Is Grapes trying to get himself canned?
Don Cherry went on a rant on Saturday night, complaining that his popular Coach's Corner slot is being squeezed time-wise. (AL CHAREST, QMI AGENCY)
It was pretty obvious from his Coach’s Corner segment on Saturday night that Grapes was harbouring plenty of wrath.
Six times during his five-minute show on Hockey Night in Canada, Coach’s Corner star Don Cherry griped about the lack of time for his segment, often with a pronounced scowl on his face. He even threw his arms up in frustration at one point.
One sports TV insider suggested that it was almost like Grapes wanted to get himself fired.
Since Rogers Sportsnet secured the rights to Hockey Night in Canada, Cherry’s segment has been cut from seven minutes to five, something Cherry was never happy about, which was obvious during his show on Saturday night. It’s likely any other broadcaster griping the way Cherry did would have been sanctioned or disciplined in some way.
But though Sportsnet has cut Coach’s Corner to five minutes, given his continued popularity in Canada, Cherry still seems pretty untouchable.
Cherry's first crack about his lack of time on Saturday came fast and furious when he was discussing the Montreal Canadiens honoring defence great Guy Lapointe, launching into a story about how, during the 1976 Canada Cup, Lapointe threw a powder bag at him before the overtime period in the final game against Czechoslovakia. Cherry was an assistant coach with Team Canada.
“I’ll tell you the story there, I don’t have much time as usual folks,” an impatient Cherry said, before finishing the anecdote with: “It broke the tension, (Darryl) Sittler scored and we win. Are we over yet?”
Seconds later, while praising Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano, Cherry gnarled: “Now we got Lance Bouma coming up eh, got to hurry folks” ... before finishing with, ‘Now watch he gets a goal, I got to talk fast boys. You got to pay attention to me okay, because I don’t get much time.”
After heaping praise on another Canadian player, Winnipeg Jets’ forward Evander Kane, Cherry growled to side-kick Ron MacLean: “Alright, let’s go.” MacLean continued with: “Because we’re tight Don, East Gwillimbury midgets are raising money to go overseas, they’re going to tour Germany and the Netherlands ...
“Why are we tight?! Why are we tight?!” an angry Cherry interjected.
To which MacLean replied: “It’s just you’re so popular, it’s all the advertising.”
The segment moved on to a tribute to Victoria soldier Private Steven Allen, who was killed last week during a training exercise at the Canadian Forces Base in Wainwright, Alta.. Cherry clearly wasn’t pleased that he had to rush through his tribute to Allen.
“We’re getting him (Allen) in (the show) for sure,” Grapes growled. “But I got to hurry...”
“Anyhow, we gotta end right now folks, I’m sorry, I just got on and we have to end,” he continued, praising the Canadian public for wearing poppies in force this year.
“Canada’s getting into the swing of things, I’d like to get started in October ...” Suddenly switching gears, Cherry pointed off camera and snapped: “We didn’t show that sweater. We don’t have time to show the sweater to kids. Sorry kids, I have to hurry and talk as fast as this here ...”
Before finally cutting to a piece filmed during a visit to a war cemetery in France, Cherry issued a parting shot: “Please put (the poppy) on, because we don’t have much time.”
He then glared at someone or something off camera, looking defiant and angry.
Almost like he was daring somebody to do something.