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Don Cherry Gives Mike Milbury Too Much Credit for Caps Turnaround?

  • Stephen Kettner

Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry has been critical of Mike Milburry for chastising Capitals Star Alex Ovechkin (

When you look at the Washington Capitals lockout-shortened season, one word could be used to describe it: adaptation. The Caps started out a DISMAL, an abhorrent 2-8-1, but  with two games left in the 2013 NHL season are Southeast Division Champions. They have cemented themselves as the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and have found a resurgence in their offense and  more specifically their power play. Alex Ovechkin has returned to his old self, leading the NHL in Goals, and has reconstituted that 1-2 punch with Nicklas Backstrom. The punch that duo brought was lost under former coach Dale Hunter but looks much more like the style of play that they both had under former head coach Bruce Boudreau, now with the Anaheim Ducks. As for current head coach Adam Oates, he’s  guided the team to where it is today (division champs). He stayed strong and steadfast while his team was in a slump and has turned this team back into the offensive Juggernaut that it once was, not to mention with a defensive twist.

But when you talk to Don Cherry, he believes Mike Milbury should get the credit for turning this team and its Superstar around.According to the Washington Post’s DC Blogger Dan Steinburg, Don Cherry, in an interview  with Toronto’s 590 The Fan, stated that “Mike Milbury I think deserves a lot of credit here.”  Cherry would go on to say that Milbury

Mike Milbury has been critical of Alex Ovechkin’s play this season (

would “come on and he ripped Ovechkin…and called him every name and that’s when Ovechkin changed.”

Do I personally agree with Don Cherry on this? To an extent yes but for the most part no. I can see where Cherry is going, saying that Milbury’s comments have been the driving force behind “The Great 8’s” rise to success again, but the credit goes to Coach Adam Oates and his offense-first mentality. Ovechkin was hampered by Dale Hunter’s defensive minded style of play and was limited. In this system he has the ability to do what he does best, score goals! Also give Oates credit for turning Ovechkin from “Celebrity” to hockey player; no more gold chains, just pure unadulterated hockey! I get what Milbury was trying to do; he was doing his job and imputing his “expert” input in his analysis. Although I don’t agree with his opinions, I respect them. The credit here however goes to Adam Oates and his offensive genius.

On a side note, THANK YOU DON CHERRY! You’ve personally called out Mike Milbury! Hopefully this will make him think twice about who he chastises in the future. Let us not forget this is the same Mike Milbury that called Penguins forward and former Washington Capital Matt Cooke a “skunk”

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Stephen Kettner

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