Sports

Bunch of jerks? Not the Hurricanes having fun

So who’s the jerk here?

The Carolina Hurricanes have attracted a lot of attention with their postgame palooza after wins at PNC Arena. On Friday, after a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers, Warren Foegele connected on a “walkoff homer” off Dougie Hamilton that touched off a wild celebration at “home plate” with his teammates after he touched all the “bases.”

That also touched off a diatribe from Don Cherry, the bombastic one on Hockey Night in Canada and the Craig Sager wanna-be with his fluorescent haberdashery. Cherry, never at a loss for words, called the Canes a “bunch of jerks” and criticized coach Rod Brind’Amour, who he called a “straight shooter,” and captain Justin Williams for letting it go on.

About the only thing Cherry got right was when he said, “This is the National Hockey League.” The rest was nonsense. To each their own. On with the show. Let the fun continue and the fans stay in their seats after games, wondering what’s next.

“Bunch of jerks” -- which the Canes already have on new T-shirts ready for sale -- may be their rallying cry and a marketing catchphrase the rest of the season.

cherry tshirts
The Carolina Hurricanes quickly turned Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry’s opinion about the team being a “bunch of jerks” for having postgame celebrations at home into a catchphrase and T-shirts for their fans.

Some observations from the 3-0 win Saturday over Dallas:

-- Which was the more important acquisition by the Canes, Curtis McElhinney or Nino Niederreiter? Both are huge, obviously, but McElhinney was a waiver-wire pickup before the season opener after Scott Darling went down with an injury.

-- Petr Mrazek is a small goalie but so athletic. Some of the saves the goalie made Saturday in his third shutout of the season were simply terrific. That’s a game where the Stars coaches will watch the video and be shaking their heads. Kind of like Brind’Amour did after some games earlier in the season when the Canes made so many opposing goalies looked like Vezina candidates.

-- The back-to-back games in net by McElhinney and Mrazek -- 74 shots faced, 73 saves -- may have been the Canes’ best of the season. The Oilers and Stars have some scary good high-end skill but the goalies stood tall. With some help, of course.

-- Nino. That is all. The numbers: 13 games with Carolina, 13 points.

-- The Canes need a little more from Andrei Svechnikov. This would be a good time to get it. Only 18, and he’s still learning and developing at this level. But to reach the playoffs ...

-- Trevor van Riemsdyk is quietly putting together a pretty solid season, with little fanfare. The D-man isn’t flashy but is reliable.

-- Once one of the NHL’s best faceoff guys, Brind’Amour knows the importance of winning draws and having puck possession. The Canes were 19-36 against the Stars and Sebastian Aho lost 10 of 12 draws. Jordan Staal’s return will ease that concern by the head coach.

-- It’s worth saying again: There are going to be a lot of mad Canes fans if management deals Micheal Ferland before the trade deadline. Just saying.

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In more than 30 years at The N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the N.C. State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina beats, and now is in his 11th season on the Carolina Hurricanes beat. Alexander, who has won numerous writing awards at the state and national level, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was a part of The N&O’s coverage of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup run.
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