Don Cherry's rant at Leafs' handling of Nazem Kadri is misguided

Cam Charron
October 03 2012 01:36PM

If the Brian Burke feud with Don Cherry from late January has any spillover victims, it's Dallas Eakins of the Toronto Marlites.

That's Cherry's scope in this town. He's not just a media figure, he's a cult, and Eakins, a coach of an American Hockey League team, had to answer questions raised by Cherry on Twitter.

So let's recap the things Cherry has said in 2012 about the Maple Leafs' organization. In three mediums now, he has criticized the team for the way they treat American college players in relation to good Southern Ontario kids.

There was this interview with QMI from a few months back:

“I like Brian Burke. I have nothing against Brian Burke,” said Cherry in an exclusive sit-down interview with the Ottawa Sun on Saturday. “But Brian Burke doesn’t like me. That’s the sad thing. We used to be the best of friends. I used to get St. Patrick’s Day cards from him ... no more.

“Brian Burke does not like what I say about the Leafs. But what am I supposed to say about them? They haven’t made the playoffs in (seven) years. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I guess he doesn’t like it. But I am what I am.”

“I don’t like [Ron Wilson]. I don’t like the way he treats the players ... like (Nazem) Kadri, he’s my favourite kid,” he said. “I don’t think (Wilson) respects them. When some reporter reads this, he’ll go to a player and ask: ‘What do you think of Ron Wilson?’ What do you think the kid is going to say? I don’t like the way he throws his players under the bus.”

Cherry's emotional line of thinking exposes his argument to many holes.

Blaming Burke for seven years without the playoffs is wrong. The fact is that Burke had nothing to do with the way John Ferguson Jr. positioned the Leafs before the last lockout, his reaction to the salary cap or Cliff Fletcher's disastrous trades. You can blame Burke for three years without the playoffs, not seven.

Low-hanging cherries

In March, on Coach's Corner, Cherry took no prisoners in his legendary Leafs rant. I transcribed the whole thing here:

Last night I’m at the Marlies and the Rebels game… these guys, beautiful guys, they’re T.O. young Nats. They will never play for the Toronto Maple Leafs. I heard your interview with Burke, and he said ‘well we have a tough time here. We have, every team has five guys come in from Ontario.’ Now I’d just like to tell you because more people come from Ontario, more hockey players come from Ontario, than any other place in the world.”

“I’ll just give you, Vancouver, I wrote it down, I had to write it down right there, Vancouver has four. Pittsburgh has six from Ontario. St. Louis! Beautiful team, surprise team! Nine! Last year, Boston had seven from Ontario, this year they got nine from Ontario. When Chicago won it the year before they had seven.”

“Yes, every team in the National Hockey League has a guy from Ontario except one! Guess who it is? It's Ontario's Toronto Maple Leafs!"

Again, the raw emotion exposes Cherry to his flawed reasoning behind why the Leafs haven't been a successful hockey team.

In essence, he opened himself up. It's not that the Leafs are bad necessarily, but that the Leafs are bad without having a strong Ontario-born hockey player. That was the guy, Kadri, from London Ontario, who was going to be the Southern Ontario-born superstar for the Leafs. He had a wicked junior career starting in Kitchener and ending in London.

And never made the Leafs. 

I'm not entirely convinced the team's development of Kadri has been especially flawed. He has yet to make an impact at the NHL-level because the Leafs' main concern is a glut of centremen that keep Kadri out of the way. Kadri's switched over to wing, but the Leafs have five scoring wingers in their top four slots going into next season.

But Cherry likes to set a certain tone. He's made the assertion that "Canada loses" when the Leafs win and that young hockey players in the GTHL and other Southern Ontario minor hockey leagues will never have the chance to play for their hometown teams—so long as Brian Burke is in charge.

And so Cherry's comments yesterday are not directed at Dallas Eakins necessarily but moreso that situational deficiencies have kept Kadri from succeeding in the NHL as of yet. That means that today Eakins, who seems like a reasonably level-headed guy who was simply answering a question a reporter asked about Kadri on the first day of camp, is the villain du jour in this systematic upheaval of Canadian hockey as we know it at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

That is, of course, according to Cherry.

And yet, nobody has asked Eakins either of the questions that needs to be answered in all of this:

Where does Nazem Kadri compare in fitness to last year?

And:

Who are the other bottom three or bottom five guys in body fat on the Marlies?

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 Matt
October 03 2012, 04:37PM
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Agreed... as I've said - this whole thing with Cherry and Kadri makes little sense to me.

