Cherry: If Phaneuf beats Prust, Leafs win

Some issues can’t wait until Saturday night.

Passionate about an incident that occurred during the Montreal Canadiens 5-2 thrashing of the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre, Don Cherry called in to Hockey Central at Noon Thursday adamant that Leafs defenceman Dion Phaneuf should have fought Montreal Canadiens tough guy Brandon Prust when challenged.

“Dion runs around and bangs and smashes and looks for trouble,” Cherry said. “I knew they were going to lose when he didn’t answer the bell.”

Cherry, a former scrapper himself, maintained that Phaneuf doesn’t have to fight every night but there is a time to stand up, and Phaneuf missed that chance.

“There is a time when you have to answer the bell. When he turned (Prust) down and made him look ridiculed, they went to the bench and Prust was laughing on the bench,” the Coach’s Corner analyst went on. “You cannot go after the lightweights; (Phaneuf) goes after the lightweights when he fights.

“Once in a while you have to drop the gloves with a tough guy.”

31 Responses to Cherry: If Phaneuf beats Prust, Leafs win

  1. nordiques100 says:

    I’d like to know if Carlyle has told Dion not to fight. But I would find that hard to believe.

    Like I have been saying, I’d like to see Dion just be old Dion once in a while.

    I know he feels his best value is staying on the ice, and scoring last night’s OT goal is proof that this is what he prefers and thinks he should do more of, not sit in the box.

    But….as Captain and with the way he plays, I think at times messages have to be sent. I realize, they have Brown, they have Orr, they have McLaren and Fraser but definitely Dion has to answer the bell once in a while.

    Prust may have been one of those nights. I think maybe Dion was scoreboard watching and saw it being a close one he best stay in the game.

    But as Captain, I think he needs to back all players on the team and the roles they provide. This includes the brawlers. He has to go out there because he does like the physical kind of game to go, yeah i like the big hits, but you know, im with you in terms of sticking up for team and self.

    Kinda like how Iginla and Lecavalier do it. They don’t do it often, but they seem to know when best to do it and they probably would in a tight game like that.

    Obviously the Crosby’s, Ovechkins, Toews type captains won’t do it, but Dion likes the physical game. Sometimes he has to keep the ball rolling sort of speak with the Leafs current style and face someone man to man.

    Did it cost them the game? I dont know. But there are going to be times he will be challenged and you know he’s just going to have to do it.

  2. leafy says:

    Trade this guy before he becomes the next Wade Redden!!

    • Lucci_101 says:

      a like phanuef, he isnt what he was in calgary cuz i think wilsons style of play fucked him over, wilson didnt like fighters. but slowly we are seeing more and more of the real dion and i think we should keep him for just the possiblity of him returning to form, cuz we all know how amazing he was with calagary and we would all love to see that dion playing here

      • leafy says:

        I admire your optimism, but unfortunately see him differently.

        I assess Phaneuf based on the EVIDENCE, ie, how he actually plays. Not based on hype, reputation, or salary.

        Sorry to say, but I see him as nothing more than a very average player.

        People used to knock Bryan McCabe and rightfully so perhaps, but when he was the same age, I would take McCabe over Phaneuf hands down.

        • blaze says:

          Lol like your ignorance of shot percentage evidence

        • DannyLeafs says:

          I don’t really know where all the Phaneuf hatred comes from. He is playing about as good as he has ever played right now. The problem is more expectation then it is reality.

          The problem isn’t that Phaneuf has declined, the problem is he was never as good as his hype and contract made him out to be. People liked it better when he just made big hits and scored 15-20 goals a year. Truth was after that, his game had a lot of holes.

          Now, those holes have shrunk considerably, but the goals aren’t as frequent, and the hits are less often of the spectacular nature. However, he is an effective number one defenseman capable of playing 25 plus mintues against the opponents top line and chip in about 40 pts a season. He probably isn’t worth 6.5 mil a year, and isn’t a top tier defender in the league, but he is a solid all around defender, capable of playing in every scenario.

          People can say what they want, but the fact is that under the microscope in Toronto there will never be a shortage of footage of defensive miscues for any defender playing 25 minutes a night. Defensemen have their weaknesses exposed, it’s no different then an elite goalie giving up a softie. It happens. You base their game on the overall. Chara may be the best defender in the league in his own end, but it’s not as if it looks pretty when he gets beat.

