Question: What’s plaid, striped and polka-dotted on the outside and blue on the inside?
Answer: Don Cherry.
I thought Hockey Night In Canada was a thinly veiled Hockey Night In Toronto, but thanks to Don Cherry the veil is officially off. The King of Coach’s Comer should stop blowing his dough on clothing that only the blind could love, since he needs but two items in his wardrobe – a Maple Leafs home jersey and a Maple leafs away jersey. Aside from Cherry’s lack of vision and inability to count to six (like when he blew it as coach of the Bruins with too many men on the ice), he keeps referring to the Maple Leafs as “we.” Unfortunately for Don, his beloved Maple Leafs are not the most interesting story of this year’s playoffs. They are, in a word, mediocre. So what the heck is Don on about? There could be a touch of the supernatural to it. You can see it in his right eye when he looks at the camera. It’s the only plausible explanation. Don Cherry is possessed by the soul of Harold Ballard.
No Respect Speaking of the Leafs, shed a tear for Shayne Corson. In the wake of a violent and hard-fought struggle with the New York Islanders in the first round, the rugged Maple Leaf winger shared his thoughts with the media. He spoke of how young players in the game today have no respect for old time hockey. In a word, the sportsmanship just isn’t there anymore. This comment came on the heels of a match in which Corson attempted to kick Islanders tough guy Eric Cairns in the midst of a tussle. Thanks for leading by example, Shayne.
The Enchanted Habs Welcome to a magical land of elves and pixies and wizards, where nobody grows old and wounds heal themselves. This fantasyland is where you’ll find the Montreal Canadiens. Remember the Canadiens? They’re the team that wasn’t supposed to make the playoffs, especially when their captain, Saku Koivu, was diagnosed with abdominal cancer before the season even started. Then newly acquired sniper Donald Audette was knocked out of commission when most of the tendons in his forearm were severed by an errant skate. Defenceman Sheldon Souray was sidelined with a wrist injury. Goalie Jeff Hackett also joined the disabled list. To make matters worse, in the heat of a close race for the final playoff berth in the ft Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers added Pavel “the Russian Rocket” Bure to a lineup filled with multi-millionaires.
For all their cash and talent, the Rangers made it only as far as the golf course this spring, while the Habs continue to roll along. To knock off the top-seeded Bruins is one thing, to knock them off led by a cancer patient, a one-armed man and a grizzled veteran on the verge of retirement is another.
Koivu’s performance has been nothing short of remarkable. He’s leading the team on offence, knocking down guys twice his size and still going for his weekly blood test. Audette’s arm, by his own admission, is only back to 60 per cent of where it should be, yet he scored the overtime winner against Carolina in game three at the Molson Centre. Doug Gilmour started the season with the “past his prime” tag around his neck, but his grit, talent and experience have helped propel the Canadiens into the second round of the post-season. It also helps to have a force field by the name of Jose Theodore.
The Teflon G.M.
How hard can it be to get fired from a job? You’d think that if you spent years working for a company by wasting money foolishly and not getting results the boss would eventually call you into the office for a short farewell. Not if you’re Bobby Clarke of the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers pulled off one of the most disappointing playoff campaigns ever when they were stifled by the Ottawa Senators. The Flyers managed only two goals in five games even though they boast the likes of John Leclair, Mark Recchi, Adam Oates, Keith Primeau, Jeremy Roenick and Simon Gagne. The Flyers had a line-up of all-stars and a payroll double that of the Senators, they traded away four future draft picks to get Adam Oates, and they spent years dwelling in the shadow of the Lindros disaster. Maybe Clarke has a force field of his own.