, dirty hits that leave players injured. Hell, they can’t wait for the first death seen live by millions. I am certain they are counting the days until it finally happens, so that the NHL can be seen to have descended into Roman gladiator times. It ain’t 300AD. It’s time to get the sh!t out of the game.

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        There’s a handful of players who are rats, we all know that. But more than half of these hits to the head are guys trying to smoke another player, aiming for the shoulder or wherever, and they end up cranking the other player in the chin.

        If you want concussions out of the game than remove open ice hits.

        • canada4l says:

          If you look back to the old time hockey, there were almost no hits to the head. You were taught to stay low and not explode up into the person. The main differences between the hits of now and then is the intent. Back then it was to separate the puck from the puck carrier and make them think twice about going into the dirty areas. Now it is to punish and hurt players.

          I love to see the big CLEAN hits. Shoulder to shoulder, shoulder to chest, or hip to hip. When the head or elbow get involved that has got to go.

    • LafleurGuy says:

      I enjoy the three alternative activities and the NHL playoffs. When violence permanently harms someone, natural instincts and reactions kick in for a lot of us.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Marc10 says:

      It’s not much of a sport when its stars are an endangered species. After how many injuries to elite players do we call time out and re-evaluate where the idiots like Torres are taking this game?

      I think we’re well passed that. I get that you want the game to be physical, but sending guys who don’t have the puck to the hospital with possible brain injuries…? Seriously?! The fans are for that?

      And here I thought the point was to score goals…

    • Jim Edson says:

      Maybe it’s you and your hero Cherry who are the minority who should devote their time to UFC fandom because that’s what you endorse NHL Hockey to be.

      It never will be cause its bad for business, corporate sponsors will run for the hills if your notion of NHL hockey is allowed to go any further.

      Even the NFL has taken strong measures to control cheap shots and dirty hits and it hasn’t effected the physicality of their game at all.

      ———————————————————————-
      What does the Commissioner of the NHL do?

      In short, a league commissioner is the action man for the Board of Governors.

      They tell him what they want done and he works to make it happen through his subordinates while making sure that individual franchises play by the rules.

      ******** Translated if you haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 40 years your NHL team is becoming irrelevant in a sports mad city long behind MLB, NFL and NBA teams, you just tell the commissioner(who you gave a new contract at 7 plus million per) to make it happen and the rules are bent sufficiently to action the command.

    • RGM says:

      Oh Hobie, such a disappointing attitude. I expected better from you. This sort of “if you hate what has become of a sport you use to love, go tea-totalling” mentality is representative of the old-guard, reactionary, and frankly, WRONG, crowd that clamours for blood and guts.
      Those of us that find this garbage to be what it is–garbage–do not want to watch bush league antics and stupidity. We want to watch hockey at its peak: a game of skill and speed that falls within the accepted level of violence of a high-paced contact sport. We all roar with approval when P.K. Subban drills Brad Marchand with a CLEAN AND LEGAL BODYCHECK. We all accept that professional hockey contains within it a level of violence. But there are limits to what is deemed acceptable by many of us. Why? Because we don’t want to see star players’ careers–the players that we ultimately shell out our hard-earned dollars to watch at the games–ended prematurely by some mediocre talent that doesn’t know a backhand top shelf from backwards blueline skating drill. People pay money to see stars like Marian Hossa play hockey. Nobody pays money to see Raffi Torres.
      Perhaps the forward thinking people who love the game of hockey, the Ken Drydens and their ilk that advocate for smart hockey that respects the fact that there is meaningful and dangerous contact in this game, to start telling “the minority of people out there, wherever you are, watch UFC, watch cockfighting or go into the cage and beat each other’s heads in with bare knuckles.” Except we don’t do that. Why? Because we want a respectful and engaging dialogue about how to make the game better. Dismissing people–either as milquetoasts or as barbarians–benefits nobody.

