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Bruins use balanced attack in Game 2 win against Hurricanes – NHL.com

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Grzelcyk, though, never left, and two minutes later he was back out for his second shift and then his third and then it seemed that the hit would fade into the background of a game sure to have its twists and turns on the way to 60 (or more) minutes of action.

Except it didn’t. Because it was Grzelcyk who didn’t fade, blossoming under the lights of a rink he once got to use as his personal playground, one in which he grew up — literally.

He scored twice in Game 2, once at 15:22 of the first period to open the scoring for his Boston Bruins, one at 17:56 of the second on the power play, to give the Bruins a four-goal advantage in a game they would eventually win 6-2, to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Game 3 is at Carolina on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Video: CAR@BOS, Gm2: Grzelcyk’s shot sneaks past Mrazek

The defenseman did what he surely did dozens or hundreds of times in rinks all over the area, as teammate Charlie Coyle had once done in his cul-de-sac in Weymouth, Massachusetts: He played the hero in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“Just to be on this stage and be a part of the team, I kind of pinch myself every day,” Grzelcyk said.

Grzelcyk, who grew up in Charlestown, Massachusetts, a mile or two from the Garden — once the old Boston Garden, and then TD Garden — had gotten the call every now and then from his father, John Grzelcyk, that there was a chance to play on the Garden ice, a chance to play-act all the dreams that most kids never get to fulfill. John Grzelcyk, who has worked on the Bull Gang at the Garden since 1967, the team that converts the arena from hockey rink to basketball floor to concert venue, gave him access that most kids could only imagine.

John is at the Garden almost every day, voluble and ever-present. On Sunday, Mother’s Day, Grzelcyk’s mom was there too, sitting in the stands, a person that Grzelcyk called “probably my best friend” after the game.

Which meant a lot, given that she was able to see him play, see the goals, likely wince seeing him taking that hit and breathe better when he returned to the ice.

“He’s a gamer,” defenseman Charlie McAvoy said. “We had no doubt he was going to come back and play his game — he always does. He’s a rock for us and he played awesome tonight. I couldn’t be happier for him to break through and get a couple.”

Grzelcyk had already scored in the playoffs, a goal in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Columbus Blue Jackets. But defenseman Connor Clifton, who scored the eventual game-winner at 3:46 of the second period, had not. It was the first goal of his NHL career, and it gave the Bruins a notable achievement.

With Clifton added to the list of scorers, the Bruins have gotten goals from 19 different players in the playoffs. Brandon Carlo remains the lone player to have skated in more than six games not to have scored.

It is exactly what the team didn’t have last season, when the Bruins lost in five games in the second round to the Tampa Bay Lightning, when their scoring was focused on the top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. It is different this season, with the defensemen chipping in, and with the third line transformed, led by Coyle, who had three assists in Game 2, and Marcus Johansson, who had two.

It changes the dynamic. It changes the way in which other teams defend them. It has been instrumental in getting the Bruins this far — and possibly beyond, as the teams head to Raleigh for Game 3.

Video: CAR@BOS, Gm2: Grzelcyk nets second goal on power play

“We went through it a bit last year against Tampa,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We weren’t getting the goals, so you press with maybe your top guys instead of letting the play or the game just come to you. I think this year because we’ve scored a lot more up and down the lineup, it’s just a little easier to roll lines and look for your matchup.”

Not that Grzelcyk is generally the player that Cassidy is looking at to provide that scoring. McAvoy, sure. Krug, definitely. But not Grzelcyk. Not usually.

“It was fun to watch,” Krug said. “I’ve been one of [Grzelcyk’s] biggest fans since he came in the League and we joke about it all the time. We have a couple guys under 5-10 winning games in the National Hockey League and three D under 6-foot. We’re causing havoc and doing the job. It’s a lot of fun to watch him and when he’s skating, there’s no one that can skate like him and break out pucks.”

All of which he practiced on the very ice he starred on on Sunday.

It was there that he pushed around a crate at 2 years old. It was there that he scored the overtime winner to hand Boston University the championship in the 2015 Beanpot, the annual city tournament between BU, Boston College, Harvard and Northeastern.

It was there that dreamed big and, on Sunday, turned a few of those dreams into reality.

“The Mayor of Charlestown, sitting next to me,” Krug said, as he sat with Grzelcyk at the podium after the game, when asked about what it meant for the local products — Grzelcyk, Coyle, Walpole, Massachusetts, product Chris Wagner and Johnston, Rhode Island, native Noel Acciari — to be doing this, for the Bruins.

“That’s important to our team,” Krug said. “We have guys that take a lot of pride putting the sweater on, with the spoked-B. I think no one takes it for granted, that’s for sure, as a whole, as a group. We’re very prideful. But when you have local guys coming and doing it, having the success that they’ve had, it’s a special feeling for them, I’m sure. And we all get a little bit of energy off it.”

They did in Game 2, as Grzelcyk got knocked down and got up, as he proceeded then to knock down the Hurricanes in turn — all in a place that could be considered his home, his rink, his place.

“Obviously,” Grzelcyk said, “it’s really special right now.”

