Alain Vigneault is fuming mad at a member of the media and his name is… Ron MacLean?! How weird is that? This, the same man who is beloved so much in this country that when the CBC decided to let him go, that the entire nation rose up and demanded (successfully) that he get whatever contract demand he wanted? A bizarre situation, indeed. For those that missed MacLean’s comments and Vigneault’s rebuttal:
In my mind, Vigneault is more than justified in his criticism of MacLean. Ron MacLean focused on the diving and embellishment that Alex Burrows has been guilty of in the past rather than focus on the real story: did referee Stephane Auger pre-determine penalties against Alex Burrows as a form of retaliation? That’s the real story, and I think most people would find it hard to believe that Burrows would make up such an elaborate story with such conviction.
MacLean attacked the character of Alex Burrows and in my mind they could have easily done the same to Stephane Auger, just as Pierre Lebrun did for ESPN:
During a December 2005 game between the Coyotes and Canadiens in Montreal, Auger handed Doan a 10-minute misconduct penalty after concluding the Phoenix forward had verbally abused an official and made culturally insensitive comments against the referees. Both referees and both linesmen for the game were French-Canadians.
The league conducted an investigation and found the allegations against Doan to be baseless. As a French-Canadian, I’m particularly sensitive to this stuff, but I can tell you, from the conversations I had with Doan, both at the time and since then, I believe the Coyotes captain when he says he did not make ethnic slurs.
In any case, I don’t believe that Ron MacLean necessarily has to run segments for Hockey Night in Canada like some kind of judicial process with representation from all sides, but he has look at the story. Even if Burrows was the biggest diver in the league (he’s not), Auger should not be allowed to make-up interference penalties as a form of revenge.
This brings me to another point. Diving in the NHL: is it a penalty or isn’t it? I wish they could decide. It seems to get called sometimes and ignored other times. And about 90% of the time they call diving, they also call hooking/tripping/etc as well. That’s not the way to get rid of diving. You get rid of diving by calling just the dive. To me, a dive should negate any kind of hook/trip/etc. Do you think Burrows would dive every game if say, every 4th game he received a diving penalty which could potentially hurt his team? Not a chance.