Friday, October 7, 2011

Don Cherry Lashes Out At Chris Nilan

Normally when Don Cherry creates a controversy, I'm among the first to defend and support him. But on the opening night of the NHL season, he went too far when he lashed out at the former enforcers who had a candid conversation with Michael Landsberg about fighting in hockey. Chris Nilan is well within his rights to have the opinion that hockey goon is a dangerous profession with possible serious side effects. He did the job and he's lived the life. If that's his opinion, then you accept that as his opinion even if you disagree with him. Disagree with him if you must, but don't make it personal, calling them hypocrites and lashing out that they even have that opinion.

As a hockey fan I enjoy the pugilism of hockey fights and support its inclusion in the sport. It can be dangerous. Be aware of the risk before choosing it as a profession. You do get hazard pay. The league minimum is around half a million dollars per season. For 82 games with 3-10 minutes of ice time to fight a few times is not a bad racket. It's better than working in a coal mine in China. Would you rather work at a nuclear power plant? Just because a job is dangerous does not mean it should be illegal.

Perhaps the point Don was trying to make was that Chris Nilan earned a lot of money doing what did over his career; a lot more money than he would have made scrubbing toilets. If you make fighting illegal than the players with this particular skill set are denied the opportunity to choose. I just don't think Don chose his words well.

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