A good TV host knows that people agreeing with one another makes boring television. Perhaps that explains why Ron MacLean played the contrarian Saturday on Hockey Night In Canada. Against a storm of opposition from Don Cherry and others on Hockey Night, MacLean defended former Ontario chief justice Roy McMurtry, whose legal opinion advocating termination of former NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly for cause was leaked to the media last week. When the NHLPA was reminded of how Kelly had put McMurtry's pal Alan Eagleson in jail (and more), it quickly distanced itself from the decision.
But MacLean was still exonerating McMurtry on Saturday - even after Cherry's scathing description of the NHLPA's actions on Coach's Corner. "[To keep Kelly]waiting in the hall 'til 4 a.m., bring him back in and fire him, gotta do it that night, couldn't do it the next day," Cherry roared. "When I hear somebody's fired quick like that, something fishy's going on. … It's terrible the way they treated him. They should be ashamed of themselves."
Cherry then lambasted the dissidents who unseated Kelly for not knowing McMurtry's conflicts in his lengthy ties to Eagleson.
That's when MacLean tried to play down the McMurtry conflicts as simply being over two tickets to Wimbledon that Eagleson had given him. "It seems a little unfair … it's not Roy's fault," MacLean offered. "There's more [than that] lots more," Cherry roared. "We all know [Kelly]had a lousy business plan," rebutted MacLean. "How do you know?" shot back Cherry. "We all know," said MacLean, citing malcontent Eric Lindros as a source for his insider knowledge. Cherry again bridled at MacLean's defence of the current NHLPA administration's competence.
The second barrel of abuse was unloaded at MacLean during the Hot Stove segment when Mike Milbury, Glenn Healy and Al Strachan questioned MacLean's unswerving opinion that McMurtry's integrity was beyond reproach. "How do you know what Roy McMurtry would do and what he wouldn't do?" asked Strachan, who described Eagleson as malaria who keeps coming back. Milbury railed against MacLean's loyalty to the current NHLPA executives who unseated Kelly. "They need an organizational enema. Flush them all out."
When MacLean persisted that the McMurtry ties to Eagleson were flimsy, former NHLPA executive Healy (who resigned after Kelly was fired) scoffed at the notion. "There's 15 books on the shelves all about [McMurtry's conflicts]" Healy said. The new Hockey Night analyst also reminded MacLean that Lindros was in violation of his confidentiality oath if he was squealing to MacLean about the union's private business before quitting the NHLPA this past February.
No doubt MacLean will be getting a crash course on Eagleson from a Boston-area address very soon. Perhaps the second most stunning revelation of the night: Usual Suspects and Don Cherry agreeing on something. Next stop: the Apocalypse.
Kirk Maltby of the Detroit Red Wings drew a penalty Friday for interfering with St. Louis Blues winger B.J. Crombeen in a game in Sweden. As he settled his fanny in the penalty box, Maltby let go a very audible expletive to the referees.
Working the game back in Canada, Gord Miller apologized for the outburst, then added, "I guess that ends the Swedish experiment of miking the penalty boxes."
Fun And The Games
What's that saying? No one should ever see the making of law and the making of sausage?
As the International Olympic Committee showed last week in awarding the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro, sausage makers have nothing on the IOC when it comes to unholy processes.
There was an insidious genius on the TV front as the IOC princes stiffed Chicago while pumping the tires of Juan Antonio Samaranch (Madrid second???) once again.
Rio is just one time zone ahead of New York, giving Jacques Rogge and the Fun Bunch prime time in the United States without the hassle of dealing with the U.S. Olympic Committee. And just in time for the IOC to market the U.S. TV rights to the 2014 and 2016 Games this year.
With more than half the IOC's TV revenues coming from the United States, the lords of the rings will get their kuchen and the chance to eat it - all while laughing at the Yanks.
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