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April 10, 2007

Don Cherry

Joel Darling

Sam Flood

Brett Hull

BRIAN WALKER: Thanks for joining us today for this joint NBC, CBC Stanley Cup playoff preview call. We'll have brief remarks from each of the participants, then go to your questions.
I'll turn it over to Sam Flood, coordinating producer of the NHL on NBC.
SAM FLOOD: We're very excited to drop the puck on our second playoff season on NBC. Saturday we start with a preview show at 2:30, a half hour special setting up the playoffs, giving Mr. Hull some extra air time to kick the tires for the playoffs.
At 3:00, it's off to Game 2, Pittsburgh/Ottawa. We'll also have the Rangers at Atlanta. The Pittsburgh game is going to go most of the country. Then Sunday we'll have the Red Wings/Calgary game at 1:00, which we think should be a great series. I'm sure Brett and Don will have some interesting insights on that.
We have 10 broadcast dates through the Conference Finals. Once again, we'll cover games three to seven of the final in prime time. We're very excited the league is guaranteeing seven-game series in the new NHL. Like last year, we'll do seven games, have hopefully an overtime in Game 7 this year just to make it more dramatic.
We're thrilled to continue the Inside the Glass position that is the signature of the NBC coverage. Nothing like playoff hockey. To have our guys inside the glass during playoff hockey should add extra spice to these playoff series.
THE MODERATOR: I'll turn it over to my friend at CBC, Jennifer (indiscernible).
JENNIFER: Also on behalf of CBC, I'd like to welcome everyone to the call today and thank you for joining us. Here to talk more about CBC's playoff broadcast package is the executive producer of Hockey Night in Canada, Joel Darling.
JOEL DARLING: Thanks for joining us today. It's the best time for us of the year for us at CBC. We start a two-month journey to see who will hoist the Stanley Cup. For CBS Television, the Stanley Cup will dominate our schedule with exclusive coverage of Canadian teams right through to the presentation of the Cup. We will have games on CBC every day for the next nine days straight, and possibly 14.
We start with a great doubleheader tomorrow night at 7:00 and 10:00 eastern, Ottawa/Pittsburgh followed by the Vancouver/Dallas game.
First round in high-definition and 17 of the 21 Canadian teams scheduled will be carried in high-def.
A couple of notes. Beginning tomorrow with the Ottawa/Pittsburgh game, fans will have a chance to go to CBS Sports.ca and tune into Hockey Night online. This will be a pre and postgame show offered for every game in the playoffs. Postgame will include interviews, analysis and postgame press conferences. The pregame will include coverage of the warmup prior to the game.
Regarding our talent, there's a couple of changes that's happened in the last couple of days. Ron McClean will host from the broadcast center. Don Cherry will be with him beginning tomorrow night. And Kelly Hrudy will be with us doing Behind the Mask beginning tomorrow night on the late game. Craig Simpson, assistant coach of the Oilers, will be with us in Toronto throughout the first two rounds.
Gary Galley is now replacing John Garrett as an analyst on the series with Tampa and New Jersey. There was a scheduling conflict with John Garrett. Gary Galley, who has done some things with us throughout the year, will be part of that coverage of that series.
We're hoping Thursday night that we may have our first live streaming of a game available to the entire country. That would be the Tampa/New Jersey game on Thursday. We're hoping to do that. We're just working out some details with that.
We also want to announce today that Brett Hull will have a role with CBC during the finals, and Don will make his first appearance on NBC with Brett at some point during the finals. There will be more of that to come down the road.
JENNIFER: And now, of course, for the real reason we are all here, popular and outspoken analysts in the game today are joining us to talk about their views regarding the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs.
First we have the third all-time leading scorer in the NHL, winner of two Stanley Cups, and current studio analyst for NBC, Brett Hull. We also have the American Hockey League Coach of the Year with the Rochester Americans, the NHL Coach of the Year with the Boston Bruins, and also he was voted as one of the top 10 most famous Canadians of all time. From CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, legendary Coach's Corner, we have Don Cherry.
Before we open it up for questions, I'll pass it over to Don and Brett who will give their opening thoughts on the upcoming playoffs. Don, over to you.
DON CHERRY: I'm very happy to be here. It's going to be a great series. We open up I imagine every other night till June 9th I'm going on with Ron McClean. How can you stand it, Brett?
BRETT HULL: I don't know. I'll be watching, though. You know that.
DON CHERRY: Brett, I had you on Coach's Corner. You were absolutely great. You were a sensation on fighting. Give your little speech before we get into the questions.
BRETT HULL: I'm looking forward to it. I was honored to be on the Coach's Corner. You know, I think this year, for the first time I think in a long time, there is some unbelievable matches up in the playoffs coming up.
Unfortunately, Montréal and Toronto are not in the playoffs this year. With Vancouver and Calgary and Ottawa, I think the Canadians are well-represented by some good teams.
Hopefully two of them will get by. I have to tell you I'm biased towards Dallas. We have some great matchups on both sides. I'm looking forward to some exciting games as opposed to in the past, as exciting as they've been, at times they've been very, I don't know what word to use, a little bit subdued, so I'm looking for a little bit more action and some more exciting games this year.
DON CHERRY: Keep the penalties down.
BRETT HULL: Not too many penalties, but let them play hockey. But I think we all will agree, the last half of the year, the whistles were kind of put away anyway. I think we're going to see some better refereeing anyway.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Don and Brett. Let's open it up to questions.

