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Coach's Corner: AHL grads making impact in NHL

During Coach's Corner on Wednesday, Don Cherry said several AHL graduates look strong in the NHL playoffs, including Nathan Beaulieu of the Montreal Canadiens.

Cherry singles out play of Beaulieu, Fraser, Gibson

With the Memorial Cup set to begin Friday in London, Ont., Don Cherry took time Wednesday night to salute Canadian junior hockey and the American Hockey League, both of which have fed the National Hockey League with talented players over the years.

During his Coach’s Corner segment, Cherry singled out Montreal Canadiens defenceman Nathan Beaulieu, Boston Bruins left-winger Matt Fraser and Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson.

The trio has made headlines during Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Beaulieu, 21, assisted on a Max Pacioretty goal and was plus-2 in Montreal’s 4-0 Game 6 win on Monday, his first NHL post-season game after posting 27 points in 57 games with the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs this season.

Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli promoted the 23-year-old Fraser from Red Deer, Alta., last week and he responded by scoring the overtime winner in the Bruins’ 1-0 win over Montreal to even the NHL Eastern Conference at two games apiece.

During the regular season, Fraser scored twice in 14 contests for Boston and had 20 goals and 30 points in 44 regular-season games with the Providence Bruins of the AHL.

Gibson, 20, filled in for the injured Frederik Andersen in Game 4 on May 10 and pitched a 28-save shutout against the Los Angeles Kings in his NHL playoff debut a few days after stopping 39 shots in a playoff contest for AHL Norfolk.

“You have to have guys like this [that play in the American Hockey League],” Cherry said.

Watch Wednesday’s full segment in the video above. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Don?

Watch previous episodes of Coach's Corner here

Follow Don Cherry on Twitter @CoachsCornerCBC.

Follow Ron MacLean on Twitter @RonMacLeanCBC.

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