Morning Skate 423: Cherry thinks Chara's gone soft

Morning Skate 423: Cherry thinks Chara's gone soft

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comBOSTON Don Cherry always has something to say when you find yourself in his corner.
Sometimes you dont like it, sometimes hes wildly inaccurate and sometimes he is as they always said in My Cousin Vinny dead on-balls accurate with his sharp-tongued hockey observations.Cherry spoke during the intermission between the first and second periods of Game Four at the Bell Centre, and hes got some issues with the way Zdeno Chara is competing in the playoff series against the Habs. There have been some whispers that Chara has experienced difficulty dealing with the trauma players like Max Pacioretty and Ryan Callahan getting injured on hockey plays initiated by the Bs Captain, and that its sapped some of the bite out of Charas intimidation game.
The greater likelihood is Chara is far less than 100 percent while still battling the illness that had him severely dehydrated and out for Game Two.There was little doubt Chara was fairly emotional about the Callahans broken leg after taking a Chara slapper directly off an unprotected area of his body, and was wondering to himself whether he should have eased off his 105.9-mph howitzer to spare Callahan potential injury.That kind of thing even if its subconscious can take something from Charas game thats so dependent on competing hard and exuding an air of intimidation, and there does appear to be an inability -- or unwillingness -- to really get physical with the smaller, faster Habs players. Could it be to stay out of the penalty box?Could it be that Chara is still feeling weakened from whatever illness that caused him to miss Game Two? Could it be that Chara is trying to avoid injuring other players by virtue of simply being a 6-foot-9 inch tower of power simply playing good, hard, clean hockey?Only Chara knows for sure, but Cherry seems to think its a mentality that the Bs defensive stopper has relinquished since riding Pacioretty into the stanchion and causing several serious injuries from the hockey play.Ive got to say something. Bruins have to get Chara back to where everybody is afraid of him. Nobody is afraid of him anymore. I know hes been sick and stuff and everything like this, but hes been playing like this ever since the Pacioretty thing, said Cherry during his Coachs Corner segment on CBCs Hockey Night in Canada. He has to play like Pronger. Pronger is a force out there. He doesnt want to get a penalty. Anybody that gets near him, hes so afraid. Hes got to have guys afraid of him. A little push here. A little hit in the corner there. If youre going to go out, then youve got to go out on your shield and get them afraid of you.Is Cherry calling it like it is, or conjuring something out of thin air once again? Thats everyone to decide.On to the links:Dandy Don Cherry opines about Zdeno Charas soft playing during his Thursday night Coachs Corner on Hockey Night in Canada among other topics.Donald Brashear is going to pursue a career as an MMA fighter now that his NHL career is in the rear view mirror. Interesting move, but not sure its going to work out for him.In the something a little different department: A Baltimore Sun piece about Luther Anderson, a Maryland resident that plays the organ at the Verizon Center for the Washington Capitals.The Buffalo Sabres are waiting for some more production out of forward Brad Boyes after acquiring him down the stretch. Marc-Edouard Vlasic isnt battling through an injury, but instead coping with the death of a grandfather during the Stanley Cup playoffs in a San Jose Mercury News piece.Sidney Crosby has become Sid the Coach while sitting on the sidelines for the Pittsburgh Penguins in his comeback from a concussion. FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jesse Connolly of the New England Hockey Journalcomes up with the top 10 excuses for Andrew Ference throwing his unintentional bird at the Bell Centre crowd in Montreal during Game Four.Rob Simpson talks about the tale of two goaltenders going on in New York for during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup


McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It was a bitter pill for Adam McQuaid to sit out the first five games of this season, but it looks like the veteran Bruins stay-at-home defenseman is nearing a return to the lineup. McQuaid was cleared to potentially play in Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens after an upper body injury kept him shelved for the team’s first four games, and could be approaching a return in the next few days as Claude Julien mulls a number of possible lineup changes.

“It was obviously frustrating, but I’m where I’m at now and trying to move on from it. Looking forward to getting back into the lineup hopefully as soon as possible here,” said the 30-year-old McQuaid, who had a goal and nine points in 64 games for the Black and Gold last season. “The excitement level is high for me, and it is for everybody after a loss when you’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“It would have been nice to have started the season with the guys, but you can’t change that now. I’ve had some good practices, and I’m just trying to my game as simple as possible, and take it as it comes. Obviously guys have played some games and it’s been a couple of weeks for me, so I’ll just have to keep my game simple.”

The B’s bench boss indicated it was only a matter of time before McQuaid makes his 2016-17 regular season debut, but that he’s got plenty of things to decide prior to dropping the puck against the Wild.

“[McQuaid] was cleared last game. I haven’t made any decisions based for [Tuesday night vs. Minnesota]. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air, and I’ve just go to juggle those things,” said Julien. “Who knows? Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ve got a better picture [of injury situation], and if not then it will be game-time decisions. I wish I could have a better answer [on if McQuaid will play], but I’ve got no answers right now.”

With Colin Miller (minus-4), Joe Morrow, Torey Krug (a rough minus-3 against Montreal) and John-Michael Liles all minus players after the first five games of the season, there are ample options for Julien on which potential blueliner to bump up to the press box. McQuaid is just happy he’s getting closer to a return while skating with 23-year-old Rob O’Gara at practice, and he can get back to helping a B’s team that’s smack dab in the middle (ranked 15th allowing 3.0 goals per game) of the NHL for team defense this season. 

Monday, Oct. 24: Bergeron the best defensive forward ever?


Monday, Oct. 24: Bergeron the best defensive forward ever?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while giving The Walking Dead credit for delivering a pile driver to me as a TV viewer last night. I did not see all of that coming.

*Plenty of questions and answers about the Calgary Flames as they’ve looked a little shaky in the early going this season.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has the Edmonton Oilers straightening things out after the brutal loss to Buffalo.

*NHL captains like Steve Stamkos carry the heavy weight of tradition on their shoulders as they go about their business.

*The Hockey News wonders if Patrice Bergeron is the best defensive forward to ever play in the NHL. I’m certain he’s in the conversation, but that’s a big, bold statement that deserves some heavy consideration. After all, he never had to defend Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Mike Bossy, Gordie Howe or any other number of offensive stars. I certainly think he should be in the select club he would join if/when he wins his fourth Selke Trophy.

*Minnesota D-man Matt Dumba was nearly scratched by the Minnesota Wild, and he says that he’s never going to let that happen again.

*The Anaheim Ducks placed Simon Despres on long term injured reserve as they try to stay afloat salary cap-wise, and avoid dealing off a player in-season.

*For something completely different: The Boston Celtics break ground on a new practice facility adjacent to the new Bruins place.