TORONTO – Don Cherry held nothing back in the first edition of Coach’s Corner of the 2010-11 NHL season, ripping the Toronto Maple Leafs for undermining a top prospect and the Montreal Canadiens for keeping the wrong goaltender.
The popular CBC hockey personality blasted the Maple Leafs for their treatment of rookie forward Nazem Kadri, accusing the club of killing his confidence before assigning him to the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies to start the season.
“I have never in 50 years seen a kid treated as a rookie like this guy,” Cherry said.
Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke and coach Ron Wilson did not shy away from criticizing Kadri throughout his difficult NHL pre-season, and Cherry said when he did break out with two goals and an assist in an exhibition game against Ottawa his performance was written off as “just one game.”
“You want to send the guy down, send him down. (But) you stroke a kid like that because he has magic hands. You don’t ridicule him time and time again,” Cherry said.
“Terrible dumb move.”
Cherry was similarly upset with the Montreal Canadiens’ decision to keep goaltender Carey Price over the beloved Jaroslav Halak.
Cherry questioned why Halak, who became the toast of Montreal with his strong play in last season’s playoffs, was traded to the St. Louis Blues for “nothing” while the team kept Price, who has been the target of vocal abuse from Montreal’s fans throughout the pre-season.
“Carey Price is a good goaltender, don’t get me wrong. He will not be a good goaltender in Montreal. They should have kept Halak and its a shame this kid is going to get the treatment in Montreal,” Cherry said.