Taking edge off Coach's Corner

Don Cherry. (SUN/Jason Ransom)

Don Cherry. (SUN/Jason Ransom)

DEAN MCNULTY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

There is no getting away from the fact Donald S. Cherry has reached television sports icon status in Canada.

It's to the point where the CBC television sports budget needs Cherry's Coach's Corner the way an addict needs heroin. It becomes remarkably easy, therefore, to justify almost anything Cherry says on his Saturday night pulpit because he pays the freight for much of the remainder of CBC's sports package.

But his claim Saturday that his wisdom is beyond reproach -- in this case telling Maple Leafs brass they should have sat out Mats Sundin longer after his elbow injury -- because, after all, he did win coach of the year awards in both the AHL and NHL comes up short.

If that combination of awards makes Cherry's opinion infallible then he'll have to share the glory because both Jacques Demers and Marc Crawford also hold that distinction and nobody outside their immediate families have conferred genius status on either of them.

GREAT SCOTT

The addition of former Toronto Sun sports editor Scott Morrison to the Hockey Night in Canada lineup has given the show a dimension it previously lacked.

His feature during Saturday's afternoon telecast on how Ottawa Senators defenceman Chris Neil dealt with the death of his mother in a car crash contained real pathos and none of the fluffy stuff sports TV audiences are usually fed.

But a note to HNIC anchor Elliotte Friedman: "Scotty" Morrison is the retired NHL referee. The new guy on your show is "Scott" Morrison.

MUST SEE TV

When The Sports Network first paired up its TSN The Reporters with ESPN's The Reporters on Sunday mornings it was thought that this much insider-type programming might prove to wear thin sooner rather than later.

After all, who wants to listen to a bunch of sports writers gab about how much more they know about life in the playground than you?

But, surprise, surprise, the hour-long sports clambake not only works but has proven to be durable.

TSN's Dave Hodge and ESPN's John Saunders deftly keep the writers in check -- not an easy job with the likes of Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom and Sun Media's own Steve Simmons -- while making sure all stay on topic.

Meanwhile, TSN has won the bidding war to televise the 2008 UEFA European Football Championships from Austria-Switzerland.


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