          I am not trying to say the guy is a superstar or a norris candidate, I don’t think he ever really should have been in that category, but the comparisons to Redden are unwarranted. Phaneuf is a good top pairing guy who can play all situations and provide some leadership, which is more than many teams have.

          • doorman says:

            Ron Duguay, used to look pretty when he got beat. Now that could just be all that curly hair floating around the ice with the wind flowing through it.

          • leafy says:

            DannyLeafs, I think that’s a very fair assessment and good perspective.

            He’s not terrible, but also not irreplaceable by any means. To me, he plain average, no more no less.

            Now that he’s “peaking”, I say trade him for a forward, preferably a center. For whom? I got no idea, you guys tell me.

            • DannyLeafs says:

              I think he’s an average number one defender, but there isn’t exactly a large list of upgrades available. I would prefer to hold off to see if guys like Gardiner or Rielly can make him expenable before committing to trading a guy they rely so much on.

  3. blaze says:

    I agree Phaneuf should’ve fought. I don’t think he has to fight very often but that was one of those odd times he should’ve stepped up. The team would’ve been pumped.

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      Phaneuf should have fought even though it was a penalty kill. when you’re captain drops the gloves and answers the bell it is a bigger boost then when a tough guy does it. It sends a message to his teammates that “I won’t let anyone push us around.” it’s huge when your captain does it. Chances are prust would have been a marked man for the rest of the game after that, if Phaneuf had of fought.
      A stronger team chemistry gets created after a captain fights. The rest of the team would have said “look what dion just did, let’s go boys!” Instead it was more like “look what Dion didn’t do.” Smart play for the penalty kill? Yes. Smart play for chemistry and a team boost,No.

      • LN91 says:

        Is he a good captain? I don’t think so…The play has been to sporadic for that to happen.

        Those rosters a few years back were brutal, but Sundin was able to get those guys into eighth place.

        Clark, Gilmour were good captains. Is Phaneuf?

        I personally would like Lupul, might not be the best player, but he seems to handle the Toronto media/pressure well, outspoken, and hard working.

  4. DannyLeafs says:

    I think people are really over analyzing that non-fight. It’s easy to look back and say what should have happened, but even that requires some fore sight. I mean if the Leafs killed off the penalty without having a completely demoralizing goal scored with 6 seconds to go, it’s possible that big PK, staying tied despite being out played and having to kill a match penalty could be as big a momentum swing as any fight. If that’s the case, we circle back to how Phaneuf stayed calm enough to let Prust stand offside and waste a valuable 20 seconds from Canadiens Powerplay as a turning point in the game.

    I am not saying that people are wrong for saying that Phaneuf fighting Prust could have been a big boost, but given the context of the play, it’s not exactly like Phaneuf made the wrong call in not fighting. To play devil’s advocate, what if he had fought, and lost, and without the Leafs best Penalty Killer, the boost of seeing Prust take down the Captain, the habs score a goal or two? People would be talking about how stupid Phaneuf was to take the fight.

    I am not saying I wouldn’t love to see Phaneuf mix it up a bit more, as it can be a big boost to see your captain make a statement like that, but given the situation, I have no problem with the decision not to fight.

    • doorman says:

      Danny, I see your point. However I look at it this way. Yes it was a smart play, to kill off but it didn’t work anyway. Next nobody would have been expecting Dion to beat Prust, IMO. Sometimes though you have to fight the battles you know you won’t win. It IMO would have charged up the Leafs, seeing a guy fight a battle he wasn’t supposed to.

      P.S.- Jay McClement is our best PK’r lol

  5. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    On a different note than Phaneuf talk….

    Brian Boyle has found his way into Tort’s doghouse and has been scratched because of his 1pt in 16 games this season (which sucks).
    NYR needs some scoring help. Boyle is a huge guy, good on the draws and a solid 3rd line centre who also kills penalties. He has played some left wing. Cap hit is $1.7 through 2014. He would add size and with his face-off ability could make moving Bozak(if needed) a little easier.

