TORONTO – Marlies coach Dallas Eakins responded with a tactically efficient response to hockey commentator Don Cherry.
Cherry took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, criticizing the Leafs organization for their handling of the 21-year-old prospect Nazem Kadri, most recently with honest comments about Kadri's fitness testing.
"Now Marlie coach comes out and rips Kadri in the newspaper saying he doesn't eat properly," said Cherry on his verified Twitter account. "Imagine headlines saying he's chubby and fatso.
"If anyone wants to get a blue print on how to destroy someone, just follow the Toronto Maple Leafs."
Eakins addressed Cherry's comments on Wednesday.
"I'm a massive fan of Don Cherry," said Eakins. "When we're playing a night game and Hockey Night in Canada is on, I beg my wife 'Please tape that game' and it's not because I want to watch the game, I want to watch Coach's Corner and I want to watch The Hot Stove. And I always want to see what Don is going to say just like the rest of the nation. The one thing is for sure is Don is an excellent entertainer. He is. He is great at it.
"His comments yesterday I can shake my head at them. I know what the truth is, I know what I believe in. And listen, he's a strong-willed guy; I'm sure he believes in everything that he had somebody type for him."
Entering his third season as the Marlies bench boss, Eakins said that he's never seen Cherry at either a game or a practice and welcomed him to do so.
"I would love for Don Cherry to come down and I invite Don to come down here and sit in my office and hey let's talk about where we're at with our players," said Eakins. "I've never ever seen him at one of our games and I've never ever seen him at a practice and he's never come in and knocked on my door. I invite Don to come on down, 'You're more than welcome at any time. You've got a lot of fans here'. We'd be honoured to have him."