Monday, January 24, 2011
Fans do right by Koivu, HNIC not so much
Saturday's Saku Koivu love-in at the Bell Center was a welcome departure from the festival of abuse normally visited on opposing players in general and ex-Canadiens in particular, but it didn't set an altrustic precedent. Alex Kovalev received a similarly warm welcome in his return as an Ottawa Senator last season. Meanwhile, ex-Hab-turned-Anaheim Duck Maxim Lapierre was resoundingly booed Saturday, proving once again that despite the blatantly nationalist sentiment among a portion of the francophone hockey media, it's still about what you've done, not where you're from...Hockey Night in Canada showed its usual disdain for Montreal by assigning the maddeningly inarticulate Bob Cole to call Saturday's game, although to his credit, Cole at least got Koivu's name right, which is more than he did for "Max Paciorelly"...Don Cherry didn't even acknowledge Koivu's homecoming on Coach's Corner, which wasn't surprising considering Cherry's open dislike for Montreal and Europeans, but his producers and co-workers do the audience a disservice by letting Cherry dictate the agenda according to his own personal likes and dislikes. Ron MacLean more than anyone should know better...Although both games had their moments, the NFL conference championships yesterday were less than riveting. Hard to believe they can be that sloppy at this time of the year...For marquee appeal, Rodgers versus Roethlisberger in the Super Bowl has a better ring to it than Sanchez against Hanie. No knock on Chicago third string quarterback Caleb Hanie, who was better than starter Jay Cutler or backup Todd Collins, but on the list of famous Hanies, he's a distant second to the local Hooterville con man on Green Acres.