Don Cherry is a staunch supporter of Dion Phaneuf, but he’s not surprised the star defenceman became trade bait in Calgary.
During his Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Cherry weighed in on the seven-player swap that sent Phaneuf from the Flames to the Maple Leafs, saying the former Norris Trophy candidate deserves some blame for wearing out his welcome at the Saddledome.
“You know what happened? (Phaneuf) got too big for his britches,” Cherry said. “If he was playing out there the way he’s playing now, they wouldn’t have traded him.
“I think a slap in the face finally got to him and he grew up a little bit here in Toronto. What happens is with young kids, they start thinking they’re rockstars.”
The Flames made headlines last Sunday when they shipped Phaneuf, winger Fredrik Sjostrom and defence prospect Keith Aulie to the Leafs in exchange for forwards Matt Stajan, Jamal Mayers and Niklas Hagman and rearguard Ian White.
Toronto fans are falling in love with the heavy-hitting Phaneuf, who scored his first point a Maple Leaf Saturday, but Cherry figures Flames followers should also be excited about the trade.
“Everybody is knocking (Flames GM Darryl) Sutter, saying ‘What did he get? He got nothing,’ ” Cherry said. “He got two 20-goal scorers, maybe 30-goal scorers, and Ian White had a better (points) record than Phaneuf when he came here.”