We then take a detailed look at the new 2020-21 O-Pee-Chee Hockey card set by Upper Deck. Sal & I both opened a box and give our opinions and breakdown on this juggernaut of an early season release.
Check it out where you get your Pods.
|1985-86 Topps Mario Lemieux RC|
I had written up a few items that I thought were big stories of the 2019-20 NHL season. Of course, all of mine involve the firing/suspensions of various NHL personalities. You can read the full article that our crack team of writers worked on (not the drug), posted over on Puck Junk if you want to check it out. We wrap up the Top 11 Stores of the 2019-20 NHL Season. The full article...
Sports are not immune to parallels that exist within the society that surrounds it. A wise-man once said, “The world don’t move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you may not be right for some.” Indeed. Despite the sometimes seemingly deliberate best efforts to remain on their own island, the hockey world made quite a few headlines this year in their appeasing of the woken masses of cancel culture fanatics. This is the tale of three vocal knights of hockey broadcasting.
THE TALE OF SIR CHERRY
But this time, even dapper Don’s obnoxiously fantastic wardrobe couldn’t save him from his comments he made on air during a “Coach’s Corner” segment of the show. When discussing the upcoming Remembrance Day in Canada with co-host Ron MacLean, Cherry very adamantly drew attention to what he saw as a lack of disrespect from the people of Toronto when it came to displaying poppy’s to honor the country’s fallen military heroes. He said, “You people ... that come here, whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey. At least you could pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada.” That statement, as well as the many that preceded it, probably would not have garnered much attention in the past but not this time. Sportsnet viewed his statements as nothing more than divisive hate speech and relieved the former NHL coach of his duties, setting off a firestorm of debate that still comes up today.
Cherry’s hero/anti-hero character brought both support and ire from both sides of the coin with people speaking out against his anti-European (and at times misogynistic) views and many applauding him for saying the things that live in the mind but never dare to leave the mouth. Regardless of what stance you take (or took), it was clear that Don Cherry’s schtick had run its course…or had it. You can still find Don but now on his podcast, the Grapevine along with his son and grandson. He still touts the show as him “telling it like it is” without the filter. I’ve listened to quite a few shows and to me, this is the Don I missed, the story-telling Don that waxes on about tales of his life in hockey.
THE TAIL OF SIR ROENICK
With former NHLers Ryan Whitney and Paul Bissonette (since 2018), along with co-host RA (Rear Admiral) and producer Mike Grinnell, the show focuses on hockey topics of the day as well as features guests that have included the likes of Connor McDavid, Chris Pronger, Auston Mattews, Derek Sanderson, Ron MacLean, and Sidney Crosby, to give you a sample of variety. The show is known for its irreverent humor and discussions about hockey, life, sports, betting, and general “guy stuff”, to use an overused phrase. It is also probably the closest thing most fans will ever get to an actual professional hockey locker room experience. The point is, this is one of the reasons why many of their guests seem to feel much more open and honest with their discussions and you won’t hear the “pucks in deep” talk. But sometimes, things can go south.
Former Blackhawk, Flyer, 2x Coyote, Shark, King and at the time, NHL analyst for NBC, Jeremy Roenick, joined the guys for a show on December 19th, 2019. This wasn’t the first time JR had been on the show. He had appeared before, talking hockey, his job, his family and anything else the guys wanted to discuss. Always known as the jokester in his playing days, he even once told a very detailed story of the epic prank he played on Torey Mitchell while they were in Las Vegas (and it is EPIC, so go find it). This latest episode took a different turn though, as JR went a little “blue” as the comedians used to say. He was describing his personal relationship with co-worker Kathryn Tappen and his wife, describing Kathryn as the most professional sports personality he has ever worked with. He then continued describing their summer vacation to Portugal, making quite a few references to his thought of always wanting a three-some with both of the “blonde bombshells”. He also joked of his equal-opportunity love making desire for another co-worker, saying he wouldn’t mind taking a crack at Patrick Sharp if given the opportunity since he was “so beautiful”.
While many listeners and fans of the show saw through most of this as mindless humor, the executives at NBC did not. Neither did those that supplied the thousands of carefully penned and thought out pieces of literary prose directed at NBC’s various social media platforms (otherwise known as hate mail). In today’s social climate, the pressure to hold people accountable for their actions outside of the work environment but while still under employment of corporations, especially high-profile/public interest ones has never been higher. A few days later, NBC issued a statement expressing their disappointment in JR’s comments and suspended him indefinitely without pay. Tappan, admitting that she would still remain friends with JR, also publically stated she found his comments inappropriate. Regardless of apologies, both public and private, Roenick has not graced the airwaves of NBC, NBCSports, or any of their affiliates since the incident.
THE TALE OF SIR MILBURY
On August 20th2020, during the Islanders 4-0 shellacking of the Washington Capitals, conversation began amongst the co-hosts of the broadcast, which included Milbury and longtime broadcaster John Forslund. Since the unprecedented bubble-life began, varieties of stories about players adapting to their new, unique environments came to light. Forslund mentioned, “if you think about it, it’s a terrific environment,” describing the players that are team oriented and enjoy being engrossed in routine. To which Milbury replied, “Not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration.” I’m pretty sure no shoe was going to beat that statement back from whence it came.
NBCSports quickly took to their social media outlets, relaying their disappointment in Milbury’s comment, calling it “insensitive” and “insulting” and that they planned to handle it accordingly. Mike shortly released a statement, apologizing (once again) for his remarks, regretting his mistake, and stepping down from the NBC team for the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Citing his comments as being irreverent and adding flavor to the broadcast, many of Mad Mike’s proponents took to the socials to defend his statements but this time it was just too much. Lest we forget the 2012 comment about then Penguins coach Dan Bylsma who he said should have “taken off his skirt and gone over there” to fight then Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. Or maybe the time he made light of concussion issues, using Sidney Crosby as an example and calling him a “punk”? How about the time when he affectionately referred to the Sedin twins as Thelma and Louise? Or the time he referred to golfer Tiger Woods as Tiger “Wuss” and told him he would send a goon squad to “tidy” him up a bit after he made a comment about hockey players injury recovery (I actually didn’t mind that one). Still not enough? Lets see…calling Pierre McGuire, on air, a “soccer mom” for his opinion on a dangerous play, repeatedly using some form of the phrase “hit ‘em with your purse”, monologing on the “pansification” of the game, oh, and don’t forgot the assault charge that was later dropped against him for grabbing and berating a pee-wee hockey player (they are 12 at that level in case you were wondering).
Again, whether you picked a side in the Milbury case (or his one before this, or the one before that, or the one before that, etc), is irrelevant when the Cancel Culture Squad mobilizes. Milbury decided (or was told) the attention he brought was too much of a distraction and he didn’t want to “interfere with the athletes as they try to win the greatest trophy in sports.” Well at least he got that part right.