Don Cherry on Leafs’ treatment of Kadri: ‘The kid is not going to be here in 2 years’

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(Courtesy: Hockey Night in Canada)

Iconic, bombastic hockey broadcaster Don Cherry loves Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri

Cherry has a bottomless well of affection for the embattled 24-year-old forward and on Saturday’s edition of Coach’s Corner he went to bat, once again, for his favourite Maple Leaf. 

Clad in Lucky Charms gear for St. Practice Day, Cherry touched on the recent Kadri saga. After being late for a team meeting last weekend, in addition to a handful of other off-ice issues, Kadri was suspended by the club for three games. He was chastened and embarrassed. 

In Cherry’s opinion, it was the final straw, and will probably result in Kadri leaving Toronto as an unrestricted free agent.

“Listen there’s been a cloud over this kid ever since he’s 18-years-old,” Cherry said, as he started off on yet another of his typical, rambling rants. “I remember his very first training camp he led the team in goals, assists, and they said he couldn’t play defense – he was plus-6! – (they) didn’t give him a chance, they sent him down. He’s been ridiculed, humiliated.”

The controversial broadcaster then got into a longwinded and factually inaccurate criticism of Maple Leafs interim head coach Peter Horachek, who was an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators when the Predators suspended Russian-born forward Alexander Radulov and Belorussian-born forward Andrei Kostitsyn for breaking curfew ahead of a playoff game back in 2012. During this particular strained anecdote Cherry referred to Radulov and Kostitsyn as “the two Russians”(nope), and misremembered some key facts about how that situation actually played out. Ron MacLean’s reaction sums it up best, really:

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(Courtesy: Hockey Night in Canada)

Though Cherry whiffed on some of the details regarding the Predators’ decision to scratch Radulov and Kostitsyn during the 2012 playoffs, his larger point, that the Predators mishandled this particular incident, is actually compelling. 

Then Cherry returned to Kadri, and made his bold prediction: that the promising Maple Leafs pivot will not be a Maple Leafs player in two years:

The kid is not going to be here in two years. He’d be nuts he’s been humiliated in front of his family and everything. He’s been called everything since he came here. He is not going to be here. I am betting you anybody that he will stay here when he’s restricted, the day he becomes unrestricted – they better take care of him before – because he’ll be gone. If anyone stays here after what he’s been through, humiliation, then he has no pride.

Whoa Don, tell us how you really feel!

Now perhaps lost amid the strong language, we should note that Cherry did leave the door open a crack for Kadri remaining a Maple Leaf, but he suggested that it’ll largely depend on whether or not the club takes care of Kadri for the long-term this summer. 

Kadri is on an expiring deal and is arbitration eligible this summer. Barring lingering bad blood between the two sides – like what we saw with Ryan O’Reilly and the Colorado Avalanche this past summer – a long-term contract is usually the outcome when a key young asset hits his arbitration eligible restricted seasons. 

In the context of this weeks events, how Kadri’s contract situation plays out this summer will be fascinating. 

Cherry’s take on the Kadri’s recent suspension was unsurprisingly hyperbolic and scorching hot, but if you read between the lines and cool it down a bit, the notion that Kadri’s recent suspension raises the stakes of his pending contract negotiations is actually pretty interesting. 

Watch the full segment from here.

    • TGT23

      Of course you hope they get rid of Kadri.

      It all makes sense.

      You hate the Leafs (Canadiens fan?) and hope they run all the good players out of town and suck for another 10 years… Got it…

      If I looked back would I fond you saying they should ship Reilly after that controversy he had a few weeks ago?

      Wouldn’t surprise me.

      • CMpuck

        I hate the Leafs being a bottom feeder without hope of change throughout the cap era. I actually take issue with that.

        Rielly is one of the few bright spots, I actually want to turn the page from jobbers like Kadri, people no one would miss if their traded.

        I can’t get my head around the blind homerism given whats on the ice.

        • CMpuck

          CMpuck, how dare you criticize any leaf player. You are not a leaf fan why you probably are a martian fan, your favorite player is probably Garnet Exelby after that Burkie pylon played for a year and disappeared and as far as we know is playing on Mars.

