So Don Cherry’s feud with the Toronto Maple Leafs continues.
And this time it’s back to a familiar player: Leafs prospect Nazem Kadri.
Grapes came to Kadri’s defence on Twitter on Tuesday after the 21-year-old received criticism from Toronto Marlies coach Dallas Eakins last week for arriving to camp with a high body fat percentage.
“I have never in my life seen a kid treated like Nazem Kadri by the Leafs,” Cherry wrote on his @CoachsCornerCBC account. “It started in his first training camp where he led the team in scoring but was blasted for his defensive faults.
“They don't blast Kulemin who scored seven goals. They give him $5-million dollars. Now the Marlie coach comes out and rips Kadri in the newspaper saying he doesn't eat properly. Imagine headlines saying he’s chubby and fatso.
“If anyone wants to get a blue print on how to destroy someone, just follow the Toronto Maple Leafs.”
This is hardly the first time Cherry has a) gone after the Leafs coaching staff or management or b) defended Nazem Kadri. In fact, from his Coach’s Corner pulpit every week, the Leafs are routinely a major topic of conversation, with Marlies like Kadri or Mike Zigomanis getting airtime on the national network regularly.
Cherry has also been in fairly high profile disagreements with former Leafs coach Ron Wilson and current GM Brian Burke over much of the past three years as the franchise has continue to sit in the NHL’s basement.
So he’s hardly the most objective critic in this situation. But he may have a point on Kadri, who has become a lightning rod for criticism in the city and may at this point be better served without such a public admonishment from his coach.
As always, this situation has been blown way out of proportion in Toronto.
After all, here we are four days later talking about it.