November 1, 2007

McCown's Law

Forget about all the bad things he did and all the money he stole and all the people he screwed over. We all need to personally send Alan Eagleson a thank you card for all of the good things he did for hockey.

At least that's the argument Bob McCown puts forth in his new book Mccown's Law: the 100 Greatest Hockey Arguments. It is published by Random House and written in connection with Dave Naylor of The Globe And Mail.

McCown is a loudmouthed and very opinionated sports radio host on Fan 590, a Toronto all sports radio station that can be heard around Canada and the United States and in this day and age of satellite radio and internet podcasts, all around the world. The radio show "Prime Time Sports" is also shown on Rogers SportsNet television.

So Mr. McCown is no stranger to Canadians. He's sort of a Don Cherry of the radio. You either love him or you hate him or a combination of both. But like Cherry McCown is an absolute genius when it comes to performing the shtick that he does. McCown is the master of taking any side of an argument, often the least popular side, and arguing that one viewpoint so vehemently and so matter of factly that it almost ticks you off. He's right, and those who don't agree are wrong. No two ways about it. McCown is the master of creating controversy and mayhem, and it sells.

McCown puts together 100 of these arguments in the compelling text McCown's Law: the 100 Greatest Hockey Arguments. He argues that Mark Messier's leadership skills are overrated, that Slovakia might be a better hockey nation than Canada, that we need bigger nets and that women's hockey shouldn't be an Olympic sport.

Yikes. And I've only made mention of 5 of his thoughts. Wait to you get a hold of the whole book. There are weaknesses to many of his arguments, which will make it all the more fun for you and your friends to debate and tear it all apart. And the best part is McCown can't respond to your arguments like he does on air.

Let's go back to the Eagleson affair. I think everyone knows that Alan Eagleson is forever tainted as a crook who stole money from hockey and hockey players for his own gain. He went to jail for it after pleading guilty to various charges and was forced out of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

But Eagleson also did a lot of good for hockey, argues McCown. He had the connections to form a NHLPA years before anyone else ever could have. Despite the generally accepted accusation that he worked with NHL owners to keep salaries down salaries actually increased at a percentage similar to increases in the Bob Goodenow era. He also got things like guaranteed contracts, medical and insurance benefits and a pension plan. He also brought us the 1972 Summit Series, the Canada Cup tournaments, returned Canada to the world championships after nearly a decade hold out, had NHLers admitted to world championship play and was instrumental in creating the world junior hockey championships.

Now Eagleson may have abused his power in some or all of these cases, and there are certainly counter arguments to be made here. But I kind of agree with Mr. McCown here. How about you?


Anonymous,  January 18, 2009 at 1:59 PM  

Al Capone also did some good. He brought in homoginized milk plus some other good ideas; but he is still a criminal.

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