The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a pretty good start to the 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season, but when you are a hockey team in a Canadian market you are constantly under the microscope and that means there is always going to be something to complain about.
On Saturday night the National Hockey League most infamous curmudgeon proved that theory correct when NHL legend Don Cherry expressed his displeasure with the Toronto Maple Leafs regarding the way they have handled some of their players to start the season. Specifically Cherry took issue with the way that long time NHL veteran Jason Spezza had been handled over the first few games, and he seemed particularly upset about the treatment that Spezza received during the Maple LEafs home opener. This was no minor complaint from Cherry either, at least the language he used suggested it wasn't, as the former NHL head coach went so far as to suggest that the way Spezza had been treated was nothing short of "cruel."
"You're getting into stuff I don't like," began Cherry when asked by co-host Ron Maclean how he felt about how Spezza was being handled. "I think it was cruel, I mean I really do I don't understand it. He came here you knew he was gonna be a 4th line guy, and to have opening night on Hockey Night in Canada and the whole thing, and his family is there, and he doesn't play, I don't like it."
Although Cherry was upset with the way that the Maple Leafs had handled the situation he seemed to spare the organization his usual ire, and that may have been in large part due to his feelings regarding head coach Mike Babcock. It is clear that Cherry placed the blame for the opening night situation squarely on the shoulders of the Maple Leafs' bench boss, a man that Cherry admitted has always marched to the beat of his own drum.
"Very cruel, I don't like it, but Babcock does whatever he wants to do... we know that. He does what he wants to do and he is a winner so we will have to see."
Do you think it was cruel to sit Spezza in front of his family in the home opener? The Leafs did go on to win the game so it certainly is difficult to argue with the results on the ice.