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Don Cherry on Evander Kane: ‘To say a thing like that is absolutely asinine’


In late December, Don Cherry stood up for his “buddy” Evander Kane after the Jets forward came under fire for his infamous ‘money phone’ picture.

Now, he’s doing the exact opposite.

Cherry blasted Kane prior to flying to Winnipeg for Friday’s Jets-Penguins game, saying Kane’s comments — claiming a good portion of the criticism he gets is because he’s black — are “absolutely ridiculous.”

“When he says stuff like that, it gets the crowd against him,” Cherry told Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun. “Of all the places, Winnipeg — an absolutely ridiculous thing to say. And whoever’s advising this kid better start advising him, get him under control.

“Because to say a thing like that is absolutely asinine, as far as I’m concerned.”

Cherry has long been a fan of Kane. In 2009, he had Kane appear as one of the touted draft prospects on Hockey Night in Canada prior to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals between Pittsburgh and Detroit.

But now it seems Grapes has soured (sorry, had to) on the 21-year-old.

“When you act like he acts — if his name was O’Shaugnessy, he’d still get criticized,” Cherry explained to Friesen. “To say it’s racial is ridiculous.

“He’s gotta stop and grow up, keep his mouth shut and just play hockey.”


Kane clarifies comment, says he was referring to social media

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.