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Don Cherry's wild predictions: Maple Leafs make the playoffs, Coyotes move to Winnipeg

Aug 21, 2010, 10:41 PM EDT

doncherry1.jpgLeave it to Don Cherry to make sure our summer isn’t totally devoid of hockey talk or humor for that matter. The star of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada recently spoke with Ken Pagan of the North Bay Nugget in Ontario (one of the best newspaper names of all time might I add) and it appears that “Grapes” is already in mid-season form with some of his thoughts just a month away from the start of training camp.

One of two teams, along with the Florida Panthers, that have yet to reach the playoffs in the post-lockout era, the Maple Leafs should qualify for the post-season this year, Cherry said.

“I think they should make the playoffs,” he said prior to signing autographs for fans lined up in the restaurant. “I think (goaltender J.S.) Giguere is going to have a better year starting off there. They have one of the best defence groups in the league, but the problem is, they can’t score. They really don’t have the forwards. There are some tough guys on the third and fourth lines, but they’ve got to get those top six guys who can score and get somebody to play with Kessel and help him score.”

While the Leafs are the only one of Canada’s six NHL teams not to play a playoff game since 2004, there will soon be another NHL team in Canada, Cherry said.

“It’ll happen in Winnipeg,” he said. “I would say Phoenix will be the team. If you’ve watched Coach’s Corner, I’ve guaranteed within two years, Phoenix will be in Winnipeg. They have to go. They’ll never draw in Phoenix. They had a winning team this past year and they still didn’t draw. They can’t do much better than they did, to make the playoffs and still not draw. So they will be in Winnipeg and they’ll jam them in there.”

If these bold predictions had come from anyone else that works at CBC or anywhere else in the hockey media, these might come off as completely insane. Coming from Don Cherry, however, makes them a bit more fun and endearing, especially when you know that Cherry will argue with you up and down about how he’s right.

Calling for the Leafs to be a playoff team this upcoming season, with the way the team is made up at this moment is very bold. While Cherry is spot-on about everything that he’s said, projecting that lineup to be a playoff team is a very tall order. The Leafs are going to be very young up front and some of their off-season additions at forward are total wild cards in that we don’t know what they could add goal-wise.

As for his feelings on Winnipeg and the Coyotes… Who knows how that situation might end up. We know that if the league or the City of Glendale can’t find a buyer for the team sooner than later, David Thomson in Winnipeg is ready and waiting to be given the opportunity to buy the team and bring them back to Canada. Whether that happens or not remains the subject of nightmares for people in Arizona and the thing of dreams for fans in central Canada.

  1. MilanLucicIsBetterThanYou - Aug 21, 2010 at 11:17 PM

    I don’t think either of those predictions are too ridiculous. The Coyotes are clearly going to have to move sooner or later and the NHL seems pretty open to the idea of another team in the Peg.
    As for the Leafs, their offense looks terrible on paper but their defense could end up being one of the best in the league. I doubt they will make the playoffs but if one or two of their forward prospects has a breakout season you never know, the Eastern Conference is still pretty weak. They are going to have to win a lot of low scoring games.

  2. TOM L - Aug 22, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    CONGRATULATIONS HARTFORD WHALLER FANS ON YOUR FINE SHOWING OF SUPPORT FOR MY ALL TIME FAVORITE TEAM. I’M NOW LIVING IN DIXIE AND CAN TELL YOU WITHOUT A DOUBT HOCKEY DOESN’T PLAY WELL DOWN HERE. AFTER A 5 YR. HEALING PERIOD I DECIDED TO BECOME A MONTREAL FAN.I ATTEND AT LEAST ONE GAME A YR.AT THE BELL CENTER PLUS A GAME IN ATLANTA OR NASHVILLE WHEN THE HABS ARE IN TOWN. CONNECTICUT COULD EASILY SUPPORT A NHL TEAM AND THAT TEAM SHOULD BE IN THE STATE’S CAPITAL CITY. JUST CHANGE HARTFORD TO CONNECTICUT, PROMOTE THE TEAM BETTER IN FAIRFIELD COUNTY,AND BUILD A NEW FACILITY. I HOPE THE CITIES OF WINNIPEG & QUEBEC GET ANOTHER CHANCE AS THEY ARE BOTH GREAT HOCKEY TOWNS. THE NHL NEEDS TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND DUMP GARY BETMAN AND THOSE WEAK US CITY MARKETS.

  3. JOAN HANCOCK - Aug 23, 2010 at 1:21 AM

    I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDY WITH DON CHERRY – THE LEAFS WILL MAKE THE PLAYOFFS WITH EASE, I KNOW THEY NEED MORE OFFENCE, BUT AS SAID THE DEFENCE IS AWESOME AND THE MONSTER IS THE GOALTENDER OF THE FUTURE. JUST THINK OF THE ROUGH YEAR THAT ROOKIE MONSTER HAD, LOST HIS MOM, NEW COUNTRY, NEW TEAM, NEW RULES, NEW TEAM MATES, TWO THAT IS CORRECT TWO HEART SURGERIES, A GROIN INJURY AND CAME BACK TOWARDS THE END WITH 8 CONSECUTIVE WINS.

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