TORONTO - Don Cherry is nothing if he isn’t honest.
Saturday night’s Coach’s Corner segment during the broadcast of the Leafs-Sabres game was Cherry’s turn to rant about Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty, and the coach didn’t mince words.
“Let me tell you something, I have been on the bench when this happens,” Cherry said. “It’s like two cars and you can’t believe the bang.”
Despite being more distracted than a magpie in a jewelry store by the replays of the hit, Cherry actually presented a sound solution to the perpetual problem.
Instead of having a 90ş angle where the boards and the glass meet at the end of the bench, Cherry proposed a 135ş angle — also known as a progressive incline — to the glass.
“Now I know the powers to be (don’t think I) know much in hockey,” Cherry said sarcastically. “I know doctors and lawyers and politicians and all that stuff know more, but if you do that it would be good.”
Despite the seriousness of the injury to Pacioretty, Cherry said Chara shouldn’t be suspended.
“(Chara’s) 6-foot-9, 260 pounds,” Cherry said. “For 13 years he’s never been suspended, he’s never tried to hurt guys — if he tried to hurt guys he kill ’em at that size.
“You can’t (suspend) him three or four games,” Cherry continued. “It’s either you give him 20 games or you give him none.”
Despite co-host Ron MacLean’s arguments, Cherry maintained you can’t be “kind of guilty” in a case like this.
“If you take a shot and you hit a guy in the head you shot the puck ... therefore you’re a guilty party,” Cherry said. “Absolute nonsense. The league did it right this time.”
In typical Cherry fashion, the segment turned into a personal sounding board, starting out with a reasoned argument and ending with a rant against Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson, Via Rail and Air Canada.
Cherry said Molson should ask all his players how they feel about playing at the Bell Centre for 41 games a season, which Cherry described as the worst venue in the NHL for injuries.
As for the transportation giants, Cherry said it’s shameful for the two companies to step forward in the case.
“How about Via Rail (and) how phony they are,” Cherry said. “They’re jumping on the bandwagon and Air Canada — you should be ashamed of yourself.”