Much 'adieu' about nothing

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

Calgary Flames centre Matthew Lombardi, a Quebecker, fired a verbal slapshot yesterday at the politicians who have dragged Team Canada teammate Shane Doan into a parliamentary furor.

Reached yesterday in Moscow, Lombardi said he was disappointed and upset over politicians debating whether his teammate Doan should be captain of the squad at the world championships in Russia over an unsubstantiated anti-French slur.

"It's ridiculous. I don't know what they're out to accomplish or trying to prove," Lombardi said after the team's 5-4 victory over Slovakia. "I'm from Quebec and find this all to be too bad.

"Poor guy, having had to go through something like this. I've had a chance to talk to him the last couple of days and I feel bad for him because he's a proud Canadian."

Doan, who hails from Halkirk, Alta., and plays for the Phoenix Coyotes, was accused in 2005 of making a disparaging remark about French-Canadians to referee Stephane Auger. Doan has steadfastly denied the allegations and was cleared of any wrongdoing by the NHL after an investigation into the incident.

This week, the Bloc Quebecois demanded Doan be removed as captain of Team Canada and put forward a motion -- supported by all parties -- demanding Hockey Canada explain the decision to name Doan captain.

Hockey Canada officials, including president Bob Nicholson, will appear before a parliamentary committee today.

Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe said Doan's captaincy is "disrespectful" to French-Canadians.

Lombardi said an NHL investigation which found there to be no substance to the allegations should have been enough to quash any more controversy.

"It's unfortunate it's come to this. I don't know Shane that well or for that long but I've gotten to know him well enough to know that's not the person he is," Lombardi said. "I've seen him around the room and around all the guys and he's a class act. We're all happy he's our captain. Everybody on this team supports him 100 percent.

"It's too bad he's got to go through something like this. He answered the questions last year when it happened and has been a stand-up guy the whole time and all of a sudden it resurfaces," he continued. "He's gone through this, answered all the questions and been a stand-up guy over it all and that should be enough. Let's move on."

Even after this recent storm subsides, the incident will live on because of a pair of lawsuits.

Doan launched a lawsuit against Liberal MP Denis Coderre when the former minister of amateur sport demanded Doan be excluded from Canada's team at the 2006 Olympics, claiming Coderre had falsely accused him of making ethnic slurs.

Coderre countersued and both suits remain in court.


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