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Don Cherry: A Decade of Fighting, Beer, and Pretzels
by Howard Fienberg, Correspondent
Blue may have passed on long ago, but the ever-media savvy Don Cherry just keeps on trucking. He's like my grandfather at Christmas in the liquor cabinet... yes, IN the cabinet. I still haven't fixed the hole he kicked in the door that night. As if it was ME trying to lock him in with the rye rather than my father. Now I have bronchitis and don't have a voice with which to argue the case anymore.
Don Cherry kicks a hole in the TV screens of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada viewers every Saturday night. And for the last decade, he has put out an annual hockey video tape to try to grab the folks smart enough to normally give his intermission show, Coach's Corner, a miss.
And it is usually pretty good, as such fare go. Looking past his love for fighting and rough-housing, and his rabid Canadian jingoism (he gets mad if you call it racism), he does produce a cool compilation of hits, goals, saves, etc.
So now he offers Don Cherry's Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Hockey 10 to celebrate his anniversary. It includes the usual best of the 97-98 season, like Steve Yzerman's late season assist from his back to spur a comeback win for Detroit over Edmonton. Of course, it was Bob Essensa in net, and that rhymes with influenza, and that makes me think of orange juice, which goes well with Swiss Cheese. Oh, just like Essensa.
Donny tops up his usual fare with a best-of-the-decade compilation at the end. Well, not quite, but the best of what he has shown on his videos over that time-frame, which allows for the inclusion of a superb goal by Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux's defensemen splitting goal against Minnesota in the '91 finals, and a drawn out battle between Marty McSorley and Bob Probert.
What are the drawbacks to buying this video? Well, the sound is a place to start. Everything is dubbed to a nauseating techno beat. And you have to listen to Cherry in place of the original play-by-play calls. Another problem, more Cherry. He includes a best of Coaches' Corner - we could have done without it. And finally, you are supporting a Missassauga OHL team which is dead set against allowing foreigners to play for it.
I bought it. It is a bit like the high-brow intellectual who channel-surfs past the Jerry Springer show, and can't help but stop and watch for a while in sheer amazement. "You mean people really watch this stuff?"