      ———————–
      GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is probably not our year!
      “Scott Gomez is an elite NHL player” – VancouverHab

      Chat with me on Twitter @TheRealRGM81

  18. JF says:

    The violence we’re seeing on the ice is a consequence of two things – the Bruins’ playoff run last year, particularly the final series, in which they were allowed to do pretty much what they wanted, and Brendan Shanahan’s incoherent disciplinary measures throughout the season. Everyone saw the tactics the Bruins used to win the Cup; and everyone saw that similar tactics this season resulted in little more than a tap on the wrist.

    It would actually be quite easy for the NHL to put an end to the vicious hits and cross-checks we’re seeing. Make everything black and white: certain hits are illegal, regardless of the outcome, the circumstances, or the players involved. Make suspensions much longer, with a predetermined number of games for each kind of hit and many more for repeat offenders. As things are, suspensions have little impact because they’re so short and because the criteria used to evaluate the hits seem to vary from case to case. In the past year, the only suspension that made a difference was that of Matt Cooke late last season. He got the rest of the season and the entire playoffs. This season he’s barely taken a penalty; he vowed he would change the way he played, and he’s apparently done it.

    The league could cut down on the violence if it wanted to, but it seems that all the talk, Shanahan’s special committee, and the so-called transparency of explaining his decisions, is so much hot air.

  19. JUST ME says:

    I think that Hulk Hogan sales pitch in Philly says it all…

    As usual it is overkill and because of the NHL`s rules or lack of, we hear opposite comments in the two extremes.

    Some say it`s great hockey ! Even if it is dangerous and getting closer and closer to the edge it does not matter.

    Other are insulted and about to go to confessional to ask for divine intervention and stop that dirty demonstration.

    Open season ? Lack of respect ? Part of the game? Playoff style ? Spectacular? Dangerous?

    A bit of everything but we must never forget that those are the results of a deal between NHLPA and the league itself.If there is a limit of $2500 to the fines that can be given ,there is also a precise list of what to punish and what not to punish and a limit of games suspension that can be applied to the players.

    Just do not know what to think about it. I am not sure that it is geting worst. I think that it is dangerous .I also think it is a result of the league`s overexposure in the medias,a bit of the result of social medias now obvious role also but mostly that as a society we are geting more and more frisky about a lot of things that we use to deal with with no problems in the past.

  20. Jim Edson says:

    The media has a hand in this entire discussion.

    Think back to the days of non-stop fights and bench clearing brawls I seem to recall that the CBC and HNIC had a policy of not showing fights as game highlights and they stuck to it.

    Now every fight, every dirty hit, every cheapshot makes the in-game and post game highlights.

    It has long been known that the editorial content of HNIC is controlled by Maclean so should it be Cherry that gets the heave-ho or better yet Maclean!

    It doesn’t seem that the NHL is remotely interested in doing any quality control over their product as its presented by media contract holders.

    ———————————————————————-
    What does the Commissioner of the NHL do?

    In short, a league commissioner is the action man for the Board of Governors.

    They tell him what they want done and he works to make it happen through his subordinates while making sure that individual franchises play by the rules.

    ******** Translated if you haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 40 years your NHL team is becoming irrelevant in a sports mad city long behind MLB, NFL and NBA teams, you just tell the commissioner(who you gave a new contract at 7 plus million per) to make it happen and the rules are bent sufficiently to action the command.

