Cherry an NHL playoff necessity

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

There are still many of us who believe it’s just not Hockey Night in Canada without Coach’s Corner - and it’s definitely not the Stanley Cup playoffs until Ron MacLean and Donald S. Cherry are side by side.

There are still some of us who hinge on every word Grapes says.

Cherry may be getting up there, but he remains the best.

He still calls Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto “Lalongo”, even though he surely knows better. He still has the crazy suits with the cartoon ties.

”They weren’t honeys,” he said, holding out the one he had on Thursday while referring to the Bruins’ first period against the Habs. “They were Winnie the Pooh.”

Cherry reflected on the days he was coaching the Bruins and making “40 grand.” Of Habs grinder Ryan

White, he said: “He’s out-Bruin the Bruins.”

And MacLean closed out the segment with his usual wit.

“Habs had the Jets in the first period,” he said. “And Winnipeg will soon have theirs too.”

Back on at the end of the 2-0 Montreal victory, Cherry said “the Bruins were brutal tonight.” He was right. He also claimed it was the best game of the season for Habs centre Scott Gomez.

Gomez wasn’t about to argue.

“If Don Cherry says it, ya,” he said when Elliotte Friedman asked him if the statement was correct. “That’s the way we’re brought up. If Don Cherry says it, you’ve got to love it.”

Here, here.

STARTS AND STOPS: Refs must be thrilled that former whistle blower Kerry Fraser is in the TSN studios critiquing their work and clarifying their calls during intermissions. “At the very minimum, that’s a boarding major and game misconduct,” Fraser said of the first period hit from behind L.A.’s Jarret Stoll put on former Leaf/Flame Ian White. He was right, of course. White’s face was cut and he missed the rest of the game. Amazingly, no penalty was called on Stoll, who will almost certainly be suspended ... Ryan Miller is one of the three best goalies in the league and, thanks to a late season injury, he is now rested. Miller, who looked as sharp as ever in his 35-save shutout of the Flyers, made a statement with his play Thursday: Watch out for the well-coached Buffalo Sabres ... The Bruins tried to pry Tomas Kaberle from the Leafs for at least two years, believing that his pretty passes would help them to a long playoff run. And at the 2:45 mark of the first period of his first post-season game as a Bruin, Kaberle’s blind backhand dish led directly to Montreal’s first goal. Looks like B’s management targeted the wrong guy, too.

BETWEEN PERIODS: It didn’t take him long to score the first goal of the series, but Dany Heatley was even quicker to throw down the head phones off and bolt as soon as Gord Miller thanked him for his well-thought out insight (ha!) in their first intermission interview. Heatley despises such rituals more than anything ... With two full days between Games 3 and 4, the Bruins will leave Montreal for a small retreat in upper-state New York that just happens to have an available, Olympic size rink. Why? How about so they don’t have to worry about some screwy Habs fan harassing Chara. It’s tough to go around any town inconspicuously when you’re 6-foot-9, especially so when that town is Montreal and you’re the hated captain of the Bruins ... HNIC’s Jeff Marek informs us that in Montreal, 26 of 340 Boston Pizza restaurants are changing their name to Montreal Pizza for the playoffs. Marek wondered if Bostonians will respond with Freedom Fries. Okay, so it wasn’t funny when I wrote it either ... Price’s impersonation of Patrick Roy extended beyond his puck stopping. After one whistle he game P.K. Subban a big wink of approval for getting under Nathan Horton’s skin ... Let the record show, Chara had a playoff beard before the playoffs began. Just in case he is still playing in June and you’re thinking that, along with growing taller, he can also grow longer and faster than you ... You only wished that Ryan Clowe was miked up, with all the yapping he was doing at the Los Angeles bench after Ben Eager and Kyle Clifford’s first period fight.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: In 18 NHL seasons, Vincent Damphousse had four fights. On Thursday, he was charged with six counts of assaulting his wife. Go figure ... A relative unknown to this point, Brad Marchand will earn himself a reputation for being an effective rat if the Boston has a decent spring. “Bruins come within an eyelash of getting it tied,” Bob Cole cried, as only Bob Cole can, when Marchand, standing unguarded by Price’s left post, failed to convert a pass from Dennis Seidenberg into the open side ... Curiously, the Northeast Division cellar-living Senators have now also axed their vice president of communications and their director of player services. Not only have both Phil Legault and Chad Schella had solid careers, but both are coming off a better season than Filip Kuba.


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