Don Cherry's Grapes of wrath: Much ado about nothing on Hockey Night In Canada

Chris Zelkovich
Eh Game
Don Cherry is in the spotlight again. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Don Cherry is in the spotlight again. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Don Cherry isn't going anywhere, so you can all relax. 

And that includes those whose hearts soared when the Toronto Sun's Steve Buffery speculated Monday that Grapes' incessant complaints about a lack of time on Saturday indicated that the long-time Coach's Corner star might be trying to get himself fired from Hockey Night In Canada.

While Cherry has had plenty of meltdowns over his perceived shortage of air time in the past decade, the fact that he's been cast in a reduced role under his new bosses at Rogers might have added a bit more importance to his performance Saturday.

But his new boss, who was once his old boss, says it's pretty much business as usual.

``Don has a theory about television and that's always leaving people wanting more," says Scott Moore, president of Rogers NHL broadcasts. ``The way he's done that over the years is by saying he doesn't have enough time,

``He may have done it a little more than usual on Saturday, but that's because he had a lot he wanted to get on. It was nothing more than that."

Cherry said as much in an interview on Rogers-owned Sportsnet The FAN 590.

Cherry said he was a little upset about not having enough time for a Remembrance Day bit, but dismissed it as anything serious.

``I guess I've got to stop having so many coffees before (the broadcast) to get carried away," he said. ``I say what I think and it gets you in trouble sometimes."

For the record, Cherry complained about his lack of time six times in a five-minute segment, possibly a record even for him.

``I gotta talk fast cuz I don't get much time," he said at one point. If viewers didn't get that, he later ranted, ``Why are we tight? Why are we tight?" when host Ron MacLean said they were tight for time.

Moore said Cherry was restricted to five minutes Saturday because the show wanted to focus more on Sidney Crosby, who had five assists in the first two periods. Coach's Corner has run from five to more than seven minutes this year, he said. (About a decade ago, it ran as long as 10 minutes, so maybe this has all been building up.)

``It has varied over the years and it has varied this year," said Moore, who was Cherry's boss at CBC Sports a few years ago and weathered more than a few complaints from and about him.

``I've told Don if he needs more time he can tell us and we'll be respectful of that assuming it's worthy of the time that particular night," he said.

As for the perception that Cherry is at war with his bosses, Moore said basically that this is show biz.

``I love the fact that people take notice of what Don says," he said. ``Whether it's good or bad, they take notice and that's a special thing in television. 

`` It's all fun."


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