NHL Canadian Corner – June 5, 2014

Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur rips Thomas Vanek and Max Pacioretty, the latest on the Canucks search for a new coach, Michael Hutchinson could have a chance with the Jets next season, and Don Cherry complains about the lack of Canadians on the Leafs and Senators. 

Max Pacioretty received criticism for his playoff performance from Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur.

Max Pacioretty received criticism for his playoff performance from Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur criticized the playoff performance of current Habs Thomas Vanek and Max Pacioretty. He had harsher criticism for Vanek, but feels Pacioretty will learn from this year’s playoff experience and expects he’ll be better next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Lafleur’s criticism of Vanek, but not about Pacioretty. While Pacioretty is a streaky scorer, for much of this year’s playoffs he was clearly working hard, driving to the net, getting shots and trying to score. Yes, he didn’t have a good final game against the Rangers in the Conference Final, but then all but Dustin Tokarski seemed to have mentally checked out of that game. Vanek won’t be back, but Pacioretty will get better as he enters his playing prime.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford believes there’s plenty of good reasons for the Canucks to bring back former bench boss Marc Crawford, who’s had contact with the club about the job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Crawford won a championship this season in the Swiss “A” League, I think the Canucks should look elsewhere for a new head coach. Time for a new approach, not a blast from the past. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets promising goalie Michael Hutchinson has carried their farm team (St. John’s Ice Caps) to the AHL’s Calder Cup Final. His performance could earn him a shot with the Jets next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If they intend on sticking with Ondrej Pavelec as their starter, they might as well promote from within for a backup and give Hutchinson a shot. 

CANOE SPORTS: Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry ripped into the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators for lacking Canadian talent on their teams. He pointed out the LA Kings have 15 Canadians while the NY Rangers have 12, and accused the Senators of being in love with Europeans while the Leafs favor Americans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You know who else loves Europeans and favors Americans? The Kings and Rangers. The playoffs points-leader is Kings forward Anze Kopitar (Slovenia) and the playoff goals leader is Kings forward Marian Gaborik (Slovakia). The Kings starting goalie is Jonathan Quick (USA) and their captain is Dustin Brown (USA). Two of their defensemen are Alec Martinez and Matt Greene (USA), another is Slava Voynov (Russia). The top goalie in the playoffs is Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist (Sweden). The Rangers playoff  points leader is Ryan McDonagh (USA). Four of their top forwards are Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan (USA), Mats Zuccarello (Norway) and Carl Hagelin (Sweden). Another key Rangers defenseman is Anton Stralman (Sweden). One of their checking line regulars is Brian Boyle (USA). 

 It’s the quality of your talent, not where they’re from, which determines success, as well as how well you develop and coach that talent.  When Cherry owned the OHL’s Mississauga Ice Dog back in the 1990s he tried drafted only North Americans. They won a total of 16 games in three years under that formula. When it comes to Europeans and Americans, Cherry’s mindset is still stuck in the 1970s. 


  1. I think when the wind bag named Cherry says ‘Canadian hockey players’ I think he really means good or talented hockey players. Being stuck in whatever era Cherry is in has him thinking ONLY Canadians are good complete player.

  2. Also “just for fun Mr. Cherry

    15 Canadians (including both goalies, their Captain, their #1 defensive prospect, all but two of their top 6)
    4 Americans (including their two best forwards)
    2 Euro players
    In the system: 23 Canadians, 9 Americans, 7 Euro
    Approximate Toronto organization: 63% CAN, 22% USA, 15% EUR

    16 Canadians (including their captain, top two centers, best defensive prospect, 6 of 7 blueliners)
    3 Americans (including their starting goaltender and one of their best forwards)
    4 Euros (including two of their top 6 forwards, top center prospect, Norris winning defenseman)
    In the System: 14 Canadians, 15 Americans, 8 Euros
    Approximate Ottawa Organization: 50% Canadian, 30% American, 20% Euro

    So what does this tell us in Don Cherry’s analysis? First off, but Toronto and Ottawa had more Canadians playing in their big club then the two teams in the Cup Finals. On both of those teams their best player is yes an American in Toronto and a Swede in Ottawa … however the vast majority of the Toronto organization is Canadian and in fact, Ottawa has more American players overall in the organization then Toronto. Between the two of them they have a total of 21 European players out of 120 players.

    I also go by the, you draft the best player available to you regardless of nationality. Don Cherry’s senseless chest puffing once again proves to be useless and proves to continue to show why he is one of the most useless voices in hockey today.

    • Shhh, you’re letting facts get in the way of Cherry’s rant.

  3. Cherry is a xenophobe and it is really sad that a person like that is allowed to work at Canada’s national broadcaster.