Coach’s Corner: Don't poke the bear
Grapes says best way to beat Bruins is let sleeping dog lie
Don Cherry has a message for defenceman P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadiens: Don't poke the bear, namely Boston Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton or power forward Milan Lucic.
With the Canadiens leading 3-1 early in third period on Saturday, Subban ducked from a hard-charging Thornton and watched his opponent crash into the boards, injuring his right knee. Thornton went to the dressing room but finished the game, with his return inspiring his teammates to score a come-from-behind 5-3 victory in Game 2 of their NHL Eastern Conference semifinal.
Cherry also recalled Toronto Maple Leafs blue-liner Dion Phaneuf riling up Lucic in Game 7 of their first-round series last May. Phaneuf tapped Lucic's skate as he skated away, but the Bruins forward turned around and got in Phaneuf's face before heading to the penalty box with the Leafs holding a 2-1 lead.
Two minutes into the third, Lucic was victimized on Phil Kessel's goal that extended the Toronto lead to 3-1. Nazem Kadri made it 4-1 less than four minutes later. Enter Lucic, who had just a goal and five shots combined in the previous three games of the series after posting six assists in Games 1-3.
He began to dominate the Leafs physically and set up Nathan Horton for a goal. A little more than nine minutes later, Lucic wristed a shot past goalie James Reimer to cut the Toronto lead to 4-3 and give Boston the momentum it needed to draw even with 51 seconds left in regulation. Patrice Bergeron won the game for the Bruins in overtime.
Had Phaneuf left Lucic alone …
Watch Tuesday's full segment in the video above. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Cherry that it's best not to entice the Bruins into anything physical if they're sleepy in their play?