It’s nothing new to see and hear Hockey Night in Canada announcers pronounce their undying love for the Maple Leafs. It’s a bit sickening but it’s nothing new.
In fact, it’s been going on since Don Cherry was young and possibly humble.
On Saturday night, broadcasters Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson, whom I thought were generally fair-minded up until then, might as well have waved Leafs flags as they called the action below.
Throughout the night they praised the Leafs so much, I started wondering how far up Yonge Street the Stanley Cup parade will go.
One of the two said something about how Brandon Prust must be afraid of Dion Phaneuf, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. It had to be a joke. Everyone knows Phaneuf fights like Ron Maclean.
And I’ve been sick so maybe I was hallucinating and just thought I heard it.
Glenn Healy down at ice level mentioned that the Leafs can’t let Montreal get a point so it better not go to overtime. But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt too and say he was just stating a fact. But it sounded terrible.
There were lots of examples. Unfortunately, I didn’t write them down.
How about P.J Stock, the Einstein of the airwaves. Carey Price was fantastic in Ottawa, it was said to him. But he did let in four goals, squawked P.J., and which is nonsensical.
The guy can barely talk, and yet he’s a HNIC analyst.
I checked Wikipedia and this was said about P.J. when he was on CHOM FM’s morning show in 2010. “He brought a comedic element to the show by attempting to interview his family’s hamster, Richard Gere.”
Must have been fine and outstanding humour.
Ron Maclean in Lloydminster for Hockey Day in Canada was his usual hokey self. Maclean became a HNIC star years ago because he was able to come up with quick thinking little puns on a regular basis when he and Don Cherry would sign off Coach’s Corner.
He’s rode the coattails of that one particular talent for years.
Cherry, also in Lloydminster, arrived at the rink in a chauffeur-driven car with a slew of mounties waiting to escort him into the arena. Like a king. King of the world.
Announced by Maclean as “Coach of the Year in the American Hockey League. Coach of the Year in the NHL. Seventh all-time most popular Canadian.”
And then Cherry kind of elbowed aside a woman when he was about to walk the red carpet, where he strolled along blessing the faithful.
Cherry, during Coach’s Corner, talked about P.K. Subban’s celebration after scoring the game-winner in overtime in Ottawa, and how P.K. shouldn’t do that. Others, including Sens goaltender Craig Anderson, have whined about the same thing.
They’re all put out about this. But there was certainly a good reason for P.K’s exuberance, which doesn’t seem to be mentioned.
The Canadiens were badly outplayed in Ottawa. They’d blown a 3-0 lead. It was only Carey Price keeping them in it, and in the third period, they tied the game on a flukey goal. A flukey goal that kept them in it even though they should’ve been losing by a country mile.
And then P.K. won it in overtime. A most unlikely win if there ever was one.
That wasn’t a goal to be cool and calm about. It was a huge mother of a goal, he saved the day for his team in dramatic fashion, and the celebration was justified.
Personally, though, I want to thank the original HNIC crew for being so pro-Leafs. Because of that reason, they made me what I am today – a Habs fan. I think I owe Foster Hewit and his cronies a sincere debt of gratitude.
Growing up in Orillia, an hour and a half north of Toronto, it was only Leafs games we would get on TV. My dad would constantly moan and groan about the biased announcing of Hewitt and about the men in the Hot Stove Lounge who would go on and on about the Leafs and barely mention other teams.
We were bombarded by all things Leafs. Way too much to take.
Meanwhile in Montreal, the team was winning five straight Stanley Cups with larger than life names like Richard, Beliveau, Plante, Harvey et al. The Leafs just didn’t seem to have the class and aura the Canadiens did. They weren’t in the same league.
My dad hated the HNIC Leafs love-fest in Toronto (you see, nothing’s changed) and turned up his cheering for the Canadiens by several notches.
And of course I did too. Stupid Leafs, we’d both say. It became easy to hate them, and so easy to love the Habs.
So thanks HNIC. You helped make me a Habs fan. If you weren’t such ridiculous homers, I might have been a Leafs fan.
Geez what a thought.