    What would you guys think about Boyle for MacArthur? I know MacArthur is the better overall player, but MacA isn’t re-signing for $1.7 and is a pending UFA. Adds a little more depth and size to our line-up.

    • doorman says:

      Oh, I actually like that move, alot. I would pluck him right on the 4th line between Orr and Mclearn. This is not a slight on Boyle but more that those giants could create some serious room and problems I think.

  6. toronto77 says:

    What people are not talking about is the fact they Phaneuf “dropped his stick”

    It’s one thing for Prust to ask Phaneuf to fight and Phaneuf says no and just skate away, but it’s another thing for Phaneuf to agree to fight “drops his stick” pretends to take off his gloves, decides not too, picks up his stick and skates away!

    That is way worse than just skating away. Dropping his stick should have been the point of no return. We can all agree to disagree if he should have fought or not, but I think we can all agree that once he dropped his stick he should have continued to fight.

    “dropping the stick” is the detail that every one is over looking.

    On another note how about Kessel’s back checking!

    This guy has really improved defensively, he turned over the puck to Grabner and skated back and hauled him down, he might have even saved a sure goal because Grabner missed on the penalty shot.

    Two weeks ago against Ottawa at home when the leafs were up 1-0, the leafs lost the puck in the offensive zone and an Ottawa player began skating the puck out of the zone, until Kessel stick checked him and stole the puck to keep it in the zone and eventually the leafs scored off of that pass from Phaneuf to Bozak, and Kessel even took a hit behind the net to open space for Bozak lol. Bozak scored the goal that play was all because of Kessel’s back checking.

    His goal production is down but he is playing a lot better defensively, NO ONE could have predicted that he would adapt to Carlyle’s system. Because of his reputation and talent, he is opening a lot of space for the big power forward JVR and his 12 goals. They still need a better centremen than Bozak to open more space.

  7. mojo19 says:

    Would it make sense to move Grabo for someone bigger, who can focus mostly on the defensive side, and maybe cut the salary in half?

    The emergence of Kadri offensively is nice and the team might benefit from a more rugged, bigger centre than Grabo. If we could move him for picks/prospects or something, and then flip lesser picks/prospects for a Malholtra-type, we might be in better shape and add some depth to the organization as well.

    • LN91 says:

      I think the best thing is for Kadri to play on the third-unit. Is he good enough to produce against better-lines yet? That still remains to be seen.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      Is Kadri an untouchable on this club? It’s funny that he and B Schenn are breaking out at the same pace. I like Nonis to be patience, nothing really big on the trade market floating around, I expect a conservative deadline and an aggressive draft day when the pendulum swings.

      Garbo would look good in a package going the other way to give back a quality roster player. It’s not like he’s hurting us on the ice, so hold off on trading him until we have a reason to do so (fingers cross a big center coming to town). With Bozak being a pending UFA, I think it’s foolish to rush Garbo out of Toronto.

      • realistic_leafs_fan says:

        grabo trade huh. If washington is still hurting by the deadline. Here’s the deadline blockbuster…

        To Washington
        2013 1st, 2014 2nd, Grabovski, Gunnarsson, Percy
        To Toronto
        Backstrom, Chimera

        Remember you heard it here

        • toronto77 says:

          Huge rip off for the leafs. Though Backstrom is an upgrade to Grabo, he is not THAT much more better for you to have to through in a 1st and a 2nd.

          I am not really a fan of Chimera either, I would prefer to keep Gunnar and Percy over him.

          How about:

          To Wash:
          Grabo, Gunnar

          To Tor:

          The question is, would Backstrom be the no.1 or no.2, you would probably get a much better balance if he is the no.2


          not bad!

          If this trade does happen, you would have to think at some point that Kadri will take the no.1 or no.2 role the way he is developing. Maybe move out Bozak and next season have


          • realistic_leafs_fan says:

            No offense, I think most would agree Backstrom is THAT much better than Grabovski. Chimera would be thrown in because Washington is looking to dump salary.
            I would be shocked if you could get Backstrom for Grabo and Gunnar.

            • Gambo says:

              I agree, Backstrom is a massive upgrade. He’d be a great centre with Kessel and JVR/Lupul.
              I’d do that trade in a heartbeat.
              I’d try to keep gunnar though and trade Liles instead.


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