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Cherry Pickin' -- Grapes not blaming Eakins for Oilers' woes

Keaton Robbins, QMI Agency

Don Cherry and Ron MacLean on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. (YouTube screengrab)

Don Cherry and Ron MacLean on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. (YouTube screengrab)

Welcome to Cherry Pickin’, where we at QMI Agency analyze Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada each week.

Before we delve into what irked Don this week, let’s take a moment to admire his suit of choice.

Now that you have that image seared into your brain, let’s begin.

Cherry started his Saturday segment with a tribute to Pat Quinn, the former Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks head coach who passed away November 23, (holding the front page of the Toronto Sun no less), and of course Ron MacLean had to add a witty word or two at the end.

“Alright he we go Pat Quinn...now all great coaches of the year...they have it up like that...you’ve seen that pose before,” Cherry said during CBC’s Coach’s Corner.

“He’s got it down Pat,” MacLean responded.

But it didn’t sound like Don was too pleased with the quip by MacLean.

Grapes went on to tell a great story on how he was Pat’s first pro roommate when he was just starting out in the NHL.

“I knew him before Sandra, his wife. A lot of people don’t know, so I’m telling you right now that I was his first pro roommate,” Grapes explained.

“I was his defense partner. We went to Rochester, he thought he was gonna make the Leafs...there’s no way he’s making it. So we have the party on the last night, and he finds out he’s going to Tulsa (AHL), he’s really feeling bad eh,” Cherry went on to say. “So we leave the party and I said 'kid, come on with me, grab a six-pack before we leave', you gotta do that to party.”

“I knew he was going to make the National Hockey League and be a great guy because I told him to grab a six-pack, right? I look back down the hall, and he’s got two...good Irish guy.”

Don then talked about the Edmonton Oilers and their recent slide into oblivion but didn’t put the blame on their head coach Dallas Eakins, who many people are calling to get fired.

“He’s a good guy, and I know how he’s out there, and he’s lost two good games.”

He pointed the finger at the Oilers’ skaters and applauded the play of both goalies.

“Can’t blame the goaltenders now, Fasth before and Scrivens last night was unbelievable.”

He also was pretty upset at how officials have been calling icing for quite some time, saying players could easily chase down the puck, but refs are blowing down the puck out of laziness.

“I could show ya 20 but I don’t have time!”

“I give the NHL heck for icing...now I do it for a rule, and I’m in trouble.”


Bobby Ryan may not have a lot of fans right now but Don doesn’t care about that.

He reminded Senators’ general manager Bryan Murray that Ryan was a good pickup, and highlighted his defensive play of late.

And it just isn’t a Saturday night without Don botching Kevin Bieksa’s last name.

“I know you Vancouver people are saying not Bietska again...he is a beauty...he’s unbelievable, he’s my type of guy.”

Apparently Don helped Lanny McDonald out when he was thinking about quitting hockey after he was traded to Colorado, and expecting the birth of his daughter, Ardell, in a few weeks.

“And then the phone rang, it was my buddy Don Cherry, and God bless him, he said ‘Lanny come, just play the games, you can go back in between, you’ll never have to practice until the baby was born’,” McDonald told MacLean during Hockey Night in Canada last week.

“I probably played the best hockey because I didn’t want to let Don down, and I love him to this day.”

Don ended the show with a tribute to Craftsman Kyle Sinclair, the Canadian soldier from Petawawa who died in a freak accident while he was doing routine mechanical work on an armoured vehicle at Garrison Petawawa.

“Our condolences go to his mom Anna...Kyle was only 27 years old, God love ya, you’re the best.”

WATCH THE FULL SEGMENT HERE:

[MOBILE USERS: CLICK HERE TO WATCH COACH'S CORNER]

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