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Don Cherry’s Greatest Hits in honor of his 80th birthday

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By Allan Muir

My favorite Don Cherry moment? It was at the grand opening of his bar in Windsor, Ontario, back in the early ’80s. The man was standing at the back of the room holding court when he saw me walking up looking like a David St. Hubbins starter kit. He stopped, stared and let me have it. “Whaddaya doin’ with that hair?” he said. “You look like a sheepdog! Get a haircut, fer cryin’ out loud!”

That’s Grapes, right? The man has never shied away from sharing his honest opinion, and whether you love him or hate him, you know he’s not going to pull his punches. He always gives it to you straight.

And, truth be told, I probably could have used a trim.

Our interaction came to mind with the news that the ageless wonder is celebrating his 80th birthday today. And since we can’t get him what he really deserves — a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame — let’s honor his first day as an octogenarian with a look back at eight memorable Don Cherry moments — for better or worse — that we’ve all shared:

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  • Published On Feb 05, 2014
  • The collected Twitter wisdom of Don Cherry

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    Don Cherry has a become a Twitter must-read

    Don Cherry’s tweets are often as colorful as his renowned jackets. (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Collecting Don Cherry’s finest moments on Twitter as he approaches the 1,000 tweet milestone might seem a bit like a band putting out a greatest hits compilation right after their first album.

    That just goes to show how often the Hockey Night In Canada legend tweets pure, unadulterated gold.

    Back in the early days, Cherry simply linked to Coach’s Corner videos online, but has since graduated to offering up hot sports opinions and the occasional day-in-the-life stuff which, of course, is the premium material.

    We all know Don doesn’t actually send these tweets himself. He’s a moderate Luddite when it comes to this stuff: he avoids technology himself, but understands the way it can enhance his brand so he has Kathy Broderick, a producer at Hockey Night, do the actual work. Top marks to Kathy, because she does a bang-up job of capturing Don’s voice while translating him into English. No small feat, that.

    Here are some of our favorites so far as we look forward to to next thousand.

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  • Published On Apr 10, 2013
  • HNIC Hot Stove: Olympic talks resume this week

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    Sidney Crosby

    Sidney Crosby’s contract could cost upwards of $300,000 to insure for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    Interesting reveal from Glenn Healy on Hockey Night in Canada’s Hot Stove segment tonight regarding this week’s Olympic talks.

    All parties are scheduled to meet on Friday with hopes of finalizing the deal that would see NHL players take part in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Not surprisingly, assumption of insurance costs will be one of the main topics. As Healy noted, a few recent contracts highlight the significance of this issue.

    Insuring Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf alone will run something like $800,000. Look at the stars expected to make up the rosters for the tournament and you can see how quickly the total insurance costs will run into the tens of millions…and why the NHL wants no part in footing that bill.

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  • Published On Apr 06, 2013
  • Hockey Night in Canada pays tribute to Stompin’ Tom Connors

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    The tributes have been pouring in since Stompin’ Tom Connors passed away on Wednesday at 77 in print, in song and at arenas across North America.

    But the last, best word belongs to Hockey Night in Canada, which dedicated last night’s opening montage to the singer of “The Hockey Song” and so many other country classics. In case you missed it, it’s well worth the watch.


  • Published On Mar 10, 2013
  • Must-See Video: Hockey Night In Canada Footsteps montage

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    By Allan Muir

    If you’re not Canadian, here’s something you should probably know about us: We mythologize the hell out of hockey. Give us half an opening and we’ll go on and on about frozen ponds and flipping O-Pee-Chee cards, our street hockey impersonations and trying to listen to the end of Hockey Night In Canada after our parents had sent us to bed. For generations, it’s been our common language.

    HNIC captured all that beautifully on this week’s 60th anniversary montage, “Footsteps,” narrated by author Dave Bidini, with Michael Buble, Jay Baruchel and Gord Downie, among others, sharing their memories of hockey and the show. Best part: Eric Lindros and the towels. What kid didn’t imagine the day he’d finally get to drape one of those over his shoulders?

