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Product Review: Don Cherry’s Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Hockey 24!!

December 21, 2012 7 comments

If you’re still looking for Christmas gifts for the hockey fan on your list, or are just generally hockey starved during the current NHL lockout, the 24th installment of Don Cherry’s Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Hockey series is sure to satisfy.

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em 24 features a pile of fantastic video montages from the 2011/12 NHL season, the ever hilarious “piano desk”, the year’s best saves (feature on Martin Brodeur) and goals (feature on Steve Stamkos), plenty of regular speed and slow-motion hits, Don mentioning “trolley tracks”, bloopers, some vintage Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em techno and Cherry rapping, Don mentioning how many NHLers he saw play as kids (Tavares, Stamkos), Don mentioning players from Kingston, Ontario (Mike Smith), Don wearing a top hat and supporting fighting in hockey, Coach’s Corner commentaries (featuring classic opinion pieces like, “Kids, if you ever really want to get benched…”, and “Why do they never run Tim Thomas?”), and all the best highlights from every round of last year’s playoffs.

It’s really a fantastic highlight tape, and everything you’ve come to expect from Don Cherry. In the words of Don himself, it’s a beauty. This is a no brainer! Pick up a copy today. cbcshop.ca and other retailers will hook you up.

Below is the official press release:

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No Lockout For Rock’em Sock’em!

rock em sock emCanada’s most controversial and outspoken hockey personality, Don Cherry, brings his brash brand of hockey to his 24th DVD with the release of Don Cherry’s Rock’em Sock’em Hockey 24 from Video Services Corp (VSC). This year’s release features the first “Blue”-ray in the Don Cherry catalogue, endorsed by Don’s ever-present terrier companion, Blue.

“I’m glad to be working with a good Canadian studio in VSC,” said Executive Producer
Tim Cherry, “we’re not pulling any punches this year!”

The release includes Coach’s Corner segments and all the best goals, saves and hits from the 2011-2012 season, right up to (spoiler alert!) the Los Angeles Kings’ historic Stanley Cup win. Bonus features will include extra footage from the Kings’ win on the Blu-ray, and vintage Rock’em Sock’em techno with Chris Sheppard on both formats.

Even Don himself is looking forward to the release, “I love doing Rock’em Sock’em. Players come up to me and tell me how they got Rock’em Sock’em as a gift every Christmas. They’ve grown up with it. It’s become a Christmas tradition in a lot of homes,” said Cherry, “This year’s is great, and we have lots of highlights from one of the best playoffs in years.”

The Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em series is Canada’s longest-running and best-selling DVD property. “We’re all huge hockey fans at VSC and we’re so excited to add Don Cherry to our catalogue – it’s a new chapter in VSC’s hockey history,” says VSC President Jonathan Gross, “Tim and Don create an exciting summary of the season and it’s time for an HD version to be available – that’s the only way to watch a hockey game these days!”

DVD DETAILS:
SRP: $19.98 | TRT: 70 min
Street Date: 13 November, 2012
UPC: 7-78854-19199-0 | Catalog: CHE1919
Genre: Sports

BLU-RAY DETAILS:
SRP: $24.98 | TRT: 70 min
Street Date: 13 November, 2012
UPC: 7-78854-19209-6 | Catalog: CHE1920
Genre: Sports

DVD Extras: Vintage Rock’em Sock’em techno with Chris Sheppard
Blu-ray Extras: Bonus footage from Kings’ win, vintage Rock’em Sock’em techno with Chris Sheppard

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About Video Services Corp.
VSCFounded in 1993 by former rock critic Jonathan Gross, Video Services Corp. is a leading independent DVD distributor with offices in Toronto and Los Angeles. With a vast catalogue strong in television, sports and comedy, some of VSC’s releases include Corner Gas, The WHA Chronicles, Comedy Now! Starring Russell Peters and Canada Cup ’87. Other 2012 releases from VSC include the second season of the hit series Portlandia and the theatrical film Union Square starring Oscar® winner Mira Sorvino. VSC also owns the e-commerce websites
sportonvideo.com, laffstock.com and jewishflicks.com.

