Ron MacLean is used to controversy, though it's usually from being attached at the hip to Don Cherry on Hockey Night in Canada where he occasionally suffers the blow back form something that the cantankerous Cherry has said, but Wednesday night it seems MacLean was ready for his close up and stepped into the spotlight all by himself.
His introduction to game six, in which he offered up mention of the day of 9/11 in the same context of a hockey game first attracted attention through twitter, where tweet after tweet had that "what did he just say?" moment, with enough replies in kind to alarm the brass at the CBC that another troublesome issue was percolating.
Since the first reports on social media, MacLean's spoken thoughts has created for a tempest that has yet to subside, requiring clarifications and a media blitz of guest appearances far and wide (might have helped to have started with your own HNIC site though) to try and dig himself out of a hole of his own creation.
MacLean as all viewers know, is given to over dramatics when it comes to creating the scene of any particular broadcast, whether it's game 27 of the weekly Saturday night Leafs' homage that the CBC offers, or game six of a highly entertaining NHL playoff that CBC stumbled across, MacLean tries to create drama, sometimes where drama seems pointless (game 27) or where the game itself should suffice (Game 6 of the playoffs).
Most of the time the intros are hardly the thing of concern, mainly they are pedestrian, for the most part corny, in MacLean's way, hardly the thing to cause an international incident.
Yet here we are, and while we suspect his heart might have been in the right place, paying homage to those that responded to the terror attacks, it was perhaps best a concept not followed through on, the comparison of a hockey game to the call of duty of fire, police and ambulance responders clearly not of the same resonance.
Without a national forum until Saturday in order to express his contrition, MacLean will feel the glare of the spotlight and the heat of the anger that his comments has provided for.
The net result being that he has taken to the radio and television talk show circuit (a string of mea culpas yesterday) to offer up his explanation as to what he was trying to accomplish with his segue, an apology to a fashion, though not quite a recitation of the rosary after a confession.
We imagine, as he has with the Cherry outbursts over the years, MacLean will survive this latest bit of trouble, but, for a program already under a watchful eye, the attention his opening has provided for is certainly going to make for yet another entry in the file folder of what may need to be changed at the long running program.
We still remember the result of a pen flip by Dave Hodge on the set of Hockey Night in Canada, where Hodge was banished from the people's network for what was considered his insolence at the time.
Considering the many documented misadventures of Coach's Corner over the years, it would seem that there has been a change of the standard of acceptability at the CBC.
Everyone makes a mistake from time to time, for those in the glare of the media spotlight the attention tends to enhance those mistakes and distributes them to the widest possible audience. Though unlike the rest of us, it also offers up the opportunity to clarify and more importantly to apologize, when those mistakes are so glaring.
Saturday night should make for such an opportunity, a chance to deliver his 4-1-1 over his misguided 9/11 comparisons.
Globe and Mail-- Ron MacLean's hyperbole rings alarm bells
National Post-- CBC's Ron MacLean compares Rangers, Capitals to 9/11 emergency responders
National Post-- Ron MacLean clarifies his comparison of Capitals, Rangers to 9/11 responders
Toronto Sun-- Cherry stands by his pal MacLean
Toronto Sun-- MacLean clarifies 9/11 remarks
Toronto Sun-- MacLean stirs 9/11 controversy
Toronto Star-- Ron MacLean comparison of Sept. 11 attacks, NHL playoffs was a bad idea
Toronto Star-- Don Cherry defends Ron MacLean
Detroit Free Press-- Ron MacLean compares Capitals, Rangers to police officers, firefighters...
USA Today-- CBC's Ron MacLean clarifies 9/11 comparison
CBS Sports-- Ron MacLean's statement attempting to clarify comparison of players to 9/11 ...
New York Magazine-- Ron MacLean's Not Very Good at Analogies
NESN-- CBC's Ron MacLean compares NHL players to 9/11 First Responders ...
The Hollywood Reporter-- CBC host on thin ice after linking hockey players to 9-11 First Responders
Deadspin-- CBC's Ron MacLean attempts tortured comparison of hockey players to 9/11 ...