Burke can't win this fight

Hockey Night in Canada analyst Don Cherry (left) and Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke. (File...

Hockey Night in Canada analyst Don Cherry (left) and Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke. (File photos)

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:21 PM ET

TORONTO - Is there anything more hilarious than two old rich guys feuding over sports? It’s fascinating and fun.

And while I loathe to sit on the fence, I can see all sides to this crazy Brian Burke-Don Cherry feud.

Starting with ... Burke is right to be pissed at Cherry for suggesting that Leafs coach Ron Wilson “couldn’t care less” about the Canadian Armed Forces — a comment Cherry made when he noticed that Wilson didn’t join in the mass applause for the troops during the Canadian Forces Appreciation Night festivities last month. Wilson may be a lot of things, but he is respectful when it comes to the military. It seems to me he always claps during those Luke’s Troops introductions.

However, that Burke accuses Cherry of being overly critical of his Leafs is laughable. Yeah, Cherry is hard on Wilson. Clearly he doesn’t like or appreciate the man. Many Leafs fans don’t. But to suggest that Cherry viciously attacks the Leafs is a knee slapper. Cherry’s a homer when it comes to the Leafs. He’s been known to wear Leafs paraphernalia for Pete’s sake. Ask an Oilers fan, or a Flames fan or, especially, a Senators fan, if they think Cherry is hard on the Leafs.

As for the issue of Burke going to the CBC with his complaints about Cherry ... well, if it’s true, nobody likes a tattler.

Personally, I believe Big Burkie’s motivation in lashing out at Cherry for Grapes’ supposed “vicious” attacks on the Leafs is ... well, he’s trying to create a bunker mentality on his team — the old ‘Us against the world’ deal. His Leafs are fighting for a playoff spot, and what better way to take some pressure off the players?

It’s a funny thing. When the Leafs lose, the majority of fans blame Wilson. Burke seems to get the benefit of the doubt in Leafs Nation, for whatever reason. But in this feud, more people seem to be siding with Cherry. For once, Burke isn’t being given the benefit of the doubt. He’s learning that, in this country, you’re not going to win a pissing match against Cherry.

WOMEN VS MEN COMPARISONS HARDLY FAIR

That women’s Olympic soccer qualifier in Vancouver last week reminds me of the women’s hockey world championship — two decent teams, the rest not very good. But that’s the nature of women’s international sports. In many, perhaps most, countries, girls are not encouraged to play sports. Or they’re discouraged.

Because of that, the few nations that do encourage female sport participation, like Canada, tend to do well in international competition. And that’s why you’re going to see more Canadian women’s teams at the 2012 London Olympics than men’s.

The depth of field is much shallower in women’s sports. It’s not that Canadian men aren’t as tough or talented as the women. It’s just that they have a much tougher road to travel to qualify for the Olympics. And I say this because following Canada’s win over Mexico at the Olympic soccer qualifier, a number of people tweeted about how great the Canadian women are compared to the men. One tweeting twit suggested Canadian sportsmen were pathetic in comparison. Not fair.

THROW THE FANS A BONE

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos emphasized the point during the State of the Franchise gathering on Monday that he has lost out on free agents because some players simply don’t want to play on the lousy Rogers Centre turf. Team president Paul Beeston, meanwhile, said bringing grass into the RC is feasible. So, if Rogers won’t spend money on a big time free agent to compliment the talent the Jays already possess, shouldn’t bringing grass to the dome become a priority? Throw the fans a friggin bone.

WHILE I’M AT IT

From now on, when a hockey superstar like Sidney Crosby suffers an injury, I’m going to ignore every media update, particularly anything on Twitter, and wait for the official word AFTER the player returns.

WEENIE OF THE WEEK

Who else but Tracy McGrady for the clown act he pulled during the playing of O Canada on Tuesday night at the ACC. At the very least, it was unprofessional.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

twitter @beezersun


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