He said Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean has given the Canadiens all the motivation it needs entering Game 4 of the first-round Stanley Cup series on Tuesday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).
With the Senators leading 6-1 on Sunday night, MacLean called a timeout with 17 seconds left in regulation so he could call his players to the bench and instruct them on what to do when the puck was dropped.
MacLean said he needed to “protect my players” after a line brawl broke out with 12 minutes 56 seconds left in the third period, and depleted the benches of both teams, who combined for 236 minutes in penalties.
“Coach MacLean should never have done this. He should never have called a timeout with 17 seconds to go,” said Cherry on his Coach’s Corner segment during Monday’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.
“All you did was motivate [the Canadiens].
“As [former NHL tough guy] Tiger Williams used to say, ‘Montreal was done like dinner, put a fork in them.’”
Not now, Cherry said.
Grapes doesn’t buy MacLean’s reasoning that he needed to protect his players.
“He could have told [the players the game plan] on the bench. He did it [called the timeout] because he was mad,” Cherry said.
Was he upset because Montreal tough guy Brandon Prust called MacLean a “bug-eyed fat walrus” after Ottawa’s series-opening 4-2 victory, asked Hockey Night host Ron MacLean?
“It could have been part of it. I’ll tell you one thing,” said Cherry of the Canadiens. “They’re going to be ready [for Game 4].
“If I was [Montreal head coach] Michel [Therrien] I would walk around, not say a word, in the dressing room, just let [the events of Game 3] sink in and just [tell the players], ‘Don’t get stupid penalties.’”
Cherry “guaranteed” the Canadiens would be a different-looking team Tuesday.
“Don’t give ammo to the coach,” he said.