TORONTO — Don Cherry believes Connor McDavid's recent injury was deliberate and not just a typical hockey play.
Speaking on his regular Coaches Corner segment Saturday night, Cherry showed a clip of the play that led to the 18-year-old breaking his collar bone and placed the blame on Philadelphia's Michael Del Zotto and Brandon Manning, who Cherry says meant to put the 2015 No. 1 draft pick into the end boards on purpose despite McDavid being in a "vulnerable'' position.
"I'm telling you they meant to drive him into those boards,'' said Cherry.
"They never give him a chance, watch, boom. (McDavid's) on his way down.... they're both looking at him and they drive him into the boards.
McDavid suffered the injury in Edmonton's 4-2 win Tuesday against the Flyers.
With Philadelphia leading 2-1 and 1:44 remaining in the second period, McDavid had a partial short-handed breakaway but fell awkwardly and was ridden hard into the boards by Del Zotto and Manning, who looked to have also lost their balance on the play. (Watch below.)
Cherry's co-host, Ron MacLean, asked the hockey pundit to clarify his accusation after giving his play-by-play of the incident and Cherry stuck to his original thought.
"They should have let up a little, you'll see as (McDavid's) going down they give him a little shot,'' said Cherry. "(He) doesn't have a chance, that's all I got to say. Look at that.''
Neither Flyers defenceman was given a penalty on the play and Oilers head coach Todd McLellan referred to the incident after the game as a "hockey play'' with three players "that got tangled up.''
"The league can't do anything about it because they can't prove it, because they don't know either,'' said Cherry. "But hockey guys like me know they drove him into the boards.''