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Jack Edwards embarrassed all of hockey yesterday


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1970-71 was a great time to be a Boston Bruins fan in New England.

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh -- still live there -- but I became a Bruins fan during my 16-month Army tour (1970-71) at Fort Devens, located about 35 miles west of Boston.

Those were the days of the Big Bad Bruins of Orr, Esposito, Cheevers, et al.

And, one of the most enjoyable aspects of following those teams was the radio voice of the Bruins, Hall of Famer Fred Cusick. And, I remained an avid Bruins follower (the Penguins were horrible in those days) when I returned to civilian life in Pittsburgh by following the B's via 50,000-watt WBZ radio and the new radio voice of the Bruins, Bob Wilson.

I can still remember Wilson's call of a Bruins power play featuring on the points, an aging Bobby Orr, both knees ravaged by multiple surgeries, and the newly acquired Brad Park. Rather than shooting, Park kept deferring to Orr. I recall Wilson saying after the Bruins scored that "The new guy will learn that they don't stand on ceremony on this team. I suspect Bobby will be the first to tell him 'if you have a shot, you take it!' " Such great memories.

It was sheer joy listening to Wilson and Cusick. Both were consumate pros, unlike the house shills we have in Pittsburgh

today in Mike Lange (radio) and Paul Steigerwald (TV).

Unfortunately, the quality of the Bruins tv announcing has dropped drastically since the glory days of Cusick and Wilson. I still follow the Bruins via Center Ice, but it's difficult to listen to an entire game because of the nonsense that comes out of the mouth of Jack Edwards, the current TV voice of the Bruins on NESN.

Prior to yesterday, Edwards was known for the stupid, albeit until yesterday mostly harmless, comments that came out of his mouth all too often. I realize sports announcers are -- like single malt Scotch -- an acquired taste. Some love him, some can't stand him. Some love a homer, others in the same city don't.

But, Jack Edwards crossed the line of acceptable good taste in yesterday's Penguins at Bruins game when he compared Matt Cooke to imprisioned murderer Shirhan Shirhan, who was convicted of the 1968 shooting death of presidential candidate Robert Kennedy.

My comments have nothing to do with Cooke, and is he still a dirty player?

My comments are centered on Edwards' incredible lack of judgement/taste. Even if Matt Cooke were the dirtiest player in the NHL, it would not condone Edwards' comments.

Just one day after the killing surrounding the Boston Marathon had seemingly ended, and Boston was beginning the long healing process, this disingenuous announcer/fool compares a still borderline dirty hockey player with a guy who assassinated a presidential candidate and a NEW ENGLAND icon. I add disingenuous because Edwards compounded the issue by saying, on the air later in the game, that he was apologizing because he was bothered by his conscience.

If you know the background of the apology, you lose even more respect for Edwards and his temporary lack of conscience. What happened, as told to me by a member of the Pittsburgh media, was:

Penguins GM Ray Shero became visibly upset when informed after the first period of Edwards' remarks. Shero then confronted Edwards between periods. Bruins President Cam Neely also reportedly talked to Edwards, whose initial remark on the matter on Twitter was defiant, saying "don't follow (on Twitter)" if you don't like my comments, and "I didn't call Cooke a terrorist" (No, he didn't, he called Cooke an assassin, the same day both Boston newspapers quoted law enforcement as saying the young police officer at MIT had been "assassinated" by the fleeing Marathon terrorists). At some point after this Tweet, if we are to believe Edwards, his consicence kicked in.

Edwards then Tweeted an apology (twice actually) and then went back on the air and apologized again with less than four minutes played in the second period.

I worked in the news media (newspaper writer and sports editor) for 35 years and I never called for anyone to lose his or her job, regardless of the circumstances. I found the exercise tasteless and frankly not part of my job description. That said, I don't know how anyone in Boston, particularly at this point in time, can justify having Edwards on the payroll.

He's a loose cannon and a disgrace to the Bruins and his profession. And, sadly I suspect Boston lost some of the goodwill it had accrued across the US in the aftermath of the Marathon tragedy.

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He's been an embarrassment for ages, frankly. Yes, he way crossed the line yesterday, but he's a horrible announcer, and has been a joke for a very long time.

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Edwards really went over the line this time. He really should apologize to the guy that shot RFK for insulting him like that.

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