He also thinks every player on the Leafs — who lead the league in five-minute major penalties with 22 — should be embracing it too.
The Coach’s Corner commentator called out Maple Leafs defenceman Carl Gunnarsson on his Hockey Night in Canada segment on Saturday night for an incident during the team’s 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night.
Cherry criticized Gunnarsson for failing to defend goaltender Ben Scrivens after he was bowled over by a Sabres player behind his net.
“You can’t have this happening, watch Gunnarsson turn away when Scrivens gets hurt,” he said. “[The Buffalo player] knocks your goaltender down, and [Mike] Brown, [who stands] five-foot-ten, has to come in and get a penalty. There’s Gunnarsson, and look at Scrivens looking at him. You can’t have that.”
Cherry said he didn’t think the defenceman should jump in with his fists per se, but he would have at least liked to see him exchange some words with the Sabres player.
“I’m not expecting Gunnarsson to fight, don’t get me wrong,” he said. “But go up and say ‘Sir, I don’t think you should do that.’ You just don’t turn away [like Gunnarsson did]. [The Leafs] are the toughest team, but that stuff can’t happen.”
The 26-year-old Gunnarsson missed eight games earlier this season with a hip injury.
He has one goal and two assists in 10 games.