This week, I’ll dive into the firing of Don Cherry and why its a good thing for hockey. I’ll also give my take on a trade most people haven’t heard about and a hot start you should know about.
1. Don Cherry Fired by Sportsnet
For over 30 years, Don Cherry has dominated TV screens in Canada with his Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada. That run officially ended on Monday as Cherry was fired from Sportsnet for his remarks criticizing immigrants that did not wear a poppy pin intended to honor fallen Canadian soldiers.
Here are Cherry’s comments:
Sportsnet released the following statement announcing Cherry’s departure:
Statement from Sportsnet: pic.twitter.com/ah3twdx9po
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 11, 2019
As a young, American viewer, I was getting sick of Cherry. Yes, he was a great entertainer that did a lot for hockey. But his act grew old and tired. Regardless of all that, his comments were despicable. I’m glad to see Sportsnet agreed and did away with him the way they should have years ago. It’s refreshing to see a network take social issues seriously. Even if Sportsnet only fired him due to the backlash, it’s better that doing nothing.
Canada and the NHL have both made major strides in becoming more socially progressive, and this decision benefits both. Cherry is the epitome of the “Old Man Yells at Cloud” meme and I certainly didn’t find it entertaining anymore. I’m sure whoever Sportsnet finds to replace Cherry will be a welcome addition to the booth.
Also, let’s be honest, Cherry’s suits were always terrible.
2. Fabbri Traded to the Red Wings
Last week, the defending champion St. Louis Blues and the bottom-dwelling Detroit Red Wings completed a trade. The Blues dealt forward Robby Fabbri for Wings’ forward Jacob de la Rose. The one for one swap didn’t attract that much fanfare but could be one of importance for both clubs.
For St. Louis, it hurts to lose Fabbri. But, the former first-round pick just couldn’t find a spot in the lineup. Fabbri was averaging a career-low 9:42 TOI. Fabbri always had a ton of potential, especially after scoring 37 points as a rookie. Still, he will always have a Stanley Cup ring to show for his time in St. Louis. The Blues needed a player a bit more comfortable in a depth role that could kill penalties. de la Rose is that, and that’s about all he is. St. Louis should get what they need out of this trade.
For the Wings, this is another attempt by general manager Steve Yzerman buying low on a former first-round pick. Fabbri no doubt has untapped potential. And if the Red Wings can tap it, they will have acquired a potential top-six forward for a bottom-six forward. That makes a good trade. Fabbri has already made his presence felt in Detroit, scoring two goals, including the game-winner in his first game with the squad.
Detroit gets more upside out of this trade. St. Louis is a team that’s competing this year and made a move to help them do that. The Wings made a move they needed to make to help them compete in the future. This trade makes perfect sense for both sides. Still, if Fabbri develops into half the player he can be, Detroit wins the trade.
3. Coyotes GM John Chayka Nets Extension
On Monday, the Arizona Coyotes announced that they agreed to an extension with their general manager John Chayka. His deal was slated to expire in 2021, but his new deal is expected to add a few additional years to that, though the terms were not disclosed. The 30-year-old Chayka was the youngest general manager in the history of the NHL, having been hired at 26-years-old (two years older than I am now).
This is a big mandate from new owner Alex Meruelo. Most times, new owners or executives take some time to evaluate coaches and front office members. Frequently, they opt to go in a different direction. Meruelo is clearly happy with the direction of the franchise and wanted to show he believes in Chayka.
This is a fantastic decision by the Coyotes. Chayka has done a great job as the team’s general manager. The team just missed the playoffs last year despite having the most man-games lost due to injury. He also acquired Phil Kessel in the offseason and has built a strong core of young players. Maybe Chayka will finally bring a Stanley Cup to the desert.
4. Nick Foligno Suspended 3 Games
The league announced today that they have suspended Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno three games for elbowing Avalanche forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. The hit occurred during the second period. You can see Foligno raise his elbow just as Bellemare is skating past him.
Foligno has to be better than this. He’s too good to be missing games for stupid penalties like this. Especially ones where there is little be gained. It’s not like he was avenging an injured teammate or retaliating. There just wasn’t a purpose for this hit. That’s why it was stupid.
5. Whose Hot Right Now?
J.T. Miller is scorching. After the Canucks traded for him in the offseason, I ripped the team for making an unnecessary trade. The Canucks don’t have a ton of flexibility and trading for a slightly above-average player like Miller didn’t seem like a great idea. Well, Miller has exceeded all expectations so far this year. Miller is 14th in the league in points with 19 (8 goals, 11 assists) in 14 games.
Many will argue that he’s playing so well because of the talent around him. But, let’s not forget he played on one of the best regular-season teams of all time last year, the Tampa Bay Lightning. If Miller can keep this up, Vancouver could be a very good team this season. ■