Cherry: 'I was wrong'

Don Cherry apologized Saturday on his Coach's Corner segment for comments he made recently about retired NHL enforcers Chris Nilan, Stu Grimson and Jim Thomson.
Don Cherry has been under fire for his comments about a group of former NHL enforcers. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Don Cherry apologized Saturday on his Coach's Corner segment for comments he made recently about a group of retired NHL enforcers.

During the Oct. 6 edition of his popular intermission segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Cherry called Chris Nilan, Stu Grimson and Jim Thomson "pukes" and "turncoats" for speaking out against fighting in hockey.

Cherry was widely criticized for his comments, the ex-players said they were considering legal action, and the CBC announced it did not share Cherry's opinion.

On Saturday night, Cherry admitted he erred.

"I gotta admit I was wrong on a lot of things," Cherry said. "Three enforcers, tough guys, my type of guys, I threw them under the bus, and I'm sorry about it. I really am."

Cherry also apologized for suggesting that Nilan and Grimson had attributed their struggles with substance abuse to the violent nature of their former jobs, and for claiming that those players had said they wanted fighting banned from hockey.

"Chris and Stu never said that they took drugs because they were enforcers in the National Hockey League," Cherry said. "Also, they never said they wanted fighting out of the game, that's for sure.

"I was wrong on that, 100 per cent wrong. And when you're wrong, you have to admit it."

Nilan later tweeted his thanks to Cherry.

"I want to thank Don Cherry for standing up and making a public apology to the three of us," Nilan posted on his Twitter account. "Means a lot. We are friends once again."

'Very disappointed' in Asham's antics

Cherry also gave his take on this week's ugly incident involving Pittsburgh Penguins forward Arron Asham, who showboated after his fight with Jay Beagle on Thursday night ended with the Washington Capitals forward dazed and bloodied on the ice.

"I think the world of him," Cherry said of Asham. "But he did something the other night that I was very, very disappointed in."

Asham apologized for his post-fight antics following the game, a move that Cherry praised.

"It's pretty tough for him to go in front of the TV, and it's pretty tough in front of two million people, to admit you're wrong," Cherry said. "Arron, you have to have a lot of guts and character to admit when you're wrong."