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?

Comments (15)

  1. Does it not seem as though the CBC has quietly changed its mandate to feature less hockey and sports in general? If you consider our government’s position on reducing spending and identifying the CBC as an area that may not be the best spent tax dollars, maybe the CBC is just preparing to get out of the game

  2. Elliott is boring he was boring at the score he will always be boring .. i understand why u would plug his name because he use to work at the score , “Beyond some great work done by Elliotte Friedman each week – I really believe he’s the gem on that program” that’s laughable and totally bias.

    Yes Cherry does rant sometimes about useless babel but so does every politic power in Canada and anywhere else i might add. but we listen and critique what they say , and that’s what makes coaches corner so great because no matter who they put on in the 1st inter they wont get much love as maclean and cherry cause they entertain .. if they want to change a thing or two fine . but canceling coaches corner would be stupid .. give it another 5 -10 years then maybe .. but for now ,, they are the right ppl for the job .. Cherry has a good hockey sense .. and tons of his ideas are good .. he points out safety concerns ..etc etc .. anyways ..


  3. @Jordan, Friedman is well-connected and offers actual insights into the behind-the-scenes aspects of the game. You should read his 30 Thoughts each week on cbc.ca if you’re not already doing so.

    As for Cherry, his time is obviously done. I honestly think, no offense, that CBC is simply waiting for him to decide to step down, or pass on.

  4. I still have confidence in Cherry as a commentator….he adds a lot to the game which other yes boys don’t…..I never agreed with CBC having been subsidized by our tax dollar…if they can’t stand on their own legs than fold….other networks will gladly step in. If CBC folds which I think they should, the Saturday night games should be shared between TSN and Sportsnet. Ron Mclean, PJ Stock, Andi Petrello, and Eliot Freidman (sorry for the spelling),will be picked up by those networks anyways……..who really watches CBC for other programming other than hockey. Not this fella. It’s time to start a new tradition….the old is costing us tax payers too much money

  5. Here we go again they tried before to get him out. There`s to many plusses to get rid of him.

  6. This conversation happens twice a season. Don Cherry is not going anywhere.

  7. For me, the problem is not just Don Cherry but the poor quality of HNIC overall. I will miss neither. Having said that, I am compelled to admit that although I am from the West Coast and rarely watch the early broadcast, I always try to tune in to see how Don Cherry will horrify me this week.

  8. I say we hold a national referendum to see if Don stays or go…….do the Canadian peoples not own the CBC ?

  9. Cherry’s a clown, but clowns can make for good TV, which he does.

    Maclean fails completely at being the straight man in the duo, though. I watch coach’s corner to see what stupid thing the senile idiot will say, but often find myself baffled and distracted by Maclean’s little under-the-breath addendums, many of which are dumber than what the guy in the clown suit whose job is to say dumb things just said.

  10. The thing about Cherry being a draw is overstated. The Globe broke down HNIC’s viewership numbers and people tune out CC in large numbers these days. Most hockey fans, and Canadians in general, are too sophisticated these days for his archaic schtick.

    Let him go host a show on SunTV. That’s the only place he’d actually raise the level of discourse.

    • Stephen,

      Are’nt you the snob. I don’t think you should think you speak for the majority of Canadians.
      State what you think without assuming that everyone is thinking the same as you. Who would want to anyways.

      I enjoy watching Coaches Corner. It is entertaining and refreshing that a TV personality speaks his mind without being cens.ored by the “polically correct” that seems to limit free speach in this country

  11. Let’s just say, if Don Cherry was to leave or get fired from CBC, TSN, ESPN NBC, FOX SPORTS, ETC. would be at his door offering him a contract. (and yes most likely THE SCORE also.)

    • The Score? Why would The Score bother hiring Cherry? Does The Score have any original sports programming, particularly hockey? The Score is great for highlights, but beyond that it is a useless channel on my tv. Unless of course I’m in the mood to watch basketball, soccer or poker. Yay.

  12. I have been a HNIC watcher for many years. I now live overseas but still get HNIC. It is a great show other than its obvious Toronto bias (which will never change). Cherry is a rascist moron and always has been. I don’t think anyone takes him seriously and he can be entertaining in minor doses. I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. A few minor tweaks are needed but it is a much emulated (see Football Day in America on NBC) Canadian institution that we should be proud of.

  13. Cherry needs to stay. Yeah he says some odd ball stuff but his coaching commentary is spot on and I find it ads depth to the game. I always take note then watch for his analysis like pinching defenders, breaking up plays etc. Yeah he can be polarizing but he’s pretty near the only polarizing figure we have in Canada besides our greasy politicians.

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