Video Services Corp.
5145 Steeles Ave W, Suite A201, Toronto, ON, M9L 1R5
P: 416-597-8325 / 877-341-7577 F: 416-597-9142
www.videoservicecorp.com vidserv@globalserve.net facebook.com/videoservicecorp twitter.com/vidserv

CBC Doesn’t Care If You Chastise Cherry, Just That You Care Enough to Watch

October 23, 2011 2 comments

[originally post for www.betonhockey.com on October 20/11. Link here]

I’m nearly convinced that if Hockey Night In Canada didn’t feature Coach’s Corner with Don Cherry and Ron McLean, CBC would probably lose hockey broadcasting contracts to superior stations like TSN, Sportsnet, et al, and possibly fold as a network altogether.

"Ron, my head hurts from too much crazy."

The main reason being, if Canadians didn’t have Don Cherry’s over the top, stubborn, biased, bipolar opinions to either champion or string him up for, the public would call for the end of their tax-dollars to fund the public network.

Take his recent comments for example:

On the October 6th broadcast of HNIC’s Coach’s Corner, Cherry (who hadn’t lambasted anyone since last season) went on the offensive, saying Brendan Shanahan is bringing hitting in hockey to an end (citing Scott Stevens in particular, and questioning how many games he would be suspended for after his hits on Paul Kariya, Eric Lindros, etc), which I agree with; made a point about everyone jumping on the link between fighting in hockey and depression/suicide, mental illness, drug & alcohol addiction, etc., saying it’s not just fighters who have these problems (a recent study confirms this) and saying that everyone who’s against fighting should be ashamed of themselves; and then throws three former fighters (Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan, and Jim Thompson) under the bus after apparently quoting George Laraque (according to Ron McLean, who coincidentally has a new book out to promote), calling them pukes and turncoats for not supporting fighting in hockey.

As much heat as he got for the comments, I agree with the first two points (the end of hitting, and issues only happening to fighters).  The third was where things went sideways, and those 3 players he singled out threatened legal action against Cherry for what he said about them.  I’m sure I don’t need to read a Nielsen ratings report to tell that HNIC was heavily viewed and talked out the whole time.

Then on October 8th, Cherry said he only regretted saying the word “puke” while kids were watching, because it’s rude.

Then on the October 15th broadcast, Cherry decided to apologize to everyone, and the group of 3, saying some of his comments were erroneous.  He also mentioned about how awesome all three of the guys are, and probably called them all beauties at some point.  A bit of a turnaround from just being worried about kids hearing him say a bad word on television.  The group then dropped their legal threats.

This is the same guy who makes Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em DVD’s every year, which prominently promote big hits, fights, and a little bit of hockey in between.  Don’s an old-school cat, and that’s all good.  But I find his stance on fighting a little odd.  Cherry’s a guy that will go out of his way to stand up for fighting in hockey, and even go on TV and tell everyone how both Canadians and Americans want to see fights at hockey games, and how it’s a main part of why fans come to or watch hocke games on TV at all.  But while preaching to this UFC, WWE, boxing, fighting-as-entertainment brainwashed crowd, he’s the first to send guys like Arron Asham, Tie Domi, and Donald Brashear to the gallows the minute after they mime some sort of taunt after winning a fight.  So what’s the message Cherry and other hockey “traditionalists” are trying to convey to these “outlaws”, exactly?  Ok toughguys, go out there, hit each other as hard as you possibly can as many times as you can, beat each other’s brains out, entertain bloodthirsty fans and make them scream and cheer, BUT DON’T YOU DARE appear to be happy with yourself afterwards if you emerge victorious.  We won’t tolerate that kind of behaviour.  We all know that they best way to teach a player not to take cheapshots at your star players is to go and fight the other team’s toughguy, who was completely removed from the incident you’re trying to bring justice to.

At the end of the day, here’s all that matters:  the fact that you’re watching.  The fact that you’re talking about Don Cherry, searching about the incident on the internet, have an opinion either way, care enough to formulate an opinion at all.  All these points go to prove valuable when CBC tries to negotiate a new sponsor.  If CBC (or any television station for that matter) cared about whether Don Cherry was a politically correct character fit to appear in front of a national audience, odds are he would have been fired years ago, around the time he wore earrings, put on a Conehead, or bicep-curled an octopus on TV.  Don Cherry is a sideshow, not much different than Sean Avery, or Jeremy Roenick in his latter years.

The monkeys are dancing, so just enjoy the show(or hate it.  Whatever you do, just don’t not watch)!  Besides, I’d take Don Cherry over Pierre McGuire any day.

Remembrance Day Reflections.

November 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Remembrance Day.

