TORONTO -- Was Grapes sincere by picking the Senators to win the Stanley Cup -- or was he trying to light a fire under his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs?
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson wasn't sure whether Don Cherry was being serious in his exclusive column in yesterday's Sun, or if the coach had some other motive.
"I know a lot of people are thinking the Leafs aren't going to make the playoffs. I don't know if maybe (Cherry) is just thinking that if he picks us, then maybe the Leafs will win," said Alfredsson, with a laugh.
"I know one thing I think Toronto has a good team. They've got a lot of talent and they've got a lot of character players. They'll be tough."
That being said, Alfredsson hopes Cherry is right. "It would be okay if everything he said came true," said Alfredsson.
Not only did Cherry pick the Senators, he selected Jason Spezza as the Art Ross Trophy winner as the NHL's scoring champion and Dominik Hasek for the Vezina Trophy and the league MVP.
"I know Grapes from playing in Mississauga," said Spezza. "Good old Grapes. That's nice of him. I guess he thought because I scored a lot in the pre-season, I can score a lot in the season as well. I hope he's right."
Former Boston Bruins great Bobby Orr, Spezza's agent, wasn't thrilled his old buddy Cherry had decided to anoint his client the next one.
"That's the kiss of death isn't it?" said Orr.
Senators GM John Muckler was amused.
"I think (Cherry) picked us because we have a relationship. I played junior with in the 1950s," said Muckler. "I'm just glad Sports Illustrated didn't (pick us) because they've never been right."