Tag:Chris Nilan
Posted on: October 16, 2011 9:57 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2011 11:26 am

Ex-fighters accept Cherry apology, won't sue

By Brian Stubits

If you had no litigation in the Don Cherry lawsuit odds, you have won some easy money.

The trio of Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson released a statement on Sunday that they have accepted Don Cherry's apology that he gave Saturday night during his weekly Coach's Corner segment on the CBC.

The ex-players who Cherry called hypocrites, turncoats and pukes in his season-opening Coach's Corner, said that they "appreciate the words Mr. Cherry used and that the apology is accepted." The statement concluded with the men saying there would be no legal action to follow, a threat that was made before Cherry's apology.

"Messrs. Grimson, Nilan and Thomson wish to state that they do not intend to pursue [legal] recourse, as a group."

In his own, ummm, Tweetment, Nilan said he was satisfied and that Cherry and him are friends once again.

But that wasn't it for the statements. Grimson, who now works as an attorney, had some peace to say before calling the matter over. He released a separate statement and we'll just share it in its entirety.

"I saw Don Cherry's comments on Saturday night and I need to make just a few points as this matter comes to a close. First, I appreciate the words Mr. Cherry used; I accept his apology. As far as I'm concerned, this disagreement is now settled as between Mr. Cherry and me.

"Second, there has been widespread speculation about whether our group will seek legal recourse as a result of Mr. Cherry's comments. We believed it was prudent to consider that path initially, given the words that Mr. Cherry used on a national broadcast to describe us. Having said that, I want to make clear that I have no present intention of pursuing a cause of action against Mr. Cherry.

"Third, in spite of my earlier comments on this matter, Ron McLean appears to be missing the point, even at this late date. Mr. McLean is presently saying at least two things on this issue. 'We got bad information from another former player ... I didn't see any trouble with what Don said.'

"Look, Don got his facts wrong. That's fine; he apologized for it and the matter is settled. But the bigger issue remains. This isn't about the accuracy of the information. This isn't about whether Mr. Cherry should have checked his facts. This isn't about whether Stu Grimson is against fighting or for it. This is about the words Mr. Cherry chose and the way he chose to express them.

"And let's not forget the context; Ron & Don waded into a very sensitive prominent discussion about the recent tragic deaths of Derek Boogaard(notes), Rick Rypien(notes) and my friend, Wade Belak(notes). These are three men that battled the demons and they lost. In offering his opinion on this issue, Mr. Cherry targeted two other men who played this same role and who battle some of these same demons. Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson.

"My point is this. You cannot stand on the highest mountaintop in the country — Hockey Night in Canada — and point your finger at these men and shout down to the Nation that you believe they're 'pukes, turncoats and hypocrites' simply because they have a different point of view than you. You cannot use that platform to target anyone in that way — and especially not men who are battling to get their lives back on track. You cannot shout those names at these men with that kind of fury and expect not to answer for it. I believe this is why the response to Mr. Cherry's comments has been as strong as it has.

"Mr. McLean: It's about the rage, the vitriol, in the public discourse. It's wrong as a legal matter; it's wrong as a matter of common civility.

"Lastly, it's not my decision where this goes from here. This is a decision for Canadians. The CBC is your network; you pay for it. And you hold the network to certain standards and values. Among those values is the obligation to 'treat individuals with honesty and respect.'

"Some viewers might actually believe that Ron & Don treated these men with honesty and respect. Those people might be content to just shrug their shoulders and say 'hey, no big deal, that's just Don being Don.' And that's fine. Those people are entitled to that point of view.

"But other viewers might believe that Ron & Don fell way short of those values. And if that's the case, I would encourage those people to direct their comments to the CBC. Please, don't call or email me anymore; it's not important that I know how you feel. Tell your Ombudsman at the CBC how you feel. He's a very nice man and he's there to maintain the integrity of the CBC as an institution for broadcasting."

This was the way the story was bound to end when Grimson and co. hinted at further recourse against Cherry last week. If Cherry wasn't inclined to do so himself, he was likely going to get a serious nudge to issue a strong apology by the CBC to avoid any legal action to be brought against them or their television personality.

Hat Tip: Puck Daddy

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 15, 2011 8:29 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 8:38 pm

Don Cherry apologizes to ex-players


By: Adam Gretz

Don Cherry used his first Coach's Corner of the season to rant, as only he can, about the state of discipline in the NHL, and used that time to call out former players (and fighters) Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thompson as "turncoats and hypocrites" for suggesting fighters could be more vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse, and for "not wanting players to make the same living [they] did."

Grimson and Nilan publicly responded and strongly disputed both claims, and on Saturday night during his most recent appearance, Cherry did something he has rarely -- if ever -- done during his weekly Hockey Night In Canada segment: he apologized.

Cherry said he was 100 percent wrong to criticize the trio of players and added that "when you are wrong, you have to admit it."

The situation had become so heated that the folks at Bodog actually sent out odds this week as to whether or not Nilan, Grimson and Thompson would file a lawsuit against Cherry before Oct. 31 with odds of Yes: +200 and No: -300.