  21. petefleet says:

    I think Cherry is a bombastic idiot. He’s also right. The reason the dirty hits and lack of respect among players is getting out of hand is because there is very little fighting. Most players don’t want to fight and if there was a good chance of them having to, they would not put themselves in a situation where they had to. The silly rules about fighting in the NHL keep this fear from becoming a reality. Torres should not have been able to get back on the ice without taking a beat down last night from at least one Blackhawk. I am not an advocate for on ice violence but I am old enough to remember that no one took dirty shots at Lafleaur and Shutt without paying for it with there own blood. Like it or not, ponying up for a fight is a deterrent to dirty play….for most players. The Dino Ciccerelli’s of the world will take their chances. The other thing that is exacerbating the problem is that there the punishment is hit or miss; a player has better than a 50/50 chance of going unpunished. The term hockey play is thrown out there by idiots like Lucic and Torres and we are to believe that their actions are honourable because it was a “hockey play”? The state of the NHL is despicable and Sheriff Shanny will not change that until he allows guys like Torres to be beaten on the ice by his peers. The league will take a turn for the better when fighting rules are changed and dirty hit rules are enforced and punished. Cherry is right and he was one of the ones who predicted this kind of behaviour years ago. I hate to give him credit because I disagree with him allot but on this, he’s bang on.
    ******************************************

    “It just goes to show how difficult predictions are, especially ones made about the future.”

    RGM
    ***Habs Forever***

    • NCRhabsfan says:

      So, what you’re saying is the only way to avoid one illegal act is to allow another illegal act? Using that logic, it would be alright for someone to punch your wife in the mouth in the grocery store because she got the last quart of milk because if they weren’t allowed to punch her in the mouth they might stab her or shoot her instead????? It is the dumbest logic ever.

      How about actually enforcing the rules? That’s a novel idea. Does Torres deliver that hit if he knows, and I mean knows with an absolute certainty, that he will be suspended for a lengthy period of time? Better yet, if the NHL were serious about controlling these things, the team would have to dress one less player for the duration of the suspension. Does he deliver that hit when it will result in serious personal loss AND hugely negative consequences for his team? I’m guessing that would be a way better deterrent to Torres than the possibility of having to fight whoever happened to be on the other team. He likes that stuff.

  22. theflower says:

    Attacking Don Cherry is NOT the answer. I have to say my personal opinion on this has not changed and we are seeing the results of this here in the playoff. The day the instigator rule came into effect was the end of respect in hockey. I hate to say it, but if the fighters were kept in the game and allowed to do their job, “beating on people who hit the star players” We would see less of these non-fighters running around with disregard and lack of respect for their opponents, going for the head. I find it sick and disgusting, you get rid of the rules and make it a free for all, every guy is going to go after another guys head, why because everyone is doing it. Players like Raffi Torres should be out of the game, I mean he is a perfect example of a guy who if he got a beat down like in the old days for his first attempt to decapitate somebody would end up a non factor today as he would be forced to change his game or suffer the consequences. As it is, putting Hossa on a stretcher is an easy choice to make, because there is no cost. In the long run if he gets suspended, the Hawks lose Hossa for who knows how long and that makes his vicious hit worth it and could cost Chicago the series. I know the media wants peaceful, skilled hockey, but I agree the fans love the fighting, but that is not the problem, the dirty hits are. I do think however, we have gone too far now and open season is here to stay, everyone is a potential victim as long as you have a weapon in your hand and you are allowed to freely go around using it. Bring back the fighters and the dump the instigator rule and I think you will find these ridiculous attacks will go down.

    • Welks says:

      Some items that also apply is the equipment now in use by most players. Back in the late 70s when I started all the equipment like shoulder pads and elbow pads had very little plastic and were mostly foam. You wouldn’t see players running around blasting people because your shoulder would pop out and the pain would be excruciating. In the 80’s you see the all plastic and engineered like bridges shoulder pads like football pads that dispersed the energy around the body. Now they are even more advanced. No more pain or chance of injury to the hitter, then you can blast the target. That is when checking became less about separating the opponent from the puck and more about separating the opponent from his head.

  23. shootdapuck says:

    Cherry’s motivation is purely selfish and financial.

    If fighting/violent mayhem was made illegal in the NHL where would Cherry get the fodder for his “rockem sockem” video series, the millions they make him and employment/income it provides his kid!

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      Nah, Cherry speaks from the heart. He couldn’t give a rat’s ass if he got fired. He’s told the CBC to fire him on several occasions if they don’t like what he says.

