Watters takes termination in stride

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

TORONTO - A former linebacker with the Varsity Blues, Bill Watters took his termination from Rogers Sportsnet on Thursday like a man.

(Are you allowed to say that now? “Took it like a man?” Or do you have to say something like “Took it like a durable, resilient individual?”)

In any event, Watters is no longer a hockey analyst at Rogers Sportsnet, the victim, it appears, of Rogers’ re-branding of its all-sports radio station, The FAN 590. Starting this week, the station is now called Sportsnet Radio FAN 590. Apparently, Rogers Sportsnet no longer wants anyone on the network who works for a rival radio station, at least in the Toronto market. The personable Watters hosts The Bill Watters Show weekdays from 4-7 p.m. on Talk Radio AM 640.

Watters, who has been with Rogers Sportsnet since 2003, took the news with a grain of salt.

“I had eight years there and it was great fun,” he told the Toronto Sun on Thursday night. “There’s no need to be bitter about it.

“I enjoyed my time there,” Watters added. “What can you say? I’m not as happy I was yesterday, I’ve had some enjoyment taken out of my life, but I’m certainly not bitter.”

Undoubtedly, Watters will bounce back on the small screen. The former Maple Leafs assistant GM is one of the more insightful and cerebral (though not pompous) hockey analysts in the business who also brings a nice touch of humour to his broadcasts.

A former player agent, Watters joined the Leafs as the assistant GM in 1991 and remained with the organization until 2003 when he joined Sportsnet and AM 640. Prior to taking the gig as the Leafs assistant GM, the Orillia native did colour commentary for Leafs games alongside Joe Bowen on CJCL. Watters, 67, said he is not going to actively seek out another TV gig, but he’ll likely return before long.

“It’s not beneath me, but it’s not something I want to do,” he said. “I’m at the stage of my life where if anybody thinks I can do something for them, they’ll contact me. I’m not closing any doors to any possibilities, but I’m certainly not knocking on any either.”

WILSON MAKES SENSE

The music on Leafs TV just prior the start of the game sounds like something out of The Twilight Zone, before switching to blaring hard rock ... Give Ron Wilson credit. He actually tells Paul Hendrick stuff in his pre-game interviews and doesn’t just throw out a bunch of cliches. For instance, he said before the game that Coyotes‚ coach Dave Tippett likes his defenceman to jump into the rush, and boy did they ever do that in the first period ... Rant of the day: I’ve said and twittered this before, and I’ll say it again. I love 4-on-4 hockey because there’s more ice for the players to do the things that make hockey great — skate, pass, stick handle, etc. It would be a great day if the NHL ever widens the ice. And, no, I don’t think that would take hitting out of the game ... Hugely disappointed. Only three tweets on the opening goal of the game. When the Leafs play in Toronto, every goal is followed by 87 tweets ... Colton Orr given some power play time late in the first. Did Wilson lose a bet?

AND FURTHERMORE

Kyle Turris made a wonderful inside out move on Luke Schenn. Tough game for Schenn who later lost the puck along the boards to Taylor Pyatt ... Leafs TV showed a picture of Fabian Brunnstrom, who was acquired on Thursday from Dallas, in a Leafs (or Marlies) sweater. Must have a super fast courier ... Leafs TV broadcaster Greg Millen mentioned that Coyotes assistant coach Dave King was comparing Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin with former NHLer German Titov before the game. But here’s the wild part. Did you know that there was a Soviet cosmonaut named Gherman Titov? He was the second man to orbit the Earth! The first? Yuri Gagarin, who loved to play hockey. He was a goalie ... There’s no way they can send James Reimer back down. He had his first tough game with the Leafs, but is he suddenly a better prospect The Monster? ... You could hear Leafs fans at the Jobing.com Arena boo a non-call on the Coyotes in the second ... Ed Jovanovski nailed in the head by Mike Brown late in the second and no call. The referees miss a call like that and the game gets out of control. Which it almost did ... Mikhail Grabovski has to learn how to drop his stick when he gets into an altercation ... You know Don Cherry is going to go nuts on Lauri Korpikoski’s attempt to kick Clarke MacArthur. Plus the guy’s name is Lauri ... Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov owns the Leafs, and he’s not even a teacher ... Great shot of Wilson yelling “Wow!” when Darryl Boyce picked up an iffy interference call late in the game.


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