It probably wouldn't be a bad assumption to think Cherry received a bit of legal advice suggesting he offer the apology.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: October 11, 2011 10:53 am
Edited on: October 11, 2011 10:58 am

Ex-fighters consider 'further recourse' on Cherry

By Brian Stubits

Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson, the players mentioned by Don Cherry during the now infamous first edition of Coach's Corner on CBC this season, are considering legal action against the always opinionated Cherry.

When making his stance known on fighting in the game (as if anybody wondered where Cherry could possibly fit in this conversation), he took a jab at a few of the former enforcers who discussed fighting after the deaths of Wade Belak, Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien. In the process, Cherry said that the former players -- or "pukes" as he called them -- "reason that they're drinking drugs and alcoholic because they fight" before calling them turncoats and hypocrites.

Grimson and Nilan came out the next day and denied ever saying such things and wanted an apology from from Cherry. So in the second edition of Coach's Corner, Ron MacLean, Cherry's co-host, asked him if he had any regrets and this is what they got: “Well, maybe one, with the puke stuff ... it was rude.”

So now the three released a statement together through the firm where Grimson works now -- yes, he's an attorney -- explaining their beef.

“During CBC’s broadcast of Coach’s Corner on October 6, 2011, Don Cherry inserted himself into a prominent debate that involves 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 vulgar and malicious. 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, Mssrs. Grimson, Nilan and Thomson are considering further recourse.”

Yes, further recourse could mean exactly what you were thinking. From Josh Cooper at the Tennessean:

“I’m sure what the intuitive reader is going to be asking is, ‘does further recourse include legal recourse?’ That is certainly true,” Grimson said. “Further recourse does include an investigation into what legal recourse might be available to this group. Whether or not we go in that direction is a completely separate matter. But, obviously given the nature of the comments and the forum for those comments, those two things, I think investigating what legal recourse is available is a prudent step.

“They [Cherry's remarks] were completely without a basis of fact,” Grimson said. “I never said any of the things that he said I said. I feel a little bit like the innocent victim in a drive-by shooting, standing there minding my own business and all of a sudden I’m reading ‘puke,’ ‘turncoat,’ ‘hypocrite,’ all these adjectives used to describe me.”

For their part, CBC's only statement on the matter has been that Cherry's views are his own only and don't reflect those of the CBC.

At this point, I can't imagine anything legal ever becomes of this. You have to imagine that Cherry will either decide to do it on his own or will receive a very strong push from the CBC to give a much bigger apology and retraction. Because while the threshold is high for a charge such as slander, they would likely be able to show a blantant disregard for the facts in this case. So the potential is probably real, meaning the threat carries some serious weight.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 9, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2011 9:03 pm

Report: Some GMs not happy with Shanahan's work

By Brian Stubits

So far, it has sure seemed that Brendan Shanahan has had a lot of support, especially from those inside the game, not just the ones commenting on it. But all is not well in the front offices.

Eric Francis reported on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada that there is a segment of the GMs who aren't in love with the tough-love suspensions.

“I spoke to almost a third of the general managers today and I was a little bit surprised to find out that there is a group of them that has gone to [NHL commissioner] Gary Bettman and [deputy commissioner] Bill Daly and made it very clear that they are very unhappy with the way that Brendan Shanahan has handled [the length] of the suspensions," Francis said.
“The [suspensions] are pretty harsh and a lot of people agree with that -- fans and media are definitely on board -- but there’s a group of GMs that have gone and complained. They wanted the bar set high -- they made that clear in their agenda in the summer. However, they didn’t want it 'doubled and tripled' in the words of one general manager who really teed off on Brendan today.
“I spent the whole week talking to as many players as I could and almost all of them agree that it’s changed the way they play the game. It’s a feeling-out process, there’s some adjustments being made, but these are the growing pains that everybody knew the NHL would have to go through when they were getting tougher on headshots."

Again, the criticism is part of the gig. Shanahan is finding out first hand what he probably already knew, it's a tough job but somebody's got to do it. But that's all noise until it comes from within. If there are executives complaining to the NHL offices, there could be some trickle-down effect to Shanahan. Either that or the response will be in line with buck up.

During the segment, Mad Mike Milbury also did a much more eloquent job of relaying his position on the discussion than he did the other day with Keith Jones on Versus.

"I don't dislike Brendan Shanahan. I may have some disagreements with the way this thing is going down. That's the first thing the league has to realize. I'm not out to get them. Nobody is out to get them. We're just concerned about the way this is all coming together. The way it's coming together for me... why are they setting the bar so high? Just call the rule the way the rule is supposed to be called. Just let everybody adjust to it."

When prompted that we need to remember the league is focusing on concussions, Milbury got to the illustration os his point in a more sane fashion.

