Stu Grimson, along with Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson, accepted Don Cherry's apology for what they termed Cherry's "baseless and slanderous" tirade against them on CBC's opening night telecast of Hockey Night in Canada. The three onetime NHL enforcers indicated they would not pursue any further "recourse" against Cherry.
However, Stu Grimson issued a separate statement that gets to the heart of the matter.
In his view Cherry's red-faced, blustering jeremiad wasn't only a matter of slander. It was a matter of decency: "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."
Both Nilan and Thompson have suffered from the "demons" that are believed to have afflicted Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard and perhaps even Wade Belak. Cherry's commentary thus offended two men who have overcome the "demons" as well as the memory of three who have recently passed on. His words wounded. It's all a lot more than "Grapes being Grapes," as some observers blithely suggested.
So Grimson put the issue where it belongs: "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.'"
Hockey, a sport that Canada steadfastly claims as its own, has long taken pride in its respect for the principle of honor. It is the basis for the implicitly understood "Code" that permits and even encourages the enforcer's role on the ice. It's time to see that honor asserted in the wider hockey world.