The second period of the Friday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs became more about face-punching than hockey — which surprises no one considering the Leafs are the Leafs and they still believe the game is decided by whose knuckles drag lower.

There were two scraps before the title bout. First, John Erskine and Dion Phaneuf traded gloved punches, an altercation that linesman Mark Shewchyk seemed to get the worst of. Second, Tom Wilson bloodied his knuckles in a fight with a player with two awful first names, Carter Ashton. I’d punch that guy for that reason alone.

But those were merely the scrumptious appetizers before the two heavyweights on the team, Erskine and Colton Orr, gave us the main course. I’ll end the lame metaphor here, but the entree was probably something meaty, with a heaping of gravy.

Erskine seems angry, no?

Andddddd here’s the KO punch.

After fights, players on the bench and the ice usually tap their sticks in salute. After this bout, however, both benches were more pumped up than usual, slamming the boards with their sticks like they had just watched the most entertaining Pay-Per-View of 2014.

Karl Alzner went a step further. Instead of slamming his stick, he bent over and started slamming the boards with his hands. I guess that’s louder. Or more manly.

GIFs by Ian Oland

Braden Holtby, who has been riding the pine since the Bee Gee’s topped the charts, did the same.

What a salute.

After the game, Alex Ovechkin‘s mind was still on the fights.

“[Tom Wilson] and [John Erskine] did a great job, especially against great guys who can fight,” Ovechkin gushed. “They won the battles and it gave us more confidence. I think [Toronto] started playing rough against us and they showed them who the boss was.”

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  • TakkoSupreme

    Karl Alzner is not worthy.

  • Jay DeLancey

    ole Cherry was just talkin about Alzner on Coach’s Corner

  • Chris Cerullo

    That good ole Canadian boy really knows how to celebrate a good hockey tussle

  • VeggieTart

    I was thinking the same thing. Ha!

  • BPThomas


  • JenniferH

    I saw someone slamming their hands against the boards but didn’t know who it was, thanks for clearing that mystery up. Twas Alzner. Didn’t realize Holts had as well. Guess he has to do something besides twiddle his thumbs.

  • Graham Dumas

    He’s going off the air next year b/c of the Rogers deal, right? RIGHT?

  • Cole

    Not to be outdone, Holtby uses his stick AND his glove.

  • Myan

    Is that Laich next to Brouwer? He’s just standing there in awe of the awesomeness that just transpired.

  • Ryan Kohn

    That’s Chimmer. Laich taps his stick on the ice.

  • I was just thinking about this. While he doesn’t really have smart analysis, he does have a ton of value. People really care about what he says. Every time we post about him, there are comments and lots of page views. People are interested in Don Cherry’s opinion.

    Is there really anybody that could replace him that would immediately have the same effect? No. It would take years and years and years to get that kind of interest back, and he’s so controversial, you may never attain it.

    It’s really up to Rogers on if they would rather be interesting or insightful, because Don Cherry does move the needle.

    I personally would keep him but maybe start grooming a successor immediately on his segments somehow someway.

    Look at how SNL has done weekend update this year. That’s a good example.

  • Owen

    life’s short, celly hard

  • Graham Dumas

    Geez, I dunno. First, I’m not sure people are watching HNIC because of Cherry, and I’m not certain he attracts much revenue himself. Granted, I’ve never seen a complete broadcast of HNIC myself, but it appears to me that Coach’s Corner plays a very small role in the overall broadcast; I imagine most fans watch for the hockey. But it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong.

    Second, and more critically for me, Don Cherry represents a faction of hockey fans that I find very troubling. He seems to feel that the game should be exclusively Canadian, or at least North American. There doesn’t seem to be too much tolerance of foreign interlopers on his part. Watching him, I start to wonder how it would sound if you replaced the hockey-related language with something more political. He starts to sound a bit scary when you do so. That’s a view that has no place in the modern era, and one that I would not personally be sad to see disappear. Hockey is marginalized enough already as a sport; we don’t need to push it even further into a corner ourselves.

    Third, as I think has been pointed out on this blog before, he’s an incoherent side show, an accidental comedian. What’s the point of keeping him around if he can’t even fulfill the stated purpose of his broadcast: to educate “the kids” about hockey? He’s just an anachronous, xenophobic clown, and I don’t think he brings enough analysis to outweigh the many negative factors associated with him.

  • Sam E. Dreamer

    No was happier than Tom Wilson when Erskine briefly showed up at the penalty box. Had a very “bash bros” feel to it.

  • Rhino40

    But those suits! Those horrible f***ing suits!!!!

  • Rhino40


  • Graham Dumas

    Wait, is that in rebuttal to, or support of, my argument?

    John Walton recently described him as “wearing my grandparents’ curtains,” or something like that.

  • Rhino40

    Both and neither. I’m just saying that, when discussing Cherry, one cannot overlook his…somewhat flamboyant wardrobe. As for where I stand on his statements: I, too am sometimes offended by the things he says. But I think his continued presence on HNIC is the result of some very cynical cost-benefit analysis at CBC headquarters. He’s kind of like a radio shock-jock…or even a car crash: We all know we shouldn’t look, but we kinda have to.

    I guess Canada’s own version of the Smothers Brothers probably say it best, in a video that has somehow–inexplicably–been made “private”.

  • Graham Dumas

    I see your point, but I’m again not sure I buy it.

    I’d believe it if he were given more airtime on HNIC. But check out any coach’s corner of late: about a third of the time is dedicated to Cherry talking about what he’d show if he had more time. In contrast, shock-jocks get entire, hours-long shows to themselves.

    If CBC/Rogers were actually playing out a cost-benefit scenario, and if people actually wanted to hear more of the sad old man’s ramblings, wouldn’t you expect Cherry to have much more time to do his thing?