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Sportsnet faces challenges after Don Cherry departure

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Sportsnet brass made the call to end Don Cherry’s nearly four-decade run on Hockey Night in Canada’s Coach’s Corner after his rant over the weekend. Their next big decision may be even tougher.

With his bombast, insight, experience and over-the-top delivery, Cherry created an institution with his appearances on the popular Saturday evening segment.

Love him or hate him, he’s hard to replace. Therein lies the challenge for Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley, Rogers Media president Jordan Banks and other company powerbrokers.

Oh to be a fly on the wall in the Rogers boardroom this week. Do they continue with the segment or rebrand for the future? If Cherry is replaced, who gets the nod? And should a successor move in right away or down the road?

Consistently a ratings hit, the first intermission this Saturday night will be appointment viewing.

Don Cherry sparked online backlash on Saturday night for his comments about immigrants not wanting to wear poppies ahead of Remembrance Day. 0:50

“It’s going to be very, very interesting to see what they do and I wouldn’t be surprised if they just let it slide for a while and put something else in there,” said David Shoalts, a former Globe and Mail sports reporter and author of Hockey Fight in Canada: The Big Media Face Off Over the NHL.

“It’s not as difficult as it would have been for them, because under Rogers they did cut [the segment] to five minutes. At the CBC, he had come to take up the whole first intermission, so that would have been a big problem.”

A spokesman said Sportsnet is “still considering options” for the first intermission segment and that company executives would not be doing interviews at this time. Segment co-host Ron MacLean did not immediately return a telephone message.

There were rumblings the network was considering moving on from Cherry during the off-season, but the 85-year-old wasn’t included in the recent wave of big-name on-air departures.

However, it’s likely Sportsnet already had ideas for the segment’s future post-Cherry.

A complete Coach’s Corner reboot is possible or there could be a shuffling of other segments. Extended highlight packages could help fill the gap. The segment could be dropped altogether, although that’s unlikely given its history and showcase status.

Cherry made comments on Hockey Night in Canada regarding new Toronto citizens not wearing poppies. 1:04

The network may choose to recognize the massive impact Cherry had as a commentator, but it would be tricky to balance that with his rather ignominious exit.

A career overview could buy some time since the seat might be a little too hot for an immediate replacement. Of course, it’s possible the page gets completely turned and Cherry’s name is not mentioned at all.

Just like when he was on the air, there will be no shortage of critics and plaudits.

Several candidates would be qualified to replace Cherry. Former hockey executive and current Sportsnet analyst Brian Burke is the early betting favourite.

Burke is a 3-2 pick to replace Cherry this Saturday and a 5-4 pick to fill the role next season, according to odds released Tuesday by SportsBettingDime.com. Sportsnet hockey commentators Kelly Hrudey, Colby Armstrong and Craig Simpson were listed among the other early favourites.

HNIC was a longtime CBC Saturday night staple, but the show and its games moved to Sportsnet when Rogers landed a 12-year, $5.2-billion US national broadcast rights deal with the NHL that began in 2014. Coach’s Corner and HNIC are still broadcast on CBC in a sub-licencing deal with Rogers Media, which owns Sportsnet.

Former CBC Sports host and current Not The Public Broadcaster podcaster Bruce Dowbiggin weighs in on Sportsnet’s decision to cut ties with the controversial longtime Hockey Night in Canada commentator. 8:51

Sportsnet apologized Sunday for Cherry’s comments about his belief that new immigrants don’t wear poppies, and in turn, don’t support veterans.

On Monday, Cherry was shown the door. In a statement, Yabsley said the comments were “divisive.”

Cherry prefaced his on-air remarks Saturday night with the phrase, ‘You people’ — drawing criticism from all quarters – but denied in interviews after his departure that he was singling out visible minorities. He has not publicly apologized for his comments.

“If I had to do it over again, I probably would have said ‘Everybody,”‘ Cherry said Tuesday in an interview on Sirius XM Canada’s “Canada Talks” channel. “But I didn’t and there’s no sense of whining about it and I paid the price.”

Given his long tenure, how — or if — his departure is addressed this weekend will be fascinating, as will MacLean’s thoughts. The veteran HNIC anchor apologized last Sunday.

“I had a good time,” Cherry said. “I’m 85 years old and I’m still having a good time. As I have always said, ‘I’m glad I’m going out on my shield. I’m not going out with a whimper.”‘

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Don Cherry defends Hockey Night in Canada comments but says he would have ‘used different words’

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Don Cherry says he won’t apologize for his divisive comments about new immigrants not wearing poppies, but the former co-host of “Coach’s Corner” says if he could do it again, he would have chosen different words.

“I think the closest I’ll come to apologizing is I wish I had used different words,” Cherry told Global News.

“I should have said everybody. If I had to do it over again, I would have said everybody.”

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Cherry, 85, was fired from the Hockey Night in Canada segment by Sportsnet Monday, following televised comments Saturday night in which he singled out “you people that come here” in Toronto and Mississauga, where he lives, for not wearing poppies, implying they don’t support Canada’s soldiers.

