Don Cherry's participation as a featured analyst on ESPN's SportsCenter has already paid dividends for the network. His diagnosis of the Detroit Red Wings' attendance problems -- that Detroit is a "redneck town" -- has earned him blogosphere scorn and a MSM smack down, with columnist Pat Caputo of the Daily Register claiming that Cherry's act "borders on bigotry." Cherry's first SportsCenter rant (video) had over 100 ESPN.com users voting on its quality and a slew more commenting on the controversy.
So it was with great anticipation that we tuned in last night to see Cherry's take on Game 2 (video) of the Philadelphia Flyers/Pittsburgh Penguins series, as well as on Dallas Stars forward Mike Ribeiro's slash on Chris Osgood. Cherry talked about Evgeni Malkin being invisible, Danny Briere (pronounced "Beer-air" by Cherry) getting knocked around by the Penguins, the controversial replay review of what could have been a Pittsburgh goal, and then the Ribeiro situation.
To use complicated blog terminology, Cherry's rant was rather "meh." In fact, the only portion of it that made us chuckle was his agitation over the Penguins' disallowed goal, as Cherry criticized the Mellon Arena's ice crew for helping to make it inconclusive. "When did they paint the goal line across there? 1992?" he said, as ESPN's John Buccigross laughed. But when the clip was uploaded to ESPN.com this morning (video), that section wasn't included. Comments about the series shifting to Philadelphia -- which weren't even aired during Cherry's SportsCenter hit last night -- made the cut; Cherry's rant about the disallowed goal, seen here via Red Lasso, did not.
We're not exactly frequent viewers of ESPN.com's video content; does the WWL have a habit of remixing interviews for its Web site? Shouldn't there be a disclaimer for fans who assume they're getting the same Don Cherry that SportsCenter viewers watched? Or did Cherry's strange request that ESPN "should put the line across" the goal-crease disqualify his comments? We all know how much the WWL frowns upon self-reference (you can stop laughing now). Whatever the case, it's curious that hockey's designated pot-stirrer's comments about Game 2's most controversial moment weren't deemed newsworthy enough for ESPN.com.