Don Cherry

Don Cherry: Saskatoon’s a viable NHL destination


Saskatchewan is the richest province in Canada, according to Don Cherry. That was one of the arguments he used during Coach’s Corner to argue that Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is worthy of an NHL team.

In response to the smirk that’s probably on your face, Cherry went on to say that people laughed when he said that Winnipeg would get a team and sure enough, the NHL has returned to that city. However, we do see one issue with Cherry’s logic.

Winnipeg’s metropolitan area has a population of 730,018, which is small by NHL standards. Compare that to Saskatoon’s metropolitan area, which is currently home to 260,600 people according to the 2011 Census report. Although, based on figures provided by Cherry, that number balloons to 400,000 if you widen the range to 80 miles. That’s a distance that apparently “means nothing” out west, according to Cherry. So if you count everyone within 80 miles of Saskatoon and assume that a healthy chunk of them would be willing to drive that distance on a regular basis for the sake of regular season NHL hockey, the number still pales in comparison to Winnipeg. That’s not even touching things like TV ratings.

Saskatchewan certainly sounds like a tough sell to us.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.