Sour Grapes: Don Cherry Gets Excited Over Stars

…Blueberry Cheetah. “Time for a little Coach’s Corner I tell ya, wait Ron what’s his name again, Bieska, Bieksa? Beauuty.

Don Cherry

The NHL is a diverse ecosystem of players and personalities. Built around speed, skill, violence and determination, the game of hockey is a distinct brand of sport that pulls together many different skills, assets and intangibles that make the game so entertaining. With such a plethora of people to protect the sanctity of our sport, Don Cherry’s emergence as a voice of authority on Coach’s Corner has become a constant cause of concern. Despite the growing list of doubters and dreadful delivery, Cherry remains one of hockey’s greatest sources of knowledge from behind his bodacious formal wear. So lets all laugh at the NHL, shall we?

Sour Grapes is a feature that will run weekly on Mondays , offering a summary of another crazy week around the NHL from the perspective of none other than Donald S. Cherry, distilled and interpreted into plain English so NHL fans everywhere can come to appreciate the wit and wisdom behind the ranting and raving of hockey’s greatest grizzled veteran. Watch the latest episode here.

In this week’s message to the masses, the Don took time before his classic Remembrance Day remarks to condemn the Toronto Maple Leafs’ use of star top line star Tim Connolly on the penalty kill earlier this season. Connolly missed the first eight games of the year with a shoulder injury and the team’s big off-season acquisition was once again forced out of the lineup after soaking a blocked shot on the penalty kill against the Bruins last Saturday.

This does not sit well with Cherry who was much more intelligent with his players while running the Bruins bench back in the day. Cherry would sooner see Mike Zigomanis of the (once 4-0) Toronto Maple Leafs man the penalty kill. While Cherry’s solution is worthy alternative, no amount of the “pride of Toronto” could give Zigomanis the zip necessary to cover the points, even if Frank D’angelo is firing pucks from the blue line.

It wouldn’t be a true Coach’s Corner without at least one Doug Gilmour reference. Gilmour was in the media again this week celebrating his selection into the Hockey Hall of Fame as one of this year’s inductees. As is tradition on Saturday nights in Canada, one mention of Gilmour on the CBC called for a montage of Cherry and Dougie kissing, a lot.

It was just another slow Saturday Night on Canada’s Broadcast Company. But did you notice the humour that almost arose out of Cherry (allegedly) kissing a woman?

“I didn’t know I kissed him that night,” Cherry let slip as the montage rolled. “That means that girl…(was my sloppy seconds) oh, never mind.” Yepp, I’d bet a beer against a bottle cap that Don Cherry almost made a “Sloppy Seconds” joke on national television, only a broadcast slugfest with Sean Avery himself could top that.

While Ron Maclean’s slight intervention saved the day from another potentially awkward talk between Gary Bettman and young impressionable daughters everywhere, it left Canadian hockey fans to wonder: If the CBC broadcasts south of the 49th parallel and no one’s watching, do the televisions make a sound?

Following the mash-ups of Gilmour, Cherry passed it off to another one of hockey’s elder statesmen who has less trouble articulating himself. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mark Howe had this to say about today’s NHL:

“The players police the game. There’s so much onus put on the officials right now. I don’t mind the fighting in the game; I know they’re trying to take a lot of it out. The game in the old days got rid of the pretenders. The guys that do the whacking and the hacking, the guys that do the chirping back, that stuff got eliminated years ago. If somebody was taking a shot at your best player, someone got rid of that thing right away.”

Taking a shot at your best player? The CBC must not broadcast in Buffalo.

“(Today) You can just take runs at people left and right, and they’re coming in at full speed and in the old days you eliminated that from the game.” Of course, it was Don Cherry’s beloved Bruins taking runs left, right and center on Saturday, but I digress.

After avoiding the antics of Saturday’s anarchy between the Bruins and Sabres, Cherry and his beloved handler had some high praise for Sheldon Souray and his big bounce-back in Dallas. Souray has totalled 13 points and a plus-9 through 16 games with the Stars this season and seems to be enjoying his extra-curricular time while in Dallas.

As a picture of Souray’s current girlfriend and buxom beauty Kelly Kelly sat onscreen during the close to Coach’s Corner, a grinning Cherry blurted out the line he had been waiting for all night. “If Dallas keeps going the way they are, they could win two cups.” Grapes’ excitement says it all, nothing sells hockey in Dallas like scantily clad women and as Ron Maclean so observantly pointed out “things are looking up in big D.”

Following tradition, it seemed appropriate Ron and Don would stand at attention to close Coach’s Corner only hours after Remembrance Day; however Saturday’s special salute will be a hard one to top.


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About the Author: Kevin Vanstone is a long time sports fan and Canucks die hard from White Rock, British Columbia. He is currently attending the University of Victoria pursuing a Writing degree, and in his spare time writes about all things Canucks hockey as well as news and notes from around the NHL.

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