Archive for the ‘Don Cherry’ Category


Following a defeat at the hands of their bitter rivals in Vancouver on April 22nd, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith was interviewed by Karen Thomson for Team 1040 radio. She asked Keith specifically about a two-handed slash to the back of Canucks forward Daniel Sedin after he scored Vancouver’s third goal of the game. Keith condescendingly suggested that no such incident happened.

Oh, no. I don’t think there was. I think he scored a nice goal, and that’s what the ref saw. Maybe we should get you as a ref maybe, eh? The first female referee. Can’t play probably either, right? But you’re thinking the game, like you know it? Yeah, see ya.

Demeaning and unprofessional? Certainly. Sexist? I’m not entirely sure.

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tabler-buck-july-16Last weekend, Rogers Sportsnet executed its plan to broadcast the first Toronto Blue Jays game of their Spring Training schedule. The response from viewers was as overwhelming as the network’s coverage, which included the full fleet of presenters, announcers and on-field reporters. More than 2-million Canadians tuned into the team’s exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers at some point during the broadcast, with an average viewership of more than 450,000.

To put that number in context, more people in Canada watched a Spring Training game involving the Blue Jays than they did Game Two of the NLCS between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. In fact, averaging 450,000 viewers would be an impressive number for a regular season game between Toronto and Detroit.

Despite a drop off at the end of last season, television ratings for Blue Jays games have been on a consistent rise over the last two seasons. Following this off-season’s roster bolstering, excitement among Canadians for the country’s only Major League product is higher than its been in some time. The addition of marketable players like R.A. Dickey and Jose Reyes has only served to add momentum to the following that Jose Bautista and Canadian Brett Lawrie garnered last season.

Shortly after the impressive Spring Training debut, Rogers Sportsnet announced that it would be broadcasting five additional Spring Training games on FX Canada. While the cynics among us immediately wondered if Rogers wasn’t once again using the lure of its baseball content to encourage increased subscriptions to additional cable tiers, doubts were quelled by the fact that Rogers cable subscribers would be enjoying a free preview of the network that represents a partnership between majority owner and managing partner, Rogers Media, and minority partner, FX Networks.

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Darren Rovell At The NBA Store

The flock gets sight of a spot of blood on some chicken and they all go to peckin’ at it, see, till they rip the chicken to shreds, blood and bones and feathers. But usually a couple of the flock gets spotted in the fracas, then it’s their turn. And a few more gets spots and gets pecked to death, and more and more. Oh, a peckin’ party can wipe out the whole flock in a matter of a few hours, buddy, I seen it. A mighty awesome sight.

- One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

An increased hostility toward ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell has erupted during the fortnight following Will Leitch’s column for Sports On Earth, in which the former Deadspin editor likened the self-branded social media expert to sleet, a foul smell on the subway and pop-up spam (and that’s just the first paragraph). Its begun the human equivalent to a modern day hen pecking.

Leitch pointed out something that several among us felt to be true – Rovell’s commodification of the human experience in sports through corporate shilling – but perhaps couldn’t quite express in the same terms as the writer’s recent piece. This spotting of blood produced a reaction with more pecking from the public.

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BDhln-HCAAAUR_IThere exists a strange sort of arrogance in Canadian culture. It’s one that helps us feel a meager measure of superiority over our larger, louder, more populous and far less concerned neighbors to the South. It’s one that values the idea of a cultural mosaic above that of a melting pot, and it imagines that such a hierarchy of values rings true in the hearts of every Canadian. It’s one that says:

Hey there, Mr. and Mrs. Immigrant, there’s a nice little place for you right here in the collective stained glass window of our nation.

It’s patently false. We’re a country of ignorant and stupid morons who discriminate against people with differences just like every other nation on earth. What’s so maddening to me about Canada’s xenophobia is that a) I live in this country and not others, where I’m sure I’d be equally disturbed by it; b) That we imagine ourselves to be so high above something that we’re not; and c) The continued platform given to Don Cherry by Canada’s national broadcasting network.

On the Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, Gurdeep Ahluwalia and Nabil Karim hosted TSN’s Sports Centre (notice the “re” instead of the “er”), as they did once before in March of 2012. Both Ahluwalia and Karim have brown-colored skin. This, to many Canadian sports fans who are used to seeing the white-colored skin of Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole was cause to take to social media and express off-colored jokes.

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The Super Bowl is the Super Bowl of sports broadcasts. Everything about the spectacle is enormous, and spectators have come to expect that enormity along with everything that goes with it. Less than three per cent of Americans claim to be fans of the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers, and yet more than ten times that percentage of the United States watched last night’s game. It’s a sporting event that goes beyond the classification of a mere distraction and enters into the realm of cultural significance.

A successful broadcast of such a happening is a fake wizard that doesn’t get noticed. An unsuccessful exhibition of the spectacle will keep Toto barking for hours. Unfortunately for CBS, it didn’t take a yappy dog for tens of millions of viewers  to be made painfully aware of the machinations of the television broadcast throughout the network’s six hours of coverage.

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Following the conclusion of the NHL labor dispute, the curiosity of hockey fans shifted from the specifics of a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players to questioning its own reaction to the sport’s return. Would hockey fans come back to the game after the NHL lockout led to the cancellation of almost half of the regular season schedule? Would there be a backlash for the long, drawn out and at times, bitter labor dispute that resulted in foolishly minimal alterations to proposals at the very beginning of negotiations?

Last week, we briefly posited the idea that it was in the Canadian sports media’s best interest to report that hockey fans are back in droves because the livelihood and occupational success of many journalists depend on interest in what’s happening in the NHL. However, any talk of self-serving media conspiracy theories were quickly quashed once the television ratings for the first few games of the season were released.

More than a quarter of Canada’s population watched a portion of the opening night broadcast of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens game – the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference from the previous season - on Hockey Night In Canada. On average, 3.3 million people watched the game. It was record viewership for a regular season game in that time slot. In fact, records were set in all three of the broadcast’s time slots, with an average of 1.49 million viewers for HNIC’s 3 PM ET Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets premiere, and 1.47 million for the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks game.

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Shannon Sharpe of CBS Sports was shocked and appalled that New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick would dare to avoid his network’s sideline reporters following the team’s AFC Championship Game loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night.

There’s something to be said about being gracious in defeat. We’ve seen the New England Patriots five times in the last 12 years be victorious [in the AFC championship game). We've seen the opposing coaches who lost come out and talk to our Steve Tasker. Coach [Bill] Cowher did it when they lost to them, we saw this last week. Bill Belichick makes it real easy for you to root against the Patriots. You can’t be a poor sport all the time. You’re not going to win all the time, and he does this every time he loses. It’s unacceptable.

Sharpe’s comments might have carried more weight if even a single viewer of Sunday evening’s NFL coverage noticed that Belichick wasn’t interviewed. Or if, for once – just once – something of any interest to anyone was to be asked of a head coach following a football game. Instead, Belichick revealed himself to be one of the 7 billion people on earth who don’t enjoy talking about their failures, and for this Sharpe, in the parlance of our times, called him out.

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