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Cherry tells Hockey Canada to “smarten up”

Aug 11, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT

Don Cherry Getty Images

Outspoken hockey analyst Don Cherry was at it again over the weekend, this time voicing his displeasures at Hockey Canada.

Cherry believes Florida Panthers first overall pick, Aaron Ekblad, should not have been participating in exhibition scrimmages at Canada’s development camp.

Ekblad was concussed during Canada’s 6-2 win over the Czech Repulic on Aug. 5 and sent home early from the camp after consultation with the Panthers.

On Saturday, Cherry, 80, took to Twitter to voice his opinion:


It’s often hard to agree with much of what Cherry says these days; however, this time he’s hit the nail on the head. Ekblad, who should make the Panthers roster out of training camp, doesn’t even need to be at such a camp as he likely won’t be released by Florida for the December tournament.

Related:  Get to know a draft pick – Aaron Ekblad


  1. withseidelinn - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    I agree competely. Like the article says, Cherry’s opinions are often pretty controversial and more often than not stir up some debate. However, his point about letting the bubble guys play is bang on. It not only creates a higher level of competition, but it gives the team a chance to properly fill out the bottom six of their junior team. This has not been done properly for 2-3 years now. The coaches always take all the best players available, which often leaves guys like Mackinnon centering the 3rd line. You need defensively minded, physical players on the 3rd and 4th lines to shutdown other teams’ star players. Guys like Frederik Guathier who excel in their own end are perfect fits for those roles. If these guys are playing in the exhibition games, the coaches may get another view of how they can shape their team. It also reduces the chances of their star guys getting hurt, like we saw twice in that game against the Czechs. Shame for Ekblad and Fabbri, hopefully those injuries aren’t serious. Two great players.

  2. patthehockeyfan - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    Since CBC lost the rights to broadcast Hockey Night in Canada, I guess Cherry figured he had nothing to lose in scorching Hockey Canada. And, of course, he’s right.

    Gotta wonder if Rogers Communications is going to keep Coaches Corner. If they do, I’d pay Rogers to have a stipulation in Grapes’ contract that he can’t wear clothing that causes people to wear sunglasses.

    • alliceishome - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      They’ve already confirmed Coach’s Corner will be returning

  3. realemman - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    Don is definitely right on this one here boys.

  4. bsaures - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Don actually makes a good point. Even going into this camp with all the game footage they have these days they essentially know the entire roster except for maybe 5-6 players before it even begins. Why risk one of your best players just because some dbag player on the bubble for his Team wants to make a statement

  5. ibieiniid - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    I wonder if 160-character-limited twitter wasn’t the best vehicle for his opinion in this case.

    • roblo76 - Aug 11, 2014 at 1:43 PM

      140 character.

      • ibieiniid - Aug 11, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        glad to see somebody around here doing some fact-checking.

  6. skuba7 - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    But then Hockey Canada wouldn’t be making money off of these guys being in the Tournament. Pretty simple why the top prospects are there.

    • withseidelinn - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      It’s exhibition, doesn’t count for anything.

  7. sweetzinger - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    Don Cherry is a biased, uneducated moron stuck in the 70s.

    The fact that Ekblad already made the team has nothing to do with it. It might, actually, have something to do with creating chemistry with a bunch of guys that you’re not going to play with for another six months.
    We haven’t won gold for 5 years, and we haven’t even medalled in the last two.

    And if you think Cherry knows anything about hockey, better take a look at when he was the owner and then coaching the Mississauga Icedogs of the OHL. They were one of the worst OHL teams in history. He had a bunch of 17 and 18 years old mocking and laughing at him for his game day preparations and game strategies.

    Playing/practising/preparing for this tournament makes you better. Grapeless will be the first one whining why we didn’t win it again.

    • ibieiniid - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:35 AM

      disclaimer: Not a Cherry fan.

      I’m not TOO too familiar with pre-2000 Mississauga IceDogs (lol)…. but if players are mocking and laughing at their coach/team owner at 17/18 years old, maybe their character is part of the problem.

    • bsaures - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      It has NOTHING to do with chemistry. How is playing in a game with players who half wont make the team often on line combos you wont use during the tournament building chemistry? Ekblad is the perfect example why is he playing there is only a tiny possibility that he is even made available for this tournament so why have him play instead of looking at a player who would be

  8. 19to77 - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Don’s got a point. I mean, you don’t need to evaluate Ekblad, or have him playing just to keep him in shape. Give the spot to a kid who still has something to prove at the junior level instead of a guy who’s already a man among boys and isn’t gaining anything from playing against them anymore? As far as the concussion goes… well, hockey happens. But the fact that Ekblad is even in this game is pretty dumb.