      • shootdapuck says:

        His heart is driven by what?

        Need for self ingratiation and an audience?

        See how long he lasts when the CBC loses their contract in 2014 and nobody pays him a Rats A_s of attention.

        =================================================
        The cerebral insight of PJ Stock:

        “Le problem est Markov n’a pas jouer un seul game cette annee”
        “Louis Leblanc est un kid locale”

        • Hobie Hansen says:

          He’d probably retire cuz he’s getting old but if he was interested in working there is zero doubt that TSN and Sportsnet would be trying to outbid each other to employ him

          • Jim Edson says:

            Not if the NHL has anything to say about it!

            Buttman etal are holding the strings controlling the media contracts and its already apparent that the league is not impressed by either Cherry or Maclean.

            Just remember all these networks will have to kiss some serious ass to get the NHL Canadian TV contract and with the current state of affairs dumping or blocking Cherry’s involvement as a contract clause is not impossible to imagine.

            In days of government budget cutbacks the only thing which could possibly assist the CBC keeping their NHL contract is government intervention based on a “cultural” argument that HNIC is a fabric of Canadian culture. They cannot compete financially.

            Send Cherry to NESN to commiserate with his pals Milbury, Kluzak and Jack Edwards.

            ———————————————————————-
            What does the Commissioner of the NHL do?

            In short, a league commissioner is the action man for the Board of Governors.

            They tell him what they want done and he works to make it happen through his subordinates while making sure that individual franchises play by the rules.

            ******** Translated if you haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 40 years your NHL team is becoming irrelevant in a sports mad city long behind MLB, NFL and NBA teams, you just tell the commissioner(who you gave a new contract at 7 plus million per) to make it happen and the rules are bent sufficiently to action the command.

        • boing007 says:

          Cherry is King Troll.

          Richard R
          Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

  24. The Cat says:

    And honestly, if you think the ratings are because of NBC’s quality broadcast more than the violence…Until theres a study or poll, I know theres no evidence that its because of the violence, but theres also no evidence that its because of the quality of the telecast.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

    • Cal says:

      How about the evidence that NBC is promoting the Playoffs to the nth degree? And showing games every night?

      • Clay says:

        Advertising works.

        __________________________
        ☞ Wow, that’s a nice lookin’ pair of Crocs!” Said no one ever.☜

      • The Cat says:

        Could be, but until theres a proven correlation, nobody knows, do they?

        [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

        • Clay says:

          There is already a proven positive correlation between the amount of advertising and the popularity of a product.

          __________________________
          ☞ Wow, that’s a nice lookin’ pair of Crocs!” Said no one ever.☜

          • The Cat says:

            Advertizing doesnt work equally in all cases. Results of Product X won’t necessarily equal the results of Product Y…All Hackel is doing is assuming, just like those are assuming its cause of the rough stuff.

            [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  25. Cal says:

    Write on, Stu!
    When will arenas in Canada resound with “FIRE CHERRY”?

  26. VancouverHab says:

    Mr. Hackel’s defense of his own kind here — call it ‘Scribblers’ Revenge’ — demonstrates nothing so much as the degree to which Mr. Cherry’s telling riposte struck home. For, silence the jobbing journalists, and the noises about on hockey “violence” go down to a dull whimper. There is as a matter of empirical fact an intense concentration of Church Lady-ness among journalists who write on hockey (Mr. Jack Todd in fact is a very bluestocking), for they like to think themselves ‘enlightened’ and ‘progressive’.

    And remember: the epidemic of headshots and concussions in the NHL today was predicted by Mr. Cherry — predicted and bemoaned — almost two decades ago in precise and specific terms.

    Here is an irony indeed: the pack of Journalists and their fellow-travellers pushed for changes to hockey which Don Cherry and his fellow-travellers protested as certain to increase concussions and other severe injuries. And, lo!, when the journalists’ changes were implemented and the baneful effects that Don Cherry predicted came to pass, the journalists responded–as the precious Mr. Hackel has responded here–….by blaming Don Cherry!