          Kadri is the future man, just as Steen, Tslusty, were the future. CMpuck when are you going to get it through your thick skull that you are not loyal to the team the players. We will not tolerate people saying that Phil Kessel quit on the team since the firing of Randy Carlyle. It may be the truth but it hurts T.G.’s feelings and that ain’t right.

          Speaking of Phil nice to see him get his first road goal in the year 2015.

          • CMpuck

            We lost the Steen trade but does anyone really miss Alexander Steen. I hated Steen because it was the one of the few times management listen to homers and refused to include Steen in a package with Kaberle for Chris Pronger (yet we make fun Oilers management, like the Leafs are better?) because JFJ said ‘we’re done trading away young talent’ lol, MLSE put JFJ on puppet strings after that wiff.

            Apparent I’m canadiens fan though so something like that shouldn’t bother me decade later?

            Kadri, Stajan, Ian White, Wellwood… Marner… they’re all champions right.

          • CMpuck

            C.M. as usual well said. You just have to remember this is the pre teen leaf blog. Thus you will have temper tantrums and fits when anyone dares to criticize or tell the truth. I mean even the hopeless writers of these articles can’t get the dates right on when the leafs play or attempt to play.

            If some of the more vociferous ones who just love their little leaf teddy bear went out in a an adult hockey blog they would be eaten alive with their moronic comments.

          • TGT23

            The funny part what’s48 is that I’m sitting here reading the other blog about Nazem Kadri and they all seem to agree with me…

            Here’s some quotes:

            “He’s a good player, I like his style, and I want him around as part of the Leafs rebuild. I just hope this recent bull**** doesn’t affect any of that.”

            “The Leafs trading Kadri would be classic Leafs
            and getting rid of a player just before they discover their game.”

            Those are just a few. Bet I find more in other articles…

            So… who’s really the one who would get eaten alive over there?

            You guys are the ones talking about shipping out young talent DURING a rebuild, and I’m saying “that’s stupid”… Both sites agree with me, more or less… So…?

  • acg5151

    If I was the best center on my team for the last two years and I got played as a second/third center and got scratched all the time and had my coach talking smack about me on that documentary thingy they do for the winter classic and then, on top of all that, I was actually scratched for being late to a team meeting for not one, but three games, I would honestly leave as a UFA. I don’t think Don Cherry is too far off there.

    • Meathead25

      Apparently there are other issues that complicate matters. I hadn’t heard more than rumours and speculation up until last night, but in speaking to a source who requested anonymity it apparently goes a little deeper than just attitudinal problems and some of the speculation I wrote off earlier as trolling may, in fact, be correct…

  • TGT23

    You are both ridiculously stupid if either of you believe that A) Nazem Kadri isn’t part of the team’s future B) Shouldn’t be part of the team’s future, and C) That people here aren’t critical of the Leaf’s players.

    You are only seeing what you want to see with your blind, ignorant, semi coherent ramblings. You both ignore facts, stats, evidence, and truth and replace them with your barely thought out point of views and random insults about how young people should act.

    And then what’s48 rambles about other blog’s he’s supposedly well respected in for his antiquated, 1950’s views on hockey and what it takes to build a team and be a real hockey player.

    Frankly what’s48, you should probably just stay off the internet if you don’t like your ignorant bubble burst with reality and facts and all those hard to understand numbers and “new age” ideas… Like shots on net are good and having the puck is good and talented players can be recognized for their talents AND criticized for their flaws without being a homer OR an idiot.

    All that strange thinking stuff.

    • CMpuck

      More whining pithy personal attacks…

      It’s this uniformity of opinion of the advance stats community, well not even them given people that produce and understand advanced stats tend to have a more naunced view of their significance. It’s uniformity of opinion on individual players that emerges second hand. These ‘facts’ ‘evidence’ ect… you say I’m ignoring (which I’m not so you’re either lying or ignorant) are more a reflection of linemates and team statistics. When someone parades this as ‘objective’ analysis it’s simply ignores that ‘analysis’ reminds a subjective interpretation at the expensive of an open dialoge.

