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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.”

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Jack Edwards on S&H: ‘Peter Gammons commenting about hockey is like me commenting about women’s fashion’ 01.22.14 at 8:08 pm ET
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NESN Bruins play-by-by man Jack Edwards vented his issues with an anti-NHL Peter Gammons tweet Wednesday during his appearance with Salk & Holley. For audio of Edwards’ appearance, check the Salk & Holley audio on demand page.

Edwards took a shot at Gammons during his call of Monday’s game against the Kings, disagreeing with Gammons’ tweet criticizing the actions of players and coaches in Saturday’s game between the Canucks and Flames.

 

Edwards made a fart noise Monday in response to the tweet, and followed up Wednesday on WEEI.

“I haven’t spoke to Peter directly,” Edwards said, “but on the other hand I haven’t seen him at a hockey game in about six years, either.”

Added Edwards: “Peter Gammons said, ‘This is why hockey will always be a minor sport.’ You know, 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.”

Asked why he would need to be at games in order to form an opinion, Edwards said that one should be accountable and make themselves available to players after criticizing them.

“If you’re going to paint it with that broad a brush and speak from a position of being a Hall of Fame writer in any sport, you at least owe the guys about whom you’re talking the chance to refute it to your face,” Edwards said. “If you want to write something nasty, if you want to say something nasty, that’s fine. It is your obligation to be standing in front of the dressing stall the next time those guys play in your town. Period. That’s just having enough sack to show up. That’s all. Not to throw some broad side out there of, ‘Oh, that’s why hockey will always be a minor sport.’

“You know, Peter can have whatever opinion he wants. He can be as wrong as he wants. Hockey’s not a minor sport. Hockey is, in fact, the greatest sport in the world. I just can’t wait until other sports just decide that they’re above it all. And if there’s one sport in which you find guys who have an attitude that they think their poopy spells good, you know where to find it, and it’s not at the hockey rink.”

For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

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