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Peter Gammons on D&C responds to Jack Edwards’ attack: ‘I actually love hockey’

01.24.14 at 10:55 am ET
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Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons, during a appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Friday, responded to an attack from NESN Bruins play-by-play voice Jack Edwards and defended his criticism of hockey.

The controversy started when Gammons sent out a tweet after watching highlights of the incident in Vancouver on Saturday in which the Canucks and Flames engaged in a line brawl immediately following the opening faceoff, and Canucks coach John Tortorella tried to get at the Flames locker room after the first period, leading to a 15-day suspension.

 

During a Wednesday appearance on Salk & Holley, Edwards went off on Gammons.

Said Edwards: “Peter Gammons commenting about hockey is like me commenting about women’s fashion. It’s just absolutely not his spectrum. He has no validity. He has no credibility. If the guy were at the rink all the time, maybe we’d consider his opinion.”

Gammons, who said he has no issues with Edwards and that they’ve “always been friends,” said he had not previously heard Edwards’ comments, although he had heard from other hockey supporters.

“You can’t believe some of the tweets I got back from people in Canada,” Gammons said, although he stood by his criticism. “I think television ratings and so forth do say something about the standings of sports. But they’re very offended by it. As you guys know, I actually love hockey. But I don’t think that reenacting ‘Slap Shot’ is that great an idea. I didn’t think [legendary minor league enforcer] Billy Goldthorpe was a great hockey player. But there are those who do.”

Edwards went on to say that Gammons should not criticize the sport without showing up in a locker room to address the participants.

“My friend Larry Brooks of the New York Post has many times experienced asking a question like, ‘Why did you pull the goalie’ or something, and being sworn at [by Tortorella when he coached the Rangers],” Gammons said. “I don’t really know why standing at the rink is a qualification as a viewer. But that’s neither here nor there.”

Added Gammons: “I appreciate his being very defensive of his sport. It’s a sport that he broadcasts and he obviously has always loved. Hockey and soccer have been two sports he’s been devoted to. ‘€¦ Each one of those sports is always fighting uphill against the NFL, college football, Major League Baseball, college basketball, golf, auto racing — the big, major sports in this country. And I understand that.”

Gammons insists he is a fan of hockey, but not the way it was played Saturday in Vancouver.

“It may be the greatest sport in the world. I certainly enjoy it. I love it,” Gammons said. “But to me, watching a Bobby Orr or a [Wayne] Gretzky or someone who was great is one thing. And watching that Billy Goldthorpe mentality is another. Hey, I’m one who actually still has ‘Slap Shot’ on his iPod. I think it was very funny. It’s just that that’s theater, like the WWE.”

Read More: Bill Goldthorpe, Jack Edwards, John Tortorella, peter gammons
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