Don Cherry speaks out in support of fighting on Coaches Corner

“(Fighting) has been going on for 50 years . . . 100 years,” Cherry said on CBC’s Coaches Corner segment during Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.

Cherry was supporting comments made last week by Phoenix Coyotes tough guy Georges Laraque, who said that the post-lockout NHL’s emphasis on speed is phasing out the role of the traditional enforcer.

A rough count by CP lists only 11 NHL clubs who regularly dress tough guys, seven other teams who occasionally do, and 12 more who haven’t at all this season.

Cherry showed a clip of Laraque wishing Los Angeles tough guys Raistis Ivanas luck before the two dropped the gloves.

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“A good friend of mine said ‘Somebody’s going to get killed in a fight,”‘ Cherry said. “Nobody’s ever got killed in a fight, but guys have got killed blocking shots, so let’s take blocking shots out.”

Cherry suggested that taking fighting out would be part of a “safe sell” to make the NHL more palatable to Americans.

“I’m a little worried about what’s going on down in the States, we’ve got to have some action going,” Cherry said.