Cherry has own ideas about fixing Leafs

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

Don Cherry is all for the Maple Leafs starting over, but the outspoken star of Hockey Night In Canada would like to see some common sense in whatever housecleaning takes place over the summer.

Specifically, Grapes said suggestions that the team wants to get rid of defenceman Bryan McCabe and forward Darcy Tucker are "ridiculous" and that $8.5 million is too much to bring back captain Mats Sundin.

"I'm a little concerned that they are talking about getting rid of McCabe," Cherry said yesterday at Woodbine Racetrack where he was the guest drawmaster for the Queen's Plate on Sunday. "Maybe he shouldn't be making the money he's making, but where are you going to get another guy like that?

"And Darcy. They're talking about getting rid of him? Let's not be stupid about this. Get rid of some guys, but don't get rid of the heart and soul because somebody says get rid of Darcy. So he had one bad year and now you're going to get rid of him?"

Cherry delighted the crowd of owners and trainers associated with the 15 horses scheduled to participate in the Queen's Plate with his usual flair. Cherry admitted he wants the Leafs to do well, a stance that often irritates critics of Coach's Corner on HNIC.

And like Leafs fans, he doesn't want to wait much longer.

"I'm a Leafs fan and they're talking about losing for two years (before any sign of improvement)," Cherry said. "I don't want to see them lose for two more years."

To that end, Cherry wondered if bringing back captain Mats Sundin for another year would be the right move.

"They haven't made the playoffs in three years, I'm glad he got the (Mark Messier) leadership award," Cherry said. "I wouldn't give $8.5 million. If he's really serious about coming back, he should come back. He's a stud and a leader. Not my cup of tea, but he should come back."

As for recently hired Leafs coach Ron Wilson, Cherry offered a backhanded endorsement.

"Ron Wilson, he has been a winner around (the NHL)," Cherry said. "Everybody knows he's a pompous, arrogant guy -- nothing wrong with a pompous, arrogant guy. He has done it in Washington. He has done it before."


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