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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Welcome to the States, Mr. Cherry

NBC announced that commentator Don Cherry will join the station's lineup for its Stanley Cup coverage. In light of Don Imus' problems for his infamous statement, is this really a good idea by NBC?

Cherry has been an outspoken commentator and beloved by many Canadians for his work during intermissions on "Coach's Corner" during telecasts of the Canadian Broadcasting Company's "Hockey Night in Canada." Cherry's comments often stir up deep emotions, especially in Quebec.

"A lot of people have written that what I say up here in Canada I would never get away with it down in the States," said Cherry. "I'll just go on and do what I have to do.

"In the States, they wanted me to go on one time in Pittsburgh. Jaromir Jagr, it was when he had long hair and he was with Mario Lemieux and I said, 'There's Mario and his daughter.' It didn't go over too good. That was my last time in the States."

I don't recall Cherry ever saying anything to the level that Imus said, but he's not afraid to speak his mind, and he has his critics.

Cherry will be partnered with former player Brett Hull for his segments.

"He tells it like it is," Hull said of Cherry. "If they did it on a regular basis, he would be just as popular down here as he is up there. Part of the thing that's missing, not with just hockey, but in all coverage in the American sports world, is some personality. I think that's why you see a guy like Terry Bradshaw, as popular as he is.

"He's not just Mr. P.C., going, 'That was a nice catch and throw.'"

Since he isn't Mr. P.C., I wonder how long of a leash NBC will give him.


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