    “Power without responsibility: the perogative of the harlot in every Age.”

    • Clay says:

      Aren’t you the guy who thinks Gomez is a good player?

      __________________________
      ☞ Wow, that’s a nice lookin’ pair of Crocs!” Said no one ever.☜

      • Marc10 says:

        Not just a good player… apparently he’s our first line center according to VH. Nuff said, eh!

      • The Cat says:

        I dont see what that has to do with anything. But if were going to get into that, Id like to point out that the majority of the peanut gallery here at HIO were not in favour of a Gomez-Spezza trade at the beginning of the year.

        [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

        • Clay says:

          What it has to do with is simply this – I question the judgement of anyone who still thinks that Scott Gomez is a good hockey player.
          Besides that, his entire post was a defence of Don Cherry and mindless violence – which also leads me to question his judgement.

          I’m not sure who wouldn’t have traded Gomez for Spezza, but I wasn’t in that group. I would trade him for a used Kleenex, now, or from the moment Gainey’s folly was traded here.

          __________________________
          ☞ Wow, that’s a nice lookin’ pair of Crocs!” Said no one ever.☜

          • The Cat says:

            I understand. And I know the series are not over yet, but if we were to give less cred to those who said Pitts and VAN would go to the finals, HIO’d be a quiet place. I know at his salary hes got to produce, but I also seen too many offensive players die in Montreal, and with a couple of proper tweaks, who knows, it may get Gomez going, just like Spezza this year.

            [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

      • RGM says:

        Not just a “good player,” but “an elite NHL player.”

        ———————–
        GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is probably not our year!
        “Scott Gomez is an elite NHL player” – VancouverHab

        Chat with me on Twitter @TheRealRGM81

      • HardHabits says:

        Ad hominem. VH thinks Gomez is good and since Gomez sucks all of his arguments are therefore erroneous. I thought you were better than resorting to that kind of cheap insinuation. With that reply you are no better than the rest of the drive by commenters here.

        Respond to his comments Clay.

        • Clay says:

          Yes, guilty as charged – ad hominem indeed. For the record, I don’t pretend to be better than anyone. I don’t usually respond to VancouverHab, because he and I never see eye to eye. As for saying that ‘Cherry was right”, and thus, by implication, everyone else was wrong – this is a ridiculous statement. But here is why I think so, if you must know.
          It was a common opinion but MANY – I would even go so far as to say ‘MOST’ – media pundits that the instigator rule would have this effect. In fact, I was involved in many such discussions with friends long before I ever heard of HIO, and this was a general consensus. The instigator rule is flawed. So yes, Cherry had it right – but so did a host of others…and his solution was way off.
          So what is the solution? To end the instigator rule? This is what Cherry wants, but I think not, as fighting needs to be eventually eliminated from the game. The solution is to have the league disciplinary people (Shanny et.all) step up and get tough on people who target the head. Start with 10 game suspensions, and move up from there. Second offense, 30 games. Third, one season. One more? Gone for life. People will swiftly get the message, and this shit will stop happening. One game and a $2500 fine is no deterrent to millionaires.
          Or…we could just leave it like it is, and watch all the stars knocked out of the game, and all enjoy the marginal players playing for the cup. I know which one I prefer.

          __________________________
          ☞ Wow, that’s a nice lookin’ pair of Crocs!” Said no one ever.☜

    • The Cat says:

      Good post. I remember that prediction by Cherry. Frankly, the media is more to blame for the state of hockey than Cherry.

      [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

    • HardHabits says:

      Very good post VH. And I think Gomez sucks. ;-)

    • boing007 says:

      VancouverHab,
      Jack ‘Bluestocking’ Todd was born and raised in rural Nebraska.

