Monday, March 2, 2009

Tensions Flare, Russo-Canuckistani War Seems Imminent

It's no secret that we of the Chronicle are fans of the wonderfully entertaining but often full-of-shit Don Cherry. As Shooter noted yesterday, this past weekend's edition of Coach's Corner included a rant against Alex Ovechkin and other Russian and European players for their visible enthusiasm on the ice.

"Be like Yzerman," he said. Or something along those lines.

Some good old-fashioned Euro-bashing is hardly out of character for Cherry (strange, I think, for a guy who wears glorious suits cut in high-collared Savile Row style), but what made the segment more cringe-inducing than usual was, as Greg Wyshynski says, the montage of dark-skinned soccer players that was meant to represent the sport-corroding evil of celebrating goals.

All kinds of chatter in response to Cherry, of course, including chatter from Bruce Boudreau and from Ovechkin himself. From Capitals Insider:

Boudreau and Cherry are friends. Cherry called Boudreau to congratulate him when he was promoted to Washington. Boudreau, however, said his old buddy was wrong to criticize Ovechkin for his emotional displays after goals.

"I love Don Cherry," Boudreau said. "But I think he was a little over the top yesterday on Alex."

"At the first part, I thought he was going to be criticizing [Pittsburgh captain] Crosby, the first 30 seconds of his thing. Then he criticized Alex for celebrating too much. I was hoping they would throw it back and show Crosby jumping at the glass the last couple of games he scored a goal in. As much as I really like the guy, he was wrong."

Boudreau added: "He's a friend of mine. He's an idol of mine. I love what Don Cherry has stood for, for 30 years. I just think even the smartest people in the world are wrong sometimes."
Now here's Ovechkin's take. When I brought up the subject after today's dismal 6-2 loss to Florida, at first he smiled and pretended not to hear my question or know who Cherry was.

"Don Cherry?" Ovechkin said. "What I can say? He's a funny guy, old guy. He likes old-fashioned hockey, so he don't like probably my celebrations. He said a lot of stuff about [Atlanta all-star Ilya] Kovalchuk and me, so he ...I don't know. I don't want to talk about him. He's not interesting to me. He can say whatever he want. I don't care about him."

When I asked Ovechkin if he was angry about Cherry's comments, he added: "I just laughed when I saw his suits. He's funny. In hockey we need someone like that, someone who thinks I'm celebrating like soccer player. Maybe Canadians don't have soccer teams. Maybe he's jealous of Russia."

Prediction: that last sentence will lead to serious escalation.

1 comment:

Razor Catch Prey said...

There has been a ton of talk about Cherry's rant on Home Ice since it happened. Almost universally, the folks are siding with Ovie. As one guy pointed out, Cherry's job is to stir people up and get people talking about hockey, and he did that job well.