December 20, 2009
Please recall the harsh criticism "Hockey Night in Canada" bloviator Don Cherry received from the venerable Dr. Charles Tator, a Toronto neurosurgeon, who said Cherry was a "negative influence" on hockey and that the "aggressive, lack-of-respect hockey that he preaches" is a catalyst for head injuries.
As a hockey commentator, Tator's a heck of a neurosurgeon: Cherry has been consistently a "player responsibility" guy when it comes to reckless hits, discussing either the hitter or the victim.
So Cherry was offended when Tator's criticism became front-page news in Canada, and he used his Coaches' Corner bully pulpit to strike back last night:
(Note: Full video at CBC Sports, which doesn't allow its video player to embed on other sites.)
As usual, Cherry's response to public criticism is more shtick than anything else, but his point is take: Tator was criticizing Don Cherry in theory rather than reality, and the reality is that Cherry has been more active in discouraging dangerous hits than his critics believe.
Naturally, Cherry transitioned into a controversial commentary about head shots, claiming Mike Green(notes) of the Washington Capitals deserved responsibility for an injurious cheap shot by David Koci(notes) of the Colorado Avalanche because (a) he should have known Koci was on the ice in a blowout and (b) he left himself vulnerable behind the net.