Mike Babcock isn’t standing for Don Cherry’s goalie poop

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Getty Images

On Saturday night, venerable Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry ripped the Toronto Maple Leafs’ goaltending, praising the departed James Reimer (a.k.a. a good Canadian boy!) and burying Fredrik Andersen (a.k.a. one of them Euros!), who’s been rather bad with an .879 save percentage in his first four games with the Leafs after signing a five-year deal last summer.

“The biggest mistake they ever made!” said Cherry of Andersen, who missed most of the preseason with an injury suffered in an Olympic qualifier with Denmark and, again, is being judged on four games.

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When Don Cherry speaks, someone has to respond to his bloviating. So Ken Campbell of The Hockey News asked Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock about Cherry’s goalie evaluation at a media availability on Tuesday, and it went as expected.


The transcript:

CAMPBELL: “This is an organization where goaltending has been an issue for a number of years.”

BABCOCK: “Well, it’s five games in, isn’t it?

CAMPBELL: “Yeah, yeah it is.”

BABCOCK: “So, look around the stats in the League. Let’s take a deep breath here.”

CAMPBELL: “Well, I mean, it’s been a pattern in the Leafs organization for quite a number of years.”

BABCOCK: “I wouldn’t know, I’ve only been here once.”

CAMPBELL: “And the guy on Saturday night said the Leafs goaltending has been lousy this year, and I’m just wondering…”

BABCOCK: “Who did?”

[Ed. Note: In fairness, at this point Babcock is probably thinking he meant Kenan Thompson, who has been on SNL slightly longer than Cherry’s been on HNIC.]

CAMPBELL: “The guy on Saturday night, Don Cherry. He said the Leafs goaltending has been lousy.”

BABCOCK: [Looks around, dumbfounded, not having heard that it was Don Cherry]


BABCOCK: “Oh, OK. Now that I know where I’m getting the facts from, here we go! [Laughter] C’mon, let’s move on, what’s next here? Holy shit.”

CAMPBELL: “But seriously, it’s been an issue for this market probably since Ed Belfour left and I’m wondering if there’s anything to that!”

BABCOCK: “I’m not dealing with that. This is what I’d tell you: We have a really good goaltender. At the World Cup, we had three really outstanding goaltenders, and they talked about how much time it usually takes you to get ready. Our guy didn’t have that opportunity, due to his injury. Do we think he’s played as good as he’s capable of playing? No. Do we think he’s going to? Yes.

“I’m real comfortable with our goaltending situation. I’m just going to speak about the short time I’ve been here. I thought Reimer had an outstanding season for us last year. [Cue weirdly placed laughter in the background] We moved him on to help our franchise. I think Andersen’s going to have a great year this year.”


Well, that went well. That moment when Mike Babcock realized he was answering a criticism from a loud man wearing 1970s wallpaper for a jacket was something:


Looking forward to the inevitable retort from The Guy On Saturday Night.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.