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HNIC Radio: Don Cherry says NHL will be back in January

CBC
Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry believes the Toronto Maple Leafs will be strong playing a compressed schedule that could lead to them ending their seven-year playoff drought.
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Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry believes the Toronto Maple Leafs will be strong playing …

With the NHL cancelling more games and time running out to save the season, Don Cherry took to the airways to weigh in.

The Hockey Night in Canada commentator joined HNIC Radio host Gord Stellick and CBCSports.ca senior hockey writer Tim Wharnsby on Friday, reaffirming his belief that there will still be a hockey season come January.

"They [the NHL] look too tough. I think it's personal," Cherry said. "I really believe that they're going down to the wire and I cannot believe somebody would blow $3.3 billion [U.S.]."

"It's a sad, sad situation. But I'm looking for a 48-game schedule and it'll be dynamite because it'll be a sprint."

Despite multiple reports that the NHL Players' Association membership has voted to give the executive board authority to file a disclaimer of interest and dissolve the union, the star of Coach's Corner is sticking to his original prediction about the future of a potential season.

"If you get the tape out the last time I was on, I said we'd be playing in the middle of January," Cherry said, but added that a lot of damage has already been done by both the league and the NHLPA, especially to fans, arena employees and even to fourth line players.

"They're both selfish. There's a bad feel out there right now," he said. "Canada will rebound, there's no doubt about that ... But some of those southern [U.S. fanbases], I don't know."

Cherry said that if any American teams do eventually fold as a result of the lockout, there are many Canadian cities that could step right in, including Newmarket, Ont., Hamilton and Saskatoon.

"It would be jammed the whole time [in Saskatoon] ... Saskatchewan is one of the richest provinces in Canada," he said. "You would never get a ticket in Quebec. They could put 18,000 season seats up and they'd be gone.

"They could have easy 10 teams in Canada."

Cherry surpassed 100,000 followers on Twitter this week and took a moment to talk about his experience on the popular social media site.

"I said, 'Twitter, what are you nuts? It was really hard at the start. Then I started getting some reaction [and] I started enjoying it.

"Some people just write little bursts. Not me. I write a whole column," he said. "It's like Coach's Corner."

Earlier in the day Cherry tweeted about why he joined Twitter, admitting he wasn't sure people were actually reading his posts until recently.

"I wondered until I sent out the tweet about how Team Canada went for speed instead of size due to size of ice and the refs. I got a note right back from head coach Steve Spott and the guys thanking me for the support. Made me feel good. This tweeting stuff isn't so bad after all!"

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