  9. djshnooks - Aug 11, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    Biggest loudmouth d-bag in sports…

    But he’s right.

    And who cares about World Juniors anyways, for players like Reinhart and Ekblad…it’s not even close to the Olympics.

  10. wutangwild - Aug 11, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Don makes some asinine comments sometimes but he’s right on this one. And comparing the WJC to the Olympics^^^? It is the biggest stage that these young guys have had a chance to play on so far, and a great proving ground for when the stakes are high. Besides, WJC is incredibly exciting to watch in my opinion.

  11. sweetzinger - Aug 11, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    NO, Don is wrong. Team Canada has been doing this for years. And the one time someone gets hurt, he starts shooting his mouth off.

    Ekblad may well be a great player, but Crosby, Stamkos, Toews, Duchene, MacKinnon, etc. have all participated in these exhibition games, and Grapeless didn’t say boo then.

    It’s a contact game, guys are going to get hurt, unfortunately.

    Grapes was whining about a player getting injured doing plyometrics during offseason training.
    “They shouldn’t be doing that stupid stuff. They only do it because they have to.”

    And why do they have to? Because it makes them better.

  12. ibieiniid - Aug 11, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    I think it’s hilarious how almost every commenter here (including myself AND the writer) started with or included a disclaimer about how the correctness of his opinion does not accurately represent the typical correctness of his opinions lmao

    • ibieiniid - Aug 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      of Cherry’s opinion(s)*

  13. sweetzinger - Aug 11, 2014 at 1:27 PM


    How do you know who is going to be on the team? That’s what they’re trying to find out. And learning the system that the coaching staff is going to implement. And for the guys that weren’t on the team last year but saw how good Ekblad played, they’re watching him and how he plays on the ice right now.

    Ya, it is about chemistry.


    Maybe those teenagers are mocking him because of the coaching they had playing bantam and midget was better compared to what they were getting with Cherry at the Jr A level. Nevermind the NHL level.

    • ibieiniid - Aug 11, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      so what? who the he** are they to second question their coach and (idk if they’re paid or not) employer? you do what you’re told at that age. especially when you just started your career. a team full of kids that “know it all” is a losing team.

    • bsaures - Aug 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      Its called hundreds of hours of game film moron how do you think they found out who to invite in the first place they dont just pick them at random! Going into this camp barring injuries and players making the nhl they have already picked 75 Percent of the team. The purpose of the camp is to hammer out the last 25 percent. They know who these guys are before they get there. A week of camp doesnt erase a seasons worth of games.

      • ibieiniid - Aug 11, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        you know they still have cuts to make, right?


      • bsaures - Aug 11, 2014 at 2:08 PM

        You cant honestly think there is any scenario where a guy like ekblad is available and healthy that he doesnt make the team. There isnt so why risk him in a game that means nothing

      • ibieiniid - Aug 11, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        honestly, I was just trying to find a good reason to randomly call you a moron, as you did to zinger lol

        that was the best I had.

  14. hockeyflow33 - Aug 11, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    I never get why people are so quick to dismiss Cherry’s opinions. He’s a guy who has spent a lifetime around the top level of the game, coaching some of the greatest hall of famers to play and people think he doesn’t know what he’s talking about?

    • bsaures - Aug 11, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      I think it has to do with a) he is very old school hockey and some of his opinions are a bit dated and b) his occasional rascist remarks he has made. He has cleaned it up quite a bit but in the late 90s and early 00s he said Some pretty bad stuff about European players.

      • hockeyflow33 - Aug 11, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        European isn’t a race.

      • storminator16 - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:57 AM

        “occasional bigot” then.

      • hockeyflow33 - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        Haha, that’s the correct term

  15. sumkat - Aug 11, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    What makes it even worse, is when a guy does decide not to come for whatever reason, Hockey Canada holds it against him the rest of his career, so these guys are pressured to show up to everything, or get blacklisted in the future.

  16. jhnyr45 - Aug 11, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    they do it to see if the players are coachable and if they click with the COACHING STAFF…. i agree with Cherry on this one… but that is why they are there

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