Though a lot of us probably don’t support the actual combat that takes place in the wars that have seen our family members, friends, and fellow countrymen & women fight in, I think we can all agree that we have nothing but the utmost respect for those who fought and either survived or didn’t, so that we could maintain our freedom. Whether you agree or disagree with the rationale of which the governments have deployed their soldiers for, it is those soldiers who deserve all the praise they get for putting their lives on the line for us.

I went to a local Remembrance Day ceremony in Kelowna City Park this year. I can’t remember who the quote was from, but one of the speakers read a quote saying, “War is one of man’s least creative ways devised of resolving conflict”. And that’s completely true. Unfortunately, whether it’s a dispute on government, religion, land claim, or whatever else, ultimately if it can’t be resolved diplomatically, we humans just decide to shoot or blow the other guys up to either get our way, or simply defend ourselves from having the same thing happen to us.

And even that brings a whole other element into play: who’s right? Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? The ceremony featured a lot of prayers, which obviously ties in a religious angle to war. Whether we thank God for helping our soldiers survive, for giving them courage, ask His blessing as they ship out and enter the battlefield, ask Him to thwart our enemies, ask Him for peace, or whatever else we choose to pray for in terms of war, you do have to consider that the “bad guys” are probably doing the exact same thing, and feel very justified in their stance on the situation; hence the decision to fight for their side as well. Democracy seems correct (to us in our culture at least), but to some it is a very foreign, perhaps evil, concept, worth fighting against as to not have it imposed upon them.

Along the way I have been privileged to meet some veterans and hear their stories. One of the most interesting stories I’ve heard was the one from a neighbour I had some years ago who was actually a soldier in the German army. You know, the “bad guys”. He’s now got a nice little condo, been married for 60 years, a family, and participates actively in Strata rule enforcement. He’s a regular guy, and a nice one at that. But once upon a time, anybody on this side of the planet would have recognized him as evil. And of course, this isn’t to condone any of the actions that Hitler and the German army instigated, but this was a guy that was considered every bit as honourable to his fellow countrymen as our soldiers are to us. To hear him describe returning home to the pile of rubble that used to be his dwelling, and hear that side of the story made him a lot more mortal and a lot less villainous. But I think that’s the beauty of today, the day of digital media and endless information sharing; it used to be that only the civilizations that won wars dictated how history was written. Now we really have the opportunity to hear ALL sides, and decide for ourselves what’s justified, what’s worth fighting for, and what maybe needs a little further examination before risking human life. I also have a friend who I played college hockey with that recently served with the US Army in Iraq. While many oppose(d) the Iraq war, when you know someone in it, it makes you want that mission to be completed, if only for your friend to come home safe.

Prime Minister Harper announced today that Canadian soldiers would be staying in Afghanistan until 2014, but that after 2011 their mission would be exclusively non-combat, and only to train domestic forces. As much as I (and most of us) would like all our troops home immediately and out of danger, at least there is a commitment to ending the combat. A quote from the PM said,

We do want to make sure that as we leave, what we leave behind is a situation where the sacrifices Canadians have made — and they have made a lot of sacrifices there — that those sacrifices are appropriately honoured and we leave something of lasting benefit,”

And I think in the end, that’s what it has to be all about: recognizing the efforts of those who have fought, and making sure those sacrifices were not in vain. I may not “Remember” it all year ‘round, but I am truly thankful to have had my freedom defended and fought for by so many brave people that never met me; it’s a very humbling notion to see old people marching in Remembrance Day parades, know what they did, and know that a sliver of it was in fact for me (divided equally amongst all of us of course), despite that when they were on the battlefield they’d never even heard of me, and that I’ll probably never even speak to them personally.

photo by Daniel Hayduk

And because of this, for at least one day in a year, I actually, really, think about the idea of freedom. The notion that we can truly choose to do pretty well whatever we want to do, pursue, or stand for in our lives. Of course, you naturally want to point to all the good and noble things you have or you’re going to do with your life; but really, people have every bit as much of a right to become a complete jackass, and do some appalling, atrocious, or possibly just non-eventful and anti-climatic things with their remaining existence. I think that’s the dangerous part of freedom, and of fighting for and earning it, so it can be given to others. While many will indeed do remarkable and noteworthy things with their freedom that was paid for by human sacrifice, many will either do a lot of not-so-great things, and many may just do nothing at all (which may be worse in the end). I think the latter two concepts seem to cheapen that ultimate sacrifice that was made, which is sad, but at the same time, and unavoidable bi-product of an open-ended gift. While I admittedly probably don’t make the best of my freedom, I hope there’s been at least a glimmer here and/or there that wouldn’t make a veteran upset if I told him or her what I had been doing with myself.