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#2 They're $hittie
October 03 2012, 06:46PM
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sorry where in the quote does it say the cherry blames burke for the leafs being out of the playoffs for 7 year? It say, he says they have been out of the playoffs for 7 years so I say bad stuff about them, not they have been out of the playoffs for 7 years because of Brian Burke.

Next the leafs have not gotten any better with Burke as their GM.

This whole problem dates back to when Burke was trying to play big mean dog and prove a point to try and screw over murray when he wanted kadri. Murray would not give into the ridiculous demands burke was asking for. So Burke in spite, drafts a player he was not originally interested in.

Also Seguin is already better than Kessel and its not long before Hamilton is also.

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#3 bailey
October 03 2012, 08:06PM
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@They're $hittie

agree with your comment about the misrepresentation of Don's words but strongly disagree with your comments about Seguin being better than kessel. Let alone Hamilton. There is no comparison. The list of big BIG NAME players that have less points than kessel does over the last 3 seasons is a mile long! Kessel is one of the best goal scores in the game and will be a point per game player (give or take) for many years. Seguin plays on a team that won the cup and is a landslide better than the leafs in every way. Had he become a leaf his impact would have been minimal without that support. Seguin is an amazing player but he's not ever going to be the point producer kessel is. Ever!

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#4 Lolz
October 03 2012, 10:52PM
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I don't like how the Leafs publicly talked about his body fat testing. There is no reason to embarrass the kid. Dallas Eakins should know better.

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#5 Lolz
October 03 2012, 10:52PM
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I don't like how the Leafs publicly talked about his body fat testing. There is no reason to embarrass the kid. Dallas Eakins should know better.

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#6 They're $hittie
October 04 2012, 09:16AM
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@bailey

I can appreciate your assessment on kessel. But I bet if you poll the GMs it would be 25-5 in favour of taking seguin over kessel. and maybe there is a point production difference but seguin is younger and ahead of kessel at the same age.

While Seguin is on a better team he also had 60 minutes less powerplay time and 180 lees on 5 on 5.

Seguin was 2.69 pp60 and kessel is 2.46

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#7 They're $hittie
October 04 2012, 09:35AM
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some other things to consider

Kessel

19 YO Season .414 ppg

20 YO Season .451 ppg

21 YO Season .857 ppg

22 YO Season .785 ppg

23 YO Season .780 ppg

24 YO Season 1.00 ppg .451 GPG

Lifetime .717 ppg .361 GPG

Seguin

18-19 YO Season .297 ppg

19-20 YO Season .827 ppg

Lifetime .574 ppg .258 GPG

Hall LY .442 GPG

LT .389 GPG .753 ppg

SO to recap, Seguin is way ahead of the kessel development and is prime to pass him this year in point production, Hall is already ahead of kessel in career GPG production and point production. And the reason I bring Hall into this is that without kessel the leafs would have finished last that year and had the option of hall or kessel if the trade wasn't made.

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#8 rockybottom
October 04 2012, 03:06PM
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@What is happening to Ebs on the Shootout

Calm down, get a life, or troll somewhere else.

Concern yourself with your own team that has owned the bottom of the league for how many years now? Tearing other people/teams down will not elevate you.

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#9 Matt
October 04 2012, 03:58PM
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Ya.. how did a conversation about Cherry defending Kadri turn into the obligatory Kessel / Seguin debate? Stupid..

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#10 RESmith
October 08 2012, 01:11AM
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Has anyone ever considered Nazem Kadri is Don Cherry's illegitimate son?

Nazem plays like gang busters the 1st 3 or 4 games when he's called up then disappears into the wind like the smoke from a J, Cherry's a fool for thinking playing less minutes on the 4th line with the Leafs will build more confidence for the kid than playing twice as many minutes on either the 1st or 2nd line on the Marlie's under Eakins tutelage. Dallas had a right to call the kid out as he is the boss & Kadri is his employee. He should of been in the best shape of his life with the money he's making Your always supposed to be working your hardest to make a good impression to get a promotion in the real world. He must of known he was out of shape coming into camp & if he was too stupid not to notice then Eakins had a right to embarrass him to try & make sure it doesn't happen again.

I'm usually a big fan of Cherry's but on this Kadri issue he has it completely wrong. That's why he isn't coaching any longer. Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Garry Cheevers and a bunch of other stars allowed him to gain a Stanley Cup ring. He's just got a HO for Burke now and taking it out on anyone associated with him.

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