    The best montage yet? Check it out for yourself:


  • Published On Feb 02, 2013
  • Snap Shots: Flyers PK In Shambles; HNIC Crew Needs a Trim

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    Tyler Myers (57) scores one of three power-play goals for the Sabres on Sunday. (Bill Wippert/Getty Images)

    Tyler Myers (57, far left) scores one of three power-play goals for the Sabres on Sunday. (Bill Wippert/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    • A couple months from now, we all may be applauding Hockey Night In Canada’s producers for the patience they showed while allowing the new five-man panel to work through some early growing pains. But hey, we might be raving about Lance Armstrong’s appointment as the head of WADA too, right?

    If the group–host Ron MacLean, and commentators Elliotte Friedman, Kevin Weekes, Glen Healy and P.J. Stock — were simply an embarrassment of riches, then it might just be a matter of letting them find their rhythm. But outside of consummate professional MacLean and Friedman, who has established himself as the game’s top studio presence, the rest of the crew came off like the unprepared guy at the meeting who feels like he has to say something, anything, to impress the boss. They were bland and noisy as they flailed to claim some space as their own. It all made for lousy TV.

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  • Published On Jan 21, 2013
  • Flaws clear in NHLPA-Hockey Night poll

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    Not all hockey fights are the same and this complex issue deserves more than a “yes” or “no” answer. (Terry Lee/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    There’s lots to chew on in the annual NHLPA/CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Players’ Poll, the results of which were made public over the weekend. Pavel Datsyuk was pretty much acclaimed as the NHL’s best player, Zdeno Chara the best defenseman, and Henrik Lundqvist the best goalie. The players say they think the Canucks are overrated, the Blues are underrated, that they’d love to play for the Blackhawks, they love playing at Montreal’s Bell Centre, and  the Penguins Dan Bylsma is the coach they’d most like to play for.

    There’s lots more, of course, but let’s stop to consider the issues-oriented questions in the poll, namely those on fighting and the instigator rule. There are some serious problems here, and they start with the questions themselves.

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  • Published On Feb 21, 2012
  • Cherry is an early season bomb

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    Don Cherry and his brand of rock ‘em, sock ‘em hockey will always have fans. (Carlos Orsonio/AP Photos)

    By Stu Hackel

    The Winnipeg Jets got off to a shaky start Sunday night, at least on the ice (although their fans got off to a terrific start, with a standing ovation for their team in the final minute of a 5-1 loss to Montreal). The Senators are off to an even shakier start, surrendering 11 goals in their first two games. But no one has gotten off to a worse start this season than Don Cherry.

    The bombastic former coach overshadowed the arrival of the NHL season with an opening night tirade on Hockey Night in Canada that a few commenters called “a new low” and eventually forced his usually compliant overlords at the CBC distance to themselves from them, a very rare move. Then he only made things worse in his subsequent attempts to justify his initial remarks.
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  • Published On Oct 10, 2011
  • Recalling hockey’s radio days and a mystery song

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    By Stu Hackel

    With the most important hockey story today apparently being Sean Avery getting busted for shoving a cop, which is barely a hockey story at all, the dog days of summer have officially settled in. So it’s safe to go somewhere else for our ruminations.

    This post was inspired by the news that a giant of jazz, Frank Foster, had passed away in late July. Now, you’re saying, “What does that have to do with hockey?” Just be patient; I’ll get there. For me, it has more to do with hockey than Sean Avery’s arrest.
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  • Published On Aug 05, 2011
  • Plenty to chew on in NHLPA’s players poll

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    Penguins captain Sidney Crosby commands great respect among his peers as their smartest and toughest player to face, best role model, and top franchise building block. (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    Among the most interesting news out of All-Star Weekend — certainly more interesting than the game — was the Hockey Night in Canada-NHLPA Players’ Poll in which Sidney Crosby was recognized as the game’s top player. The players polled also said, almost unanimously, that they want to keep fighting in the game, but they also strongly support the current instigator rule.

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  • Published On Jan 31, 2011


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