      Richard R
      Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

    • boing007 says:

      Speaking of ‘enlightened’, Mr. Cherry is about as enlightened as a pocket flashlight.

      Richard R
      Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

  27. The Cat says:

    Im not going to debate the goonery, but why does the media seem to want to make it their problem to solve? Why care about it so much, its the NHLs problem not the media’s.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  28. Clay says:

    The violence this playoffs is a direct by-product of last year’s playoffs. The Bruins were allowed to run roughshod with absolutely NO repercussions from the league (“Thanks daddy!”, says Gregory Campbell). It payed off – they won the cup. This is now the model that teams must follow to win.
    That is, until the league grows some balls and starts to take steps to keep players safe. Head shots have no place in hockey. They should be swiftly and severely punished, no matter if the victim is injured or not. This one to 3 game suspension BS – when there is even a suspension at all – isn’t helping at all.

    __________________________
    ☞ Wow, that’s a nice lookin’ pair of Crocs!” Said no one ever.☜

  29. Hobie Hansen says:

    The one thing that cherry is correct about is that the players and coaches see the game in a completely different way than the reporters and the minority amount of fans who protest the violence.

    Guaranteed the players on the Coyotes all went over and tapped Torres on the shin pads in the dressing room after he smoked Hossa. Yes it was a dirty hit and he left his feet but his teammates are happy because he just gave them a better chance to win. They don’t care about Hossa unless asked about it on television.

    In the NFL, the coach who got suspended for telling his players to injure the other team is an example of the extreme but that is the kind of stuff that goes on in the locker room in a violent sport. You can guarantee NHL coaches are not quite crossing that line but are telling players like Asham and Torres to hit to hurt.

    These players play for millions of dollars and have all seen hundreds of injuries before and it comes with the territory. They are quite aware of the risks and are more than willing to take them.

    People sitting at their desks and playing armchair quarterback often forget that all these players are jacked up with adrenaline and full of testosterone and ready kill when they step on the ice. Things on the ice happen in a split second and the same rules and regulations that are set in place in everyday life mean nothing on the ice.

    Take the UFC for example, it is ultra violent and there are concussions handed out every night. 60,000 people packed the Rogers Centre to see it and millions watch on television. They cheer when someone gets knocked out, nobody cares!

    And if people don’t believe the high ratings are because of all the violence they’re living in a fantasy world. People tune into golf or baseball for a nice relaxing game and if they want to watch something violent that gets their blood flowing they tune into hockey or football.

    Pretty much every person I spoke to over the weekend, mostly casual hockey fans, were going bananas over the Ottawa and Pittsburgh games because of all the excitement and violence.

    It sucks when a player gets hurt and I really dislike players like Asham and Torres but if somebody thinks that violence in hockey doesn’t massively boost ratings and add a ton of excitement, they’re out to lunch.

    • chemic says:

      so baseball isnt a violent sport? im pretty sure there were more bench clearing brawls on the grass over the last 10 years than on the ice in those major leagues. and dont get me started on the issue when the pitcher hits the batter on the shoulder “accidental” with 90mph straight!

    • Cal says:

      The protests are against the kinds of hits that Torres delivered last night. They aren’t against hard hitting hockey and fights resulting from that; they are against players being injured- especially players that can score- without anything but a slap on the wrist from the league.
      My answer would be this: if you injure a player so he can’t play with an illegal hit, you are suspended until that player can return to play. That would be more just than the sh!t the NHL has been delivering, especially during the Pens-Flyers series.

  30. Marc10 says:

    Yep. It’s open season on star players and no amount of gooning or thuggery is going to keep that genie bottled.

    You could have a whole 4th line of thugs and they couldn’t keep guys like Torres from taking aim an inflicting pain at the best players.

    The only way a star player is safe is if he’s an all star in a giant frame with the ability to dish it out (Weber, Chara…)

    Goaltending + skill should favour your team… Now it’s goaltending + head hunting.


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