Q. Don, just wanted to talk about your reactions to how the Islanders got into the playoffs and see if you had any predictions for the three local teams here.
DON CHERRY: I tell you, I said, what happens with those shootouts at the start of the year if a team decides on a shootout? Sure enough it happened.
I tell you, I have to admire the Islanders. They didn't roll over. I was a little disappointed that they didn't put Brodeur in. I thought they would because it meant so much.
The kid played pretty good.
No, they didn't roll over. They played great in the third period. They won it fair and square. I love that Witt. He played like old-time hockey, that Brendan Witt. That's the way to play it. They won it fair and square.
Teddy Nolan, you imagine when he goes into Buffalo, can you imagine the fans there absolutely, when he goes in there, they were absolutely in love with him. That should be a dandy series.
Atlanta and New York, that's going to be a speedy series. I don't think there will be too many penalties in that one. That will be a good one. They skate, both of them. It should be a dandy.

Q. Don and Brett, you are two of the most outspoken guys in hockey. Brett is just starting to do it professionally. I want to know, Don, do you have any tips for him on how to take it to the art you have it? Also Brett, when you appear with Don Cherry on camera in the finals, are you under pressure to pick up your wardrobe?
DON CHERRY: Better get some plaids.
BRETT HULL: I'm going to look better than my dad, I'll tell you that (laughter).
It's going to be an honor to be on with Don. I've been a big fan for a long time. Any advice I can get from him, because he's been doing this for a long time. You don't become an icon just because you dress nice. He's very talented at what he does.
DON CHERRY: Listen, Brett, what I've been reading about you, you don't need any advice. You're doing all right. You have more hair than your dad anyhow. You got to step up there, too.
Chris has got a call on me on TV, and he always starts at the end, the good, the bad and the ugly. If I don't make the ugly, I know I've had a bad show.

Q. Don, is America ready for Don Cherry?
BRETT HULL: I tell you what, I think they are, you know. I think that's part of the thing that's missing, not with just hockey, but in all coverage in the American sports world, is some personality. I think that's why you see a guy like Terry Bradshaw, as popular as he is. He's not just Mr. PC, going through, That was a nice catch and throw. He tells it like it is.
One show they might not know, but if they did it on a regular basis, he would be just as popular down here as he is up there.

Q. Don, your thoughts?
DON CHERRY: Well, you've written, a lot of people have written that what I see up here would never get away with it down in the States. I'd like to know your thoughts. What do you think? That's what I'd like to know.
BRETT HULL: A guy here named Steve A. Smith, he's as vocal. He says whatever he wants. They seem to enjoy him.

Q. Don, all things considered, wouldn't you have rather been in Ottawa this Saturday night?
DON CHERRY: I wondered if somebody was going to ask that. Listen, I have to be truthful. Absolutely. I'm not going to put anybody down, but I think it will cost us a million viewers going on in the afternoon. I believe we should be on at night. I wish we were on Saturday night, I do.

Q. The Ducks and their chances to advance into the playoffs?
BRETT HULL: I think their biggest test is going to be this first series against the Wild. I think Minnesota is playing as good as any team in the NHL right now. They've got a tremendous coach. The team has bought in and the team still is able to play within Jacques' kind of tight-fisted defensive style. Jacques has kind of come a little bit towards the players, too, and let Gaborik and Demitra, but Chara, those guys open it up a little bit. They've got speed and they've got size. With Rolston shooting the puck, if they can play hard on those two great defensemen, Niedermayer and Pronger, I don't see why they can't win.
But Anaheim needs to play some good hockey if they're going to get through the series. They've got all the ability in the world. They've got a ton of great players and two great goalies.
I think that's going to be a great series. But that could go against Anaheim if they're not careful.
DON CHERRY: I like Anaheim. Brian Burke did one of the signings of all time getting Selanne. Everybody thought he was through at 45 goals. Giguere is down to 226 in the average. I love their young players. McDonald, Penner and Getzlaf, Perry. And I think they have the best two young -- best two defensemen in Niedermayer and Pronger.
I'm picking Anaheