Savard should be on Olympic squad: Cherry
Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry wasn't amused at forward Marc Savard's exclusion from Canada's Olympic orientation camp in the summer.
Cherry blasted the team's management for not including the Boston sharpshooter on its roster during his weekly Coach's Corner segment on Saturday.
"Can you believe it? There's guys on that team Canada that [are] minus-15," Cherry said. "He's plus-25 [last season]. Nobody trying out for Team Canada can touch him."
The 32-year-old Ottawa native netted 25 goals and added 63 assists last season, placing him ninth on the overall scoring list.
He's continued that pace this season, and already has four goals and three assists in six games.
At the time of the orientation camp selection in July, Team Canada management explained that they were looking for a number of players to play different types of roles, hence the exclusion of some big names.
"We wanted to bring some different types of players, some guys that maybe aren't leading their teams in scoring but very good players in a different role," said Steve Yzerman, the team's executive director, in June.
"And then in doing that, we had to remove a different type of player."
Savard's exclusion was the biggest talking point back then as well, but both Yzerman and Canada coach Mike Babcock stressed that new players could still be added during the season.
"Things can change in the next six months significantly," Yzerman said.
But it didn't happen when the last two men's Olympic teams were selected, in 2006 and 2002, as those squads were made up of players invited to the summer orientation camp.
In his Saturday segment, Cherry also worried about Toronto newcomer Phil Kessel when he returns from shoulder surgery in November. With the Leafs struggling out of the gate, more pressure might be heaped on the star forward to produce big numbers.
"I feel sorry for this kid when he comes back. He doesn't have anybody here to feed him the puck," he said.
With the Bruins last season, Kessel prospered on a line with Savard, scoring 36 goals and adding 24 assists.
The Maple Leafs traded two first-round picks and a second to Boston for the restricted free agent, then signed Kessel to a new five-year, $27 million US deal.