Anyone who tunes into Coach’s Corner during Hockey Night in Canada on CBC knows that Don Cherry is a huge  supporter of our country’s veterans, and he actually had a decent quote after showing a video montage and appearing from a military cemetary for British and Canadian soldiers with their crosses lined row on row.  He said while pointing to the memorials, “These people gave their lives, the least you can do is buy a poppy.” 

NHL 1st Round Playoff Thoughts,TSN Commentator Commentary, and The Pwning of Pierre McGuire.

April 27, 2010 9 comments

As the first round of NHL playoffs comes to a close, 5 SDC Blogs readers have had their picks advance to round 2 of the Double Championship contest.  Congrats to Adam Whitmore, Grant McMillan, Casey Fodor, Rob Cunning, and Rich Abney for living to fight another day.  I am a little hurt by Drew Doughty and LA’s early exit, but I’ll get over it.  Good thing I specified that contestants have until the completion of the final first round series to make their selections.  Still time to vote!

Now, on with some hockey thoughts….

As many long-time readers will know, I have a healthy distain for TSN/NBC hockey announcer, Pierre McGuire.  It’s generally due to his hyper-sensationalizing of insignificant plays, and ludicrous and completely incorrect game assessments.   He’s got a reputation for creeping out other announcers, like Darren Dutchysen.  From time to time, he gets paired up with former NHL player, coach, and GM, Mike Milbury.  Though no stranger to schizo opinions himself, Milbury put Pierre right in his place the other night, saying to McGuire, “Let’s have an intelligent conversation about this, so you keep real quiet.”

Beautiful.   Absolutely beautiful.  Exactly what everyone else wants to say to him, but can’t because they’re worried about staying professional.  When in doubt, get a former NHL cementhead tough guy to do your dirty work.  What’s doubly great is that Milbury’s so much physically bigger than him, that when he verbally belittles him on a TV broadcast, Pierre looks like he just got his lunch money stolen, and though he’s mad, he knows retaliation will mean being housed in a locker, or having his hair washed in the toilet.   

How Pierre McGuire continues to be employed as a broadcaster boggles my mind.   I know I’m not the only one who thinks so either; there are multiple facebook groups dedicated to his stupidity and/or professional demise.  Dave Hodge is another guy that I can’t figure out how he keeps earning a paycheque.  The guy’s hosted way too many shows that have all gone up in smoke, and his hair’s way to grandfatherly looking to be allowed on the air still.  It’s like he keeps convincing the TSN brass to give him another chance, “Look, I know ‘That’s Hockey’, ‘Inside Sports’, and ‘The Reporters’ , were all bad gigs, but I’m telling you, I can make the next one work, honest! Please-please-please-please-please come on I really need this… I got these cheeseburgers man!”

I long for the “Sportsdesk” days (pre-ESPN corporate buyout ‘Sportscentre’), the days of Gino Reda, Michael Landsberg, Teresa Hegert, Paul Romanuk, and the all powerful moustache of Jim Van Horne.  Merge them with the likes of today’s talent, Darren Dutchysen, James Duthie, Jay Onrait, Dan O’Toole, and Jennifer Hedger, and you’ve got a roster that’ll send McGuire and Hodge their pink slips quicker than Vancouver and Montreal fans hang their star players out to dry after they are eliminated from the playoffs every year. 

Speaking of eliminations, the Devils are gone.  But did you see some of the saves Brodeur made in that series against Philadelphia?  I guarantee that if Brodeur had made more saves like this one during the Olympics, Canada would’ve rode him to the gold medal:

From that same series, don’t you hate it when dusters like Dan Carcillo score; especially OT winners? These guys contribute nothing offensively all year (unless you count the ways he offends everyone with his appearance and playing style), and then they happen to find themselves playing on a line with 2 good players to protect them, they’re in the right place at the right time once or twice, score, and then always act like their dirty style and roster spot is so justified after; like there weren’t a million players that couldn’t have scored those tap-in’s  just as easily. 

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Does it amaze anyone else that after 23 years of Coach’s Corner, Don Cherry still doesn’t know how much time he has left for his segment, nor is he able to say everything he wants to in the amount of allotted time that has been the same since the beginning?

Serenity Now!!

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