Even big tough hockey guys have a soft spot for plush octopi

As many outlets have noted recently, it appears as though the CBC is being pushed to move on without their primary hockey attraction, Don Cherry. What happens from here on out will definitely be interesting to see.

With CBC’s NHL contract currently being renegotiated, it appears as though Cherry will need to have a diminished role within the broadcasts for the deal to go through without difficulty. However, for all of his detractors, Cherry remains very popular in the grand scheme of things. He is a uniquely polarizing character in many ways and the prospect of Hockey Night in Canada running without his usual segment just feels… well, off.

There have been some very compelling defense of Cherry in recent weeks, chief among them was found at this very blog. From a business perspective I can’t even imagine the type of figures CBC brings in from the advertising revenue tied with Coach’s Corner and it would be tough to relinquish those. From the standpoint of content, there is the argument to be made that Cherry’s shtick has gotten tired, but that argument holds for the entire HNIC brand as a whole in my view.

Beyond some great work done by Elliotte Friedman each week – I really believe he’s the gem on that program – the show itself needs a serious overhaul.

A quick scan through social media avenues indicates that fans are very frustrated with many aspects of HNIC. The analysts rarely add true insight to the games that evening or to the league picture at large, commentators (one in particular between the benches is especially relevant to this) are exasperating, Ron Maclean has become a caricature of himself.

On one hand the loss of Cherry would be huge for the current incarnation of HNIC, but the fact remains that the current incarnation has fallen behind. What used to be the benchmark hockey program each week has slowly become equal parts live broadcasting and unintentional comedy.

While I will certainly miss the day when Coach’s Corner is no longer on my television during the first intermission, its absence may ultimately be the tipping point required to spawn a much needed overhaul of program at-large.

Do you think HNIC should muzzle or axe Don Cherry?