HALIFAX - After arriving inside the Halifax Metro Centre in a shiny Lincoln Navigator legendary hockey icon Don Cherry got down to the business of coaching.
He watched two of his finest players for the CHL Top Prospects game – Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin – strut their stuff on the Metro Centre ice on Monday night, and didn’t mince words about their talent.
“They can skate, handle the puck, they’ve got hockey sense,” Cherry said at the practice held in preparation of Wednesday’s game. “I can’t say much more than that. They’ve just got it.”
Neither did he mince words when it came to his opinion on who would go first in the upcoming NHL Draft: Cole Harbour’s MacKinnon or gifted American blueliner Seth Jones.
“MacKinnon will go first,” he said. “I’m not knocking Jones, it’s like apples and oranges. But I’d hate to be the guy making that decision.”
The 78-year-old former NHL coach of the year put to bed any concerns MacKinnon and Drouin wouldn’t be on the same line, too.
“If we don’t win it will be because of the coaching,” he said with a laugh.
Cherry said he continues to be part of the Top Prospects Game because he has a burning passion for the game and guiding the best along.
“These kids aren’t spoiled yet, you know what I mean. They give it 100 per cent.”
He’s also looking forward to being back for another season of Coach’s Corner on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada thanks to the return of the NHL. He said he holds no grudge over the lockout.
“Those things happen,” he said. “The first week everyone will forget it. But if you were a player you would do it; if you were an owner you would do it. It’s human nature.”
By: Andrew Rankin - Metro Halifax