Don Cherry Throws Down With Caps Owner
Though video of the appearance isn't yet available, he's roughly what went down. Cherry's comments came toward the end of his regular weekly appearance on Coach's Corner between the first and second period on Hockey Night in Canada. Cherry had already warmed up the viewing audience earlier in the segment when he jokingly referred to Calgary Flames center Oli Jokinen, a Finn, as a Russian -- because after all, it's impossible to tell those European players apart these days!
UPDATE: Video available after the jump.
Next, in a move that will only reinforce Cherry's reputation as a xenophobe, he mangled the Caps owner's last name ("Legonsis"), before questioning his hockey judgment in light of the team's decision to sign Jaromir Jagr to a long-term contract, only to trade eventualy trade him to the New York Rangers while continuing to pay him. He also said he was happy with the Limbaugh comparison.
Of course, Leonsis has long acknowledged that signing Jagr to such an extravagant contract was a mistake, much like Cherry has admitted that he was at fault for the Boston Bruins taking a too many men on the ice penalty with 74 seconds left in regulation of Game Seven of the 1979 Stanley Cup Semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens. That penalty, on which Guy LaFleur scored a goal on the ensuing penalty to tie the score inside the final minute, cost the Bruins a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals after Yvon Lambert scored the game winner for Montreal in overtime.
So I guess we all make mistakes, don't we Don?
Still, while all this back and forth is getting pretty silly, I can't help but admit to being entertained, and I'm sure the folks on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan at NHL HQ are too. After all, more controversy means more people taking about the game. I'm sure somebody will corner Leonsis at Verizon Center tomorrow before the Caps game against the Penguins -- heck, it might even be me -- to ask about Cherry's latest broadside, and I'm sure Leonsis will respond in his usual polite and understated manner.
And the best thing of all: like most media battles, everybody wins and nobody really gets hurt (for another take, visit Caps Nut). Can't beat that.