"That's right. That's the important thing to realize. There's a real reason here. There weren't the number of concussions when I played in the league. The severity of guys who are dizzy all the time and can't function. There's nobody who is like Marc Savard, or very few who are. So there's a real slippery snake the league is trying to get ahold of. Yes they've set these things in motion on behalf of the GMs. Now they have to find the right course for it. Is he going to get critical advice from everybody? Yes he is. Let's give it about two months and 20 games and see where it all winds up.

"I don't want to see the concussions and there is danger here, but there's also danger here going the other way."

During the first intermission of the broadcast of the game between the Maple Leafs and Senators, Don Cherry took an ever-so slight moment to apologize to Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson for calling them pukes, saying they were turncoats and hyopcrites.

Asked by co-host Ron MacLean whether he had regrets about Thursday’s Coach’s Corner segment, Cherry said: "No, no -- maybe one, with the puke stuff and kids listening [to that]. That’s rude and I shouldn’t say it.”

You can watch the full Coach's Corner segment here.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:42 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 4:07 pm

Grimson, Nilan respond to Cherry's criticism

By Brian Stubits

Oh, that Don Cherry. It took him all but 20 minutes into the hockey season to get people all riled up. That's not a reference to his Christmas-party Red Green plaid outfit last night.

While sporting the hideous color combination, Grapes went on a rant during Hockey Night in Canada's Coach's Corner segment about the new hitting rules in hockey and took some shots at former fighters like Chris Nilan and Stu Grimson, who he called "turncoats and hypocrites" and "pukes." You can read the whole thing (and see Cherry's outfit) here.

Well neither Grimson nor Nilan were very appreciative. Both took to their defenses, principally stating they never advocated the removal of fighting. First, here was Grimson, who seemingly created a Twitter account just to post this, his first tweet:

Maybe Don forgot ol' Stu is a laywer these days.

Nilan also took to defending himself while also reitterating he has no desire to see fighting removed from the game. In an interview with Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto, Nilan got a bit off his chest in regards to Cherry and fighting.

I was very angry considering I never had any problem with Don Cherry. ... I've always been friends with Don Cherry.

If I have an opinion on something and he doesn't agree with it, to call me a hypocrite and a puke, that's totally uncalled for. I could see if he had an opinion about me and I said the things he insinuated I said ... now at no time have I ever said alcohol and drug addiction is linked to fighting. You won't see it in print. You won't see it on any radio interview I've ever done. You won't see it on any TV interview I've ever done.

As far as a puke for saying I didn't want fighting in the National Hockey League, I never said that. I'll clarify my statemes I made about fighting once again. I believe, they are in a temperance movement. They really don't like fighting and I believe they don't want it in the game. I've said if they don't want it in the game, why don't they just take it out? I never said I wanted it out, I never said I'm against fighting. I said if they're that much against it, if they put the instigator rule, if they put linesmen who get in and try and break up before they start. The linesmen do that because they feel like getting punched in the head today? Or do they do it because the league asked them to because they don't want to see it on TV?

Now if the league does take it out and they realize it effects their bottom line, which is dollars and cents, then how, in God's name, do they put it back in? I never said I don't want fighting in the game. I've always said there is nothing wrong with two guys dropping their gloves and going at it.

Now, do I believe there is something wrong when a guy calls the guy a week before a game and says 'Hey, we're gonna go next Tuesday night?' I think that's total bull[bleep] and it's foolishness. Do I believe a spontaneous fight that happens after an incident in a game where, either one of your players is attacked by someone, or given a cheap shot by someone, or you yourself receive a cheap shot, or someone calls you out for a fight? Do I think there's anything wrong with that? I don't think there's anything wrong with that whatsoever. It's within the rules of the game. I don't think they should take fighting out and I never said it. So what he said about me last night caught me totally of guard and honestly I feel he owes me an apology next on Hockey Night in Canada in Coach's Corner.

Then he was asked by the hosts if he regrets his career as a fighter and enforcer.

Never. Never. I suffer from the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction. I never once blamed it on my hockey career. Yes, I had injuries where I ended up having surgeries after my career, more than a few. I did take pain medication that helped get through the pain that I still suffer from on a daily basis. I don't whine about and so, 'Oh, it's because of hockey.' No, I got addicted innocently enough, I took pain killers and I had a problem. I've taken care of it. The National Hockey League helped me and backed me. I take care of that problem every day, on a daily basis. I have never, ever made any statements he alludes to.

This is something hockey fans just can't agree on right now. According to a poll we had on the site over the summer, an overwhelming majority want fighting to stay, and right now it's not endangered. But some are supportive of Cherry's point of view on hitting, others think he's dead wrong. While it gets frustrating, I think this is a great discussion to be having. As long as the dialogue continues, hopefully the desired end can be reached: a game still with hitting and fighting but sans head-shots. Most agree on the destination, but few can agree on which roads to take.

I don't begrudge Cherry's right to share his point of view whatsoever. Hey, CBC gives the man airtime to do just that. He just might want to think a little bit longer before next week's edition of Coach's Corner.

While he's at it, he should rethink that outfit. I don't mind many of his crazy color schemes, but that was just rough on the eyes.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com