Cherry Pickin' – Grapes calls Yakupov a 'little coward'
Don was sporting a top hat and polka dot blazer in this week's edition of Coach's Corner. (YouTube screengrab)
Welcome to Cherry Pickin’, where we at QMI Agency analyze Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada each week.
Wait, the NHL is back on?
We were all so preoccupied by the first two days of world junior action that we completely forgot about the big boys.
Since almost the entire country was probably tuned in to watch Team Canada’s second game against Germany, and not the Ottawa Senators playing host to the Detroit Red Wings, let us break down what Don Cherry said this week on Coach’s Corner.
But first, a quick gander at the shower curtain he stole:
Don Cherry isn't messing around tonight. pic.twitter.com/agBNTjOHPu— Josh Gold-Smith (@GoldAndOrSmith) December 28, 2014
Don didn’t seem too interested in talking about the Sens-Wings game, or even the NHL really.
And given that the world junior is underway in Toronto and Montreal, can you blame him?
Grapes highlighted Team Canada’s entrance prior to Friday night’s game against Slovakia, and approved of the team’s choices for pre-game garments.
“Coach Groulx, he’s got 'em looking sharp,” Cherry said. “I think we get a shot of McDavid yawning but it’s just nerves. He’s just nervous, not sleepy.”
He did bring it back to the NHL for a moment, giving props to the well-dressed Winnipeg Jets. And almost completely linked their solid play early in the season to what kind of dress attire they adorn.
“Let’s take a look at Winnipeg who has lost one game out of ten. They look beautiful.”
However, Cherry's not a fan of the Senators' outfits, suggesting the Kanata-based club needs a bit of an upgrade in that department.
“Now (new Ottawa coach Dave) Cameron, he’s a good coach but I want to give him a little tip. Have the guys dress better than this. It’s a disgrace. Remember when I said the Senators looked like thugs and the NHL got after me?”
This segment seems to include a photo of Grapes and some prominent hockey figure fairly often.
This week’s guest on Grinnin’ with Grapes: London Knights and Team Canada star Max Domi, pictured in a Maple Leafs jersey (probably his father Tie’s) with Cherry and his grandson.
Don made an effort to point out how much of a bad idea it was to not invite Max to Team Canada’s world junior camp last winter.
“He couldn’t make the club last year, Fabbri couldn’t make the club. Those guys couldn’t make the club last year, it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Grapes heaped praised on Team Canada’s new president Tom Renney.
“Tom Renney and Groulx don’t fool around. He said the best team was going to be there. No more politics and stuff like that."
Grapes also added his two cents on the pressure that Connor McDavid is currently facing.
“It’s tough because he’s been out five weeks. It’s going to take him a little while to come back."
He was absolutely loving the glove save by Eric Comrie, Canada’s starter against the Germans, who snagged the puck while sitting on the bench in Friday night’s game. He said it reminded him of Anaheim Ducks goaltender Frederick Andersen, who brings a baseball glove with him when riding the pine.
And it’s not just Mike Cammalleri and Calgary Sun hockey columnist Eric Francis who think Flames captain Mark Giordano could be the best player in the league at the moment.
“He’s plus-13, he’s got 11 goals now, he’s got 25 minutes in penalties," Cherry said of Giordano. "If this guy’s not Norris Trophy, I’ll eat your hat. He hits, blocks shots, there’s no one better in the league right now.”
To end the segment, Grapes didn’t hold back on one of his least-favourite players in the NHL, Edmonton Oilers forward Nail Yakupov.
Yakupov hit Arizona Coyotes forward Kyle Chipchura into an opening door in the Oilers’ bench during a 5-1 loss to the Coyotes earlier this week.
Luckily for Chipchura and Yakupov, it could have been a lot worse than it was.
“When I played in the American Hockey League, I saw a guy who broke his jaw from a play like this. You never hit anybody into the boards like that when you see the door open,” he said of the Russian forward.
“Then he needs a tough guy to come in. Look at him back up, the little coward.”