      These facts, evidence, ect… suggested the Leafs would be improved with Peter replacing Randy. The scapegoating of Carlyle always amused me. Sweetheart the TRUTH is that Carlyle is a better coach than Horachek because he won (I know wins such antiquated 1950s statistic) more games.

      On Kadri, he’s not big enough to be a top six center on a conteding team, he doesn’t have consistent enough production, he needs to play sheltered mintues because he gets eaten alive by bigger 1Cs. He also has character issues he needs to work out. There are better projects to undertake during a rebuild. Rebuild isn’t ‘oh he’s young so he’s untouchable’.

      Now beat your chest and condescend to your betters, its so cute.

      • TGT23

        You are one to talk about personal attacks… You and your boy what’s 48 (who often starts them)… Pot… meet kettle…

        I mean… seriously, of all the things to complain about that is the one you have the least leg to stand on. Can’t play the moral superiority card from the sewers.

        And in the spirit of that, I’m going to ignore all of the jabs, make none more of my own, and just focus on the points you’re making about Kadri, the Leafs, etc.

        If you remember, Carlyle’s system also led the team to an unbelievable collapse that saw them fall from 2nd place in the conference to 10th in one month. And were sitting in 8th if memory serves when he was fired.

        They were also in the beginning of the tailspin that Horacheck would eventually take over when he was fired.

        So, “better” is subjective in this case. The team, regardless of coach, is/was a disaster.

        Carlyle’s system and decisions along with incredible goaltending by Bernier allowed the team to hide some of their deficiencies for a long time last season and in small bursts this season. The problem, as we all know, and many of us suspected, is that it was not sustainable.

        Now, it is fair to say PH hasn’t exactly righted the ship. That said, the team isn’t much better than the team last year which had a Top 10 draft pick…

        So, what would righting the ship have looked like had he done it? 10th place instead of looking at a Bottom 5 pick?

        Now, on Kadri:

        Let’s start with his supposed lack of production. His 5 vs. 5 Pts/60 is 1.74. To compare and contrast:

        Henrik Sedin – 1.80
        Joe Thornton – 1.79
        Paul Stansy – 1.76
        RNH – 1.74
        Logan Couture – 1.73
        Ryan O’Reilly – 1.70
        Anze Kopitar – 1.70
        Henrik Zetterberg – 1.45
        Claude Giroux – 1.44

        Quite a list there.

        Seems to me maybe his overall production could be increased dramatically if A) the team used him on the PP more as opposed to giving the majority of minutes to the ineffective Bozak-Kessel pairing and B) they gave Kadri someone to play with.

        Because when he’s on the ice, even with a not-strong line, he manages to put up points just fine.

        You can’t start or respectably have any conversation about Kadri’s production without also mentioning that the kid hasn’t had a 2nd Line quality winger playing beside him most of the season.

        Even when Lupul was playing he wasn’t always healthy. And we’re going to talk about the production of anyone playing on a line with Clarkson?

        And yet still, despite the complete lack of help on his line, he’s still averaging more points per 60 minutes 5v5 than a ton of supposed #1 C’s.

        And as for size… Isn’t Datsyuk smaller? Is he too small for the NHL, too?

        He has the skill required to be a very good NHL player and even capping out as a #2C the team could do considerably worse than him.

        His “character issue” is that he’s a 24 year old hockey player…

        Shipping him away for nothing does nothing to help the rebuild. It doesn’t help the team, so why do it?

        Why not spend a few years with the kid on the top line, give him some young talented linemates to play with, see where that goes? If you trade him now you will ONLY regret trading him.

        Either he becomes nothing and you can say “we didn’t lose anything not having him” or he becomes a star and once again, Toronto is left looking like idiots for trading him.

        Nothing they get in return for him this season (or off-season, or probably next season) will be better than Nazem, whether he’s very good or very average.

        • CMpuck

          Not a moral superiority card, kid it’s an intellectual one. Up to speed yet?

          System, Randy’s system? I though we need to gut Carlyle because he didn’t play a system. He did have a cup ring and a better record the Mr.Blog Corsi Champ Petey.

          Falling to 8th, again kid, I’m the one on this site that has been intolerant of doing anything other than rebuilding since the summer. Lemmings like you just follow whatever the Bloggosphere is pretending they have figured out. It’s not the system, it’s not the coach, it’s the talent on the ice. You don’t look at the whole picture, you get distracted by Franson’s putting up some points so you forget he’s slow and inept defensively, Nazem is put with some possession money puck darlings and his possession gets better who cares?

          Site me a playoff team that needs Nazem Kari? There isn’t one but the Leafs rebuild needs Nazem Kadri? If you want to build another failure sure. The Leafs suck but you’d be happy given raises to the Fransons, the Nazems, it’s silly.

          It’s dishonest to suggest that you like the Leafs better with Horachek because of the tank position, that’s been my position the whole time, you were one of the homers thinking Pete would improve this team. Again you’re dishonest.

          Fair to say? Horachek has been the worst coach in franchise history by the numbers. This blog experiment writ large isn’t working out, no one wants to own that reality though.

          Kadri’s production? 5 on 5? It’s like when Burke boasted about the team playing partial seasons. During a 40 game stretch we were a top five team in the league. Again you ignore the whole story.

          Every time Kadri is put on the 1st line he gets destroyed, he’s a match up nightmare and needs to be sheltered. Not unlike Graboski, another talent that can’t hang in a top six role.

          There are Datsyuks, Giroux ect… that are exceptions to the rule because they’re off the charts good, Kadri isn’t that. Marner might be, but probably won’t be, so for the same reason as hating Kadri I’d rather Provorov. Take on projects that can slot into a contending team. Marners, Kadris need to be exceptional, if a talent like Provorov ends up just being good it’s still great asset. That’s what makes Rielly and Gardiner special, PMD so long as they don’t completely bust are pieces of the puzzle.

          I don’t want to resign Kadri to a phat contract (that’s insane IMHO) because he’ll basically be untradeable then, it’s like when Burke ‘had’ to resign Grabovksi only to see him bought out. Leafs are better off putting themselves in a position to force themselves to find better than Kadri.

          Again, double standard, we’re not getting better than Kessel in a Kessel deal, not getting better than Dion in a….. it’s called a rebuild.

          Kadri isn’t a top six center on a contending team, I’d just like to see the Leafs build a contender.

          • CMpuck

            Once again C.M. you took the poor kid to school. You ate him for breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snack. As you astutely point out you simply have to check their blind loyalty to what ever the writers in here or lap poodle M.L.S.E. journalists are dishing out as the latest flavour of the month. They swallow it hook, line and sinker every time.

            You only wish you could sell them a down hill ski pass in Saskatchewan or ocean front property in Alberta.

            C.M. you are wasting your hockey knowledge and talent with smarmy kids like that. When they finish their hissy fit and little temper tantrum their suggestion is that you should be banned from the internet. Truly a mind of child.

    • CMpuck

      How could two people on the internet actually want to see the Leafs make significant changes?

      Dude, nobody cares about Kardi outside the internet. He’s a completely recyclable talent.

      • TGT23

        He’s so recyclable that the Leafs are trying desperately to make him a better person and pro player so they can see him achieve his potential here in Toronto…

        You and what’s48 HAVE to be the same people. Or brothers. That or he’s in love with you. Because you seem to do no wrong in his eyes.

        It’s sweet, really… And slightly disturbing…

        You talk about Randy’s cup ring but seem to completely ignore the disaster his team has been two years running. 10th and 8th and you’re going to defend his system and team?

        Talk about homerism.

        And who was talking about Cody Franson. Go ahead and show me something I’ve said ignoring Franson’s defensive issues.

        You can’t. Because like when your buddy what’48 claims people ignore Kessel’s defense, it’s false and you’ve made up something to accuse other people of.


        And show me a playoff team who NEEDS anyone. No one who was in a playoff spot at the deadline NEEDED to make any moves… Their team was already good enough to be in a playoff spot!

        But I bet if the Leafs had tried to sell Kadri one of them would have bit. Your point is a stupid one.

        Im done arguing with someone who thinks Kadri isn’t good enough to be a Top 6 player on at least 10-12 of the 16 playoff teams. You can’t be reasoned with and it’s a waste of time to continue arguing a fool.