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Don Cherry comments draw response from former NHL players

October 11, 2011 |  5:54 am

Former NHL enforcers Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson are considering "further recourse" against well-known and frequently controversial TV commentator Don Cherry, who recently called them "pukes," "hypocrites" and "turncoats."

Cherry's comments came last Thursday on Canadian Broadcasting Corp. program, and he did not fully apologize when given a chance to do so on Saturday. He said then that he only regretted using the word "pukes."

Grimson works for a law firm in Nashville, Kay, Griffin, Enkema & Colbert, and it issued the
following statement on behalf of the players early Tuesday morning:

"During CBC’s broadcast of Coach’s Corner on October 6, 2011, Don Cherry inserted himself into a prominent debate involving the recent tragic deaths of three (3) NHL players, drug addiction, alcohol abuse and mental illness. In doing so, Mr. Cherry targeted the above-named individuals, some of whom have suffered from such diseases, as a result of views they previously expressed.

"Mr. Cherry’s comments were more than inappropriate; they were baseless and slanderous. Furthermore, Mr. Cherry’s subsequent attempt to qualify his comments on October 8, 2011, was entirely ineffectual.

"Mr. Cherry’s conduct throughout has demonstrated a complete lack of decency. In light of the damaging and inflammatory nature of Mr. Cherry’s comments, Messrs. Grimson, Nilan and Thomson are considering further recourse.”

The day after Cherry's initial comments, Grimson said in an interview with The Times that he was  "stunned and perplexed" by the commentator's words. Grimson played for the Ducks and Kings.

"I do take some comfort in that any informed hockey fan, hockey player up there recognizes that Don Cherry is just not somebody to be taken all that seriously," Grimson said. "Ever. And certainly any more.

"He's a little bit like that eccentric old uncle that sits down at the far end of the table at Christmas dinner and every now and then he breaks into the conversation and interrupts with something completely illogical and hard to comprehend. Then everybody goes back to the discussion, kind of shaking their head."


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Photo: Don Cherry in 2007. Credit: Los Angeles Times