|Cherry makes U.S. TV debut|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 04 June 2007 12:34|
OTTAWA (AP) -American hockey viewers are in for a Cherry-flavored taste of Canada.
Former coach Don Cherry will bring his hockey schtick and his sartorial splendor to the narrow U.S. TV audience that is expected to take in Monday night's broadcast of Game 4 on NBC.
Cherry, who coached Boston to consecutive Stanley Cup finals appearances in 1977 and '78, will appear with Brett Hull during the intermission following the first period.
Hull appeared on Cherry's Coach's Corner segment on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Hockey Night in Canada broadcast during Game 3.
``I relate it to someone going on with Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football,'' Hull said. ``It's a highlight for me to be able to go on with him.''
Renowned for his eye-popping choices in suits, shirts and ties, Cherry's choice of attire for Monday's broadcast remained under wraps.
``It doesn't matter, you know it's going to be crazy,'' said Hull before a pre-game broadcast meeting.
Cherry has been a CBC fixture for 25 years since he left coaching after a brief stint with the unlamented Colorado Rockies that provided fodder for his broadcasting career, notably anecdotes about hapless Swedish goalie Hardy Astrom.
Outspoken and controversial, Cherry is a champion of all things Canadian in hockey. He has also been accused of xenophobia for his criticism of European and French-speaking players.
``Remember how Cosell was, not everyone agreed with him and not everyone liked him but everyone stopped and listened when he spoke,'' Hull said. ``I think people underestimate his impact and influence on the game. If we could ever get someone like him, that type of attitude down in the States on our coverage, that would make a huge difference.''
The American ratings need a boost.
Ottawa's 5-3 victory over Anaheim on Saturday night received a 1.5 overnight rating and a 3 share on NBC, the network said Monday. That was down 12 percent from the 1.7/3 for Edmonton's 2-1 win over Carolina in Game 3 last year.
ISN'T IT IRONIC?: Grammy Award-winning and Ottawa-born recording star Alanis Morissette was scheduled to sing both national anthems before Game 4. It's an encore of sorts after Morissette sang the anthem for the Senators' first home game when the expansion franchise brought the NHL back to Ottawa in 1992.
Not all fans were happy with Alanis' addition.
In a letter published in the Ottawa Sun on Sunday, Mark Naftel criticized the decision to replace fan-favorite Ontario Provincial Police constable Lyndon Slewidge.
Slewidge, who finishes his anthem with a wink and a thumbs-up sign, has been the Senators' regular since 1992. He landed the job after he was transferred to Ottawa from Sault Ste. Marie, where he sang the anthem for the local Ontario Junior Hockey team.
SPREAD IT AROUND: The Senators are located in Ottawa, although the team's arena is far removed from the geographic heart of the Canadian capital.
Scotiabank Place is about a 30-minute drive from Parliament Hill in the sprawling government city's west end area of Kanata, which ceased to exist as a city when the former municipality was amalgamated with Ottawa on Jan. 1, 2001.
As a result, public displays of fan support are not concentrated in any one area of the city.
While thousands of fans who don't have game tickets have gathered outside the arena at fan zones run by the team, the city's popular bar and restaurant Byward Market district and Festival Plaza at city hall have also drawn huge crowds.
And following the lead of similar celebrations in Calgary and Edmonton in the previous two Stanley Cup finals, a lengthy strip of downtown Elgin Street has been converted into the ``Sens Mile'', where fans congregate to cheer on the Senators.
Ottawa police say the crowds have been well-behaved so far with only 18 arrests Saturday night despite a total of 33,000 fans out celebrating.
NEIL'S DIFFERENT TUNE: Ironically, tough guy Ottawa forward Chris Neil criticized Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger for knocking out Senators forward Dean McCammond in Game 3.
The hit led to the NHL suspending Pronger for Game 4 on Monday and Neil's comments.
``The league will probably review it and hopefully call something on it,'' Neil said. ``You don't like to see that happen.''
Neil, a rugged right wing, has been criticized for some of the checks he's delivered this season. The Buffalo Sabres were unhappy with Neil, who was not penalized after a blindside hit that knocked out and bloodied co-captain Chris Drury in February. The check led to a wild on-ice brawl.
And the Ducks are angry at Neil for running forward Andy McDonald from behind and hitting him in the head in Game 3.
``I don't know why he should get away with it,'' Teemu Selanne said.
AP Sports Writer John Wawrow contributed to this report.