“You people that come here… whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you could pay a couple of bucks for a poppy,” he said on Saturday.

In an interview with Global News, Cherry refused to back down from his comments and said that everyone should wear a poppy to honour Canada’s fallen soldiers.

“I do believe to this day that everybody in Canada should have a poppy on, out of honour and respect of the fallen soldiers that have fallen in the Second World War, Korea and the whole deal,” Cherry said.

“Those people who gave their lives, at least we can buy a poppy.”

Pressed on whether his comments were racist, Cherry said his comments weren’t directed at minorities, and that what he said applies to anyone.

“It could have been Irish, it could have been Scottish, it could have been anybody,” he said, adding that the “silent majority” supported him.

“It was picked up the way it was picked up.”

Cherry said he was planning to apologize on this week’s upcoming Hockey Night in Canada, but was never given the chance.

“I was ready to apologize,” Cherry said. “I was gonna put out a tweet, or whatever they do, saying I was wrong and I think it could have smoothed over pretty good. But that’s the way they wanted it and that’s the way it goes.”

Global News has contacted Sportsnet about whether Cherry would have apologized, but they said they had nothing further to add.

Cherry, a former player and NHL coach, had worked as a broadcaster for more than 37 years on Hockey Night in Canada, drawing attention for a number of controversial statements including calling progressives “left-wing pinkos,” describing Quebecers as “whiners,” and making derogatory comments about European hockey players.

Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley said in a statement Monday that it was “the right time for him to immediately step down.”

“During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for,” Yabsley said.

Coach’s Corner co-host Ron MacLean also apologized Sunday for Cherry’s remarks. During Cherry’s rant, MacLean could be seen nodding and giving a thumbs-up.

‘We were wrong:’ Ron MacLean apologizes for Don Cherry’s comments on Hockey Night in Canada

MacLean issued a televised apology that Cherry’s remarks were “hurtful, discriminatory” and that he wished he had responded differently on air.

“Don Cherry made remarks which were hurtful, discriminatory, which were flat out wrong,” MacLean said. “I owe you an apology, too. I sat there, did not catch it, did not respond.

“Last night was a really great lesson to Don and me. We were wrong, and I sincerely apologize. I wanted to thank you for calling me and Don on that last night.”

Cherry told Global News that he was “disappointed” in his co-host Ron MacLean, but that the two were still friends.

“He buried me. I was very disappointed the way he handled [it],” Cherry said. “I don’t want to condemn him but I was very disappointed.”

Cherry’s remarks were roundly criticized by politicians across Canada including Toronto Mayor John Tory and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. The National Hockey League also weighed in, saying the comments “made last night were offensive and contrary to the values we believe in.”

Steven Purewal, a historian on the contribution of Indian soldiers during the First World War, told Global News on Monday it was wrong for Cherry to suggest immigrants don’t support Canadian veterans, noting the broadcaster has no way of knowing who’s an immigrant and who was born in Canada.

“It endorses a stereotype that the immigrant is somehow unpatriotic, is thankless about the sacrifices it took to build the country,” he said.

“What we need to be telling Canadians is that many, many diverse communities fought in the Great War and the Second World War. Without their contributions, we wouldn’t have the freedoms we have today.”

Meanwhile, some have been calling for the hockey host’s return. A Change.org petition called ‘Bring Back Don Cherry!’ has amassed over 108,000 signatures.

As for the long-time hockey pundit, Cherry said he is still processing being fired.

“I don’t think it’s hit yet,” he said. “It will be a little different Saturday when I sit down and watch where I was for 38 years.”

“I have no idea and I don’t think Ron Maclean has any idea what they’re going to run after the first period… It’ll be watched that’s for sure because everybody will want to see what goes on at the end of the first period.”

— With a file from Sean Boyton

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Brian Burke considered favourite to replace Don Cherry

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The Canadian Press


Published Tuesday, November 12, 2019 10:56AM EST


Last Updated Tuesday, November 12, 2019 11:09AM EST

TORONTO – Former NHL executive Brian Burke is listed as the heavy favourite to be Don Cherry‘s successor on “Hockey Night in Canada” on one sports betting site.

SportsBettingDime.com has released odds on candidates to replace Cherry after the commentator was sacked by Sportsnet yesterday for a rant about immigrants not wearing poppies on his “Coach’s Corner” segment on Saturday.

Burke, who currently works as an analyst at Sportsnet, is listed as the 3-2 favourite (must bet $2 to win $3) to appear on Cherry‘s longtime “Coach’s Corner” segment on Saturday.

Burke is the 5-4 pick to be the full-time replacement next season.

Sportsnet has not said whether it plans to keep the “Coach’s Corner” segment, which has been a first-intermission staple on HNIC.

Sportsnet hockey commentators Kelly Hrudey, Colby Armstrong and Craig Simpson are among the other betting favourites for Cherry’s job.

The site also is taking odds on what Cherry does next, with working for another media organization the favourite.

If he goes into politics, the odds consider Cherry’s most likely destination to be under Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the Conservative party.

Cherry is listed as a 2,000-1 pick to join the NDP.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2019.

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