Skip to content

Watch CBC’s Ron MacLean apologize to Alex Burrows

Dec 18, 2011, 1:13 PM EDT

Kind of a surreal moment on Hockey Night in Canada yesterday when host Ron MacLean spent roughly two minutes apologizing to Vancouver winger Alex Burrows.

For those that missed it, here’s the video:

Burrows and MacLean have had a contentious relationship dating back to last year, stemming from the Burrows-Stephane Auger incident. MacLean was roundly criticized (primarily by Vancouverites) for his anti-Burrows stance on the matter, some of which is displayed here:

Then, on last week’s episode of Coach’s Corner, the topic of MacLean’s *alleged* dislike of Burrows came up again. This time it was Don Cherry insinuating the host had a problem with the Canucks winger allegedly opening the bench gate door when Ottawa’s Jesse Winchester was hit by Maxim Lapierre:

(FF to the 1:54 mark)

The real smoking gun was this exchange:

Cherry: I know you don’t like Burrows and I know you have a history with him.
MacLean: I don’t even know about this.
Cherry: You said he opened the gate on purpose.
MacLean: No, no that’s what they say on the show.
Cherry: Ya, ya they said, and I’m saying, I know you don’t…
MacLean: But I don’t know if he did it, I haven’t seen it.
Cherry: What do you mean you didn’t see it? You wanted me to show it.
MacLean: I didn’t see it when it happened. No, no I’m just saying…
Cherry: Anyhow, yes you did, you have a history with Burrows.

MacLean issued his apology prior to the Canucks-Leafs game…and Burrows proceeded to notch two points and earn first star honors in a 5-3 win.

“I just felt good, and confident and I felt like I could make plays,” Burrows said following the game. “We had so time in their zone, especially early when we weren’t scoring. I was sniffing for tips and rebounds, and when I feel like that, you know it’s going to come sooner or later.

“I know the (HNIC) has their opinions and I know they have a job to do. If they feel some nights I’m wrong, they have to say it. It’s never affected me. But it has affected my parents, a little bit more, and the people who know me.”

The line of the night, though, came from Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault.

“I really liked Henk’s line, and especially the way Alex played tonight,” he said. “I think he had something to prove to Ron MacLean.

“I’m just kidding about that. We don’t care about Ron.”

  1. elvispocomo - Dec 18, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    Not that you can technically call it an apology, more of an explanation really.

    I was actually shocked watching the broadcast how much more complimentary CBC was of the Canucks at times during the game. There were points where I had to rewind, not to see the reply, but to hear the commentators just in case I’d imagined it.

    For example, there as one point Hodgson was going behind the TO net on the left and Schenn was cross-checking him (which knocked him down but he’d get back up and get another shot) and they were lauding his commitment to finish the play! Normally they would have been pointing out how the Canucks weren’t tough enough and how well Schenn was paying instead.

    There were also points where Burrows’ name came up in a complimentary light, rather than negatively, so I can only imagine what a change this must have been for TO fans to hear a CBC broadcast where they actually favoured the other team!

    • Mike Halford - Dec 18, 2011 at 2:25 PM

      On a word count for headlines. “Apology” is a lot smoother than “bizarre rambling about the inner-workings of television that kind of explains why he dissed Burrows again.”

  2. hanktheking - Dec 18, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Burrows deserves to be dissed. Over and over and over again. If his parents can’t handle it turn the TV off. I watch enough sports to watch players get dissed by analysts, daily, and none have ever complained about because it just doesn’t matter. Burrows on the other hand is ALWAYS complaining, wether it be on or off the ice, and make no mistake, Ron Maclean is one of the brightest people in hockey and he decided to man up and say something. Alex Burrows should take a look at his job description and his bank statement, and realize he’s going to get bashed for the things he does, especially when they are so easily targeted by the media.

    • my2opinions - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:04 PM

      Oh please. Enough with these wide generalizations. And how about a bit of respect for his parents. So, NONE of the dissed players have complained – not one, only Burrows. Wow. That’s quite something. Since he is ALWAYS complaining, how about posting 10 complaints he has given in the past year.

      Oh, and if you think Alex needs to look at his jd and bank statement, I suggest Ron MacLean does as well. I don’t think he “manned up” at all – he took a bully’s approach using his tv show for 11 minutes of discrediting Burrows because Burrows (against the unwritten rules, I know) came out and said that Auger had targetted him. Whether or not Auger had reason to target him, you can’t complain about Burrows behaviour without expecting the same type of “Dissing” towards the ref. It’s an interesting standard – hockey player must be perfect, ref and commentator don’t have to be.

      I don’t think so.

  3. atwatercrushesokoye - Dec 18, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    I’m the furthest thing from a Canucks fan, in fact I detest them and Burrows! BUT Ron McLean is a piece of s**t! The CBC needs to put him and his blowhard buddy out to pasture. This self important mf’er is constantly making these self important proclomations of “our game” and making himself a part of the story rather than a journalist telling the story.

    Thankfully CBC will be losing the NHL rights (most likely) after next season, hopefully CTV realizes that both McLean and Cherry are 10 years past being relevant and create their Saturday broadcasts around better choices.

    • galuple - Dec 19, 2011 at 4:37 AM

      So you’d rather have TSN and their “well the game is over. Lets skip any post-game coverage, or even telling you who the three stars are. Lets go straight to showing championship darts which was recorded 3 years ago.”

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Dec 19, 2011 at 7:34 PM

        Yes! If it comes between TSN and their 100 panelists who are all either fired coaches, retired backup goalies or former 4th line players, OR watching McLean and Cherry doing there tired act.

        Granted neither of the broadcatsers are great but CTV would be the lesser of the two evils.

  4. my2opinions - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    Oh, and that was no apology. It was self-serving and a bit embarrassing to watch. Translation , “Oh, please like me. Don Cherry is the bad guy – he made me look bad. I never do anything wrong. I’m the all-knowing. It’s clear I hate Alex, but I have acquaintances (Manny, Willie) who like him – isn’t that enough?”


  5. adiosron - Dec 18, 2011 at 11:47 PM

    I quit watching “Coach’s Corner” about 8 years ago, tired of Don Cherry’s biased, bigoted opinions. Tuned in again a bit last year but am quitting again due to Ron McLean’s biased opinions. Note how in the interview with “Colon” Campbell on the incident of Burrows calling out Auger’s declaration of getting Burrows back for embellishing a call. McLean tells us exactly what Burrows “says” to Luongo that he’s staying down to get a 5 minute penalty, then that Burrows “says” to Mike Burnstein the trainer that’s he’s okay. When did McLean learn to read body language for sentences? ( Not even lip-reading as you can’t even see Burrows’ lips !) And in almost the same breath, he watches Auger talking with Burrows and he tells us that there is no way that Auger said that he was “going to get Burrows back” even though Burrows told us what Auger said to him. Talk about hypocrisy!

    And to top it off, they actually show the phantom call Auger makes on Burrows….and don’t even mention that it there wasn’t even an infraction committed for the penalty that cost the Canucks the game.

    The bias is clear and McLean has no credibility. To use a national broadcast to voice his own petty indignation is an insult to all professional journalists. How can this man represent the entire league when he is so out of control over his own feelings and so clearly in contempt of one particular team or player? So what if Cherry retires, McLean will carry the torch of self-indulgent blather to fewer and fewer viewers.

  6. rainyday56 - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    This is the CBC reminding all Canadians that unless you come from the maritimes, you’re just not funny.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1777)
  2. P. Kane (1363)
  3. S. Matthias (1218)
  4. D. Carcillo (1089)
  5. P. Datsyuk (1086)