Another day, another Liberal fact-check of PC leader Patrick Brown, this time relating to the party's candidate in Sudbury, former NHL tough guy Troy Crowder.
Wednesday morning the Grits sent out an email blast, appealing to the noble principles in all of us, and invoking some of Canada's most notable politicians:
Patrick Brown was at it again after a short hiatus from spreading misinformation to the public and media. However, yesterday he couldn’t resist while giving a speech at the Macdonald-Cartier Club in London. Neither John A. Macdonald nor George-Étienne Cartier would be proud listening to this speech, because Brown clearly forgot that Facts Still Matter in Ontario.
What misinformation might Macdonald and Cartier object to, according to the email? Let's check out the Liberals' fact-check:
He [Brown] claimed: 'Troy Crowder [PC candidate for Sudbury] is a retired NHLer, he actually as a rookie beat up Bob Probert in a fight'
Fact: Troy Crowder did not fight Bob Probert in his rookie year. It’s also debatable who won when they actually did fight.
Naturally, an NHL fight 27 years ago is worth a political squabble. Were the Liberals on thin ice with this claim? Or were the PCs just on edge? These are matters of public interest.
Brown spokesman Nick Bergamini immediately blew the whistle on what he saw as an offside infraction.
I thought facts still mattered. Game misconduct penalty awarded to the Wynne Liberals for unsportsmanlike conduct. #onpoli #DownForTheCounthttps://t.co/DAAY6cl4E7https://t.co/imBNp2Rrtj pic.twitter.com/BRkJgzeW2G
— Nick Bergamini (@nickbergamini) November 8, 2017
Fortunately, QP Briefing is here to referee this dispute.
The Liberals take issue with two facts, according to their email.
The first one is that Crowder didn't fight heavyweight enforcer Bob Probert in his rookie season.
Presumably this is because Crowder had appeared in National Hockey League games in two years before he first fought Probert on Oct. 4, 1990.
The 6-foot-4 right winger first appeared as a 19-year-old in the May 6, 1988 New Jersey Devils conference final against the Boston Bruins. The favoured Bruins may have outscored the Devils 6-1 in game 3, the only one Crowder played in, but the teenager made his mark with two fights in the game.
However, playoff hockey games don't count toward NHL rookie eligibility. So Crowder was still a rookie, according to NHL eligibility requirements.
He spent the next season playing for the minor league Utica Devils, and didn't play any NHL games that year. The following season, he had another cup of coffee in the big leagues, playing 10 games in the regular season. However, NHLers don't lose rookie eligibility until they have played 25 regular season games, so Crowder still had his status.
In 1990, Crowder finally stuck as an NHLer, and played 59 games while still being considered a rookie.
Score one to the PCs on this count.
The second Liberal fact-check raises questions on who won in Crowder vs. Probert.
Aside from the fact that it's extraordinarily silly to debate this, the video that the Liberals link to seems pretty clear: on October 4, 1990, Troy Crowder clearly won his fight against Bob Probert. (In case you're wondering, the Devils came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Detroit Red Wings to tie the game with 15 seconds left.)
If hockey fights are your thing, watch the clip below, where Crowder is clearly in control and Probert needs to head to the dressing room to have his bloodied face cleaned up.
For further proof that Crowder won this particular fight, 97.4 per cent of 77 votes on the website hockeyfights.com picked the now-PC candidate for Sudbury as the winner.
Crowder and Probert fought two more times in the 90-91 season, both in the Jan. 28, 1991 game. Probert clearly wins the first tilt, while it's more of draw for the second one because Crowder controls the fight, but loses his balance near the end.
So you can give this fight to the PCs, although much like fisticuffs in hockey, the back-and-forth on this trivial fact-check probably isn't all that necessary.
With thanks to the comprehensive hockeyfights.com for their valuable research materials.