Occasionally, Hockey Night In Canada's Coaches Corner flies off the handle due to the wrath of Don Cherry. This past Saturday, Grapes lost his mind while blasting Leafs GM Brian Burke about a controversial topic among Canadians. Of the 30 NHL rosters, Toronto is the only one without an Ontario born player. With the Maple Leafs right smack in the middle of Ontario, you just knew that Cherry wouldn't let this one go. Especially against a guy he has no love for.
During his rant, Cherry accused Burke of trying to get him fired twice, including with the Board Of Governors due to his take on recently fired Ron Wilson, who was hired by the Toronto executive three years ago. A move Grapes criticized. Here we are a few years later and after a great start, the Leafs' recent tailspin cost Wilson his job. Considering how Leaf Nation acted, Burke had little choice, opting to bring in former Duck coach Randy Carlyle, who teamed with him to win the Cup.
Even more bizarre was Grapes' disdain for American players. In case he hadn't noticed, our country has gotten much stronger, taking Canada to sudden death at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Perhaps he needs to remember that the Leafs' best player is from the USA. Without Phil Kessel, the Leafs would be battling Montreal for last in the East and maybe even Columbus. Toronto boasts eight American kids. Interestingly enough, the Rangers who have a healthy balance between Americans and Ontario kids that comprise half the roster.
Ontario-6 (Del Zotto, Eminger, Girardi, Mitchell, Prust, Staal)
USA-7 (Bickel, Boyle, Callahan, Dubinsky, McDonagh, Rupp, Stepan)
Note: Injured Mike Sauer would count as the eighth.
Here are how the other Battle clubs stack up:
Ontario-2 (Clarkson, Henrique)
USA-6 (Carter, Fayne, Greene, Janssen, Parise, Taormina)
Ontario-6 (Bailey, Cizikas, Martin, Moulson, Staios, Tavares)
USA-6 (Eaton, Montoya, Okposo, Pandolfo, Reasoner, Reese)
Note: Rick DiPietro would make it seven.
Ontario-5 (Boyes, Ellis, Hodgson, McCormick, Roy)
USA-8 (Gerbe, Kaleta, Leopold, Miller, Myers, Stafford, Tropp, Weber)