Bobby Orr

Bobby Orr calls Don Cherry's firing 'disgraceful' says his former coach is 'not a racist'

Bobby Orr calls Don Cherry's firing 'disgraceful' says his former coach is 'not a racist'

Days later, the argument over Don Cherry’s comments on Hockey Night in Canada that sparked his dismissal is still going strong. Now, the NHL’s greatest player has weighed in. 

Bruins legend and Hall of Famer Bobby Orr stood up for Grapes when chatting with the Toronto Sun and WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni and Fauria" show in separate interviews Thursday and called his former coach's firing “disgusting” and “definitely unfair.”

Cherry was fired on Monday by Rogers Sportsnet in Canada after his comments over the weekend on his "Coach’s Corner" segment on "Hockey Night in Canada" when he went on a diatribe about people not buying poppies to support Canadian military veterans.

The former Bruins coach - Orr played for him in the 1974-75 and '75-76 seasons - didn’t just stop with a statement supporting the military, and regrettably segued into singling out immigrants to Canada as a group not supporting the military enough publicly. Cherry, 85, started it all off by saying “you people that come here” and that set off a firestorm of criticism in the US and Canada against the analyst who has been part of Hockey Night in Canada telecasts for almost 40 years.

Cherry said on the Nov. 9 telecast: “You people … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

Orr’s words carry a lot of weight in the hockey world in Boston, where he won a pair of Stanley Cups while revolutionizing the game, and all over Canada, where he’s still revered as the greatest hockey player of all time.

And he’s sticking by his buddy, nicknamed Grapes, which is admirable.

“He got fired on Remembrance Day. That is just wrong,” said Orr to the Sun. “The whole thing is unbelievable. Don Cherry is a good man and to do this to him is disgusting. I know what he was saying. We all know what he was saying. He was saying we should buy a poppy. All of us. You can take it any way you want, but he isn’t a bigot.

“Yes, he’s my friend. But I have known him a long time and I know he is not a bigot or a racist. He is the most honest and generous guy there is. He’s very good to the veterans, the police, the firefighters, minor hockey players and fans. They all know what he meant and I know what he meant.”

Orr told WEEI: "What they’ve done to him up there is disgraceful, it really is. It's a new world, I guess. Freedom of speech doesn't matter." He added that Cherry is "hurt, but he's going to be fine. He's getting some nice calls from his friends here in Boston. He is getting some wonderful support."

It’s still unknown exactly what awaits Cherry after his departure from Hockey Night in Canada, and it remains to be seen what Sportsnet will do to replace him with Brian Burke, Ray Ferraro and Mike Milbury mentioned as possible replacements for the bombastic analyst. 

While it was probably never going to matter when it comes to his ultimate fate with a corporate entity such as Rogers Sportsnet after Cherry's divisive, offensive language, it’s good to see that No. 4 still has Cherry’s back.

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Former Bruins defenseman Ted Green dies at 79

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File photo

Former Bruins defenseman Ted Green dies at 79

Ted Green, who won the Stanley Cup as a defenseman with the Bruins in the early 1970s with Bobby Orr and was a multiple Cup winner as an assistant with the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers, has died. He was 79.

The Oilers announced Green's death on Saturday. The native of St. Boniface, Manitoba, nicknamed "Terrible Ted" for his physical style, began his Bruins career in 1960 and suffered a fractured skull and brain damage in 1969 in one of the NHL's ugliest brawls when he was hit in the head by a stick swung by the St. Louis Blues' Wayne Maki in a preseason game.

Green missed all of the Bruins' 1969-70 Cup-winning season but was on the ice for the postgame celebration, had his name engraved on the Cup and was part of Boston's Cup winners in 1972 before jumping to the WHA's New England Whalers. 

He was part of five Cup winners an Edmonton assistant to Glen Sather in the '80s and an assistant with the Rangers from 2000-04. 

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Bobby Orr was selected for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame 40 years ago today

Bobby Orr was selected for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame 40 years ago today

Today isn't just Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. It's also an important date in Boston Bruins history.

On June 12th, 1979 -- 40 years ago to the day -- Bobby Orr was selected for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. As pointed out by the Team Canada 1972 Twitter account, Orr made it in just a few months after the end of his playing career, as the Hall of Fame waived the three-year waiting period for him.

Orr is widely considered to be the greatest defenseman in NHL history. In 10 seasons with the Bruins, he logged 888 points and a ridiculous plus/minus of plus-574. He led the league in assists five times, had six consecutive 100-point seasons (leading the league in the category twice), and led the league in plus/minus six different times, including an NHL-record plus-124 during the 1970-71 season.

So, it's easy to why the Hockey Hall of Fame wanted him in sooner rather than later.

Perhaps this is a good omen for the Bruins. After all, it was Orr who scored the iconic game-winning overtime goal against the St. Louis Blues when these two teams met in the 1970 Stanley Cup. Maybe the Bruins will be able to honor the anniversary of his induction to the Hall of Fame with another iconic win over the Blues to bring the Stanley Cup to Boston for the first time since 2011.

Re-live the Bruins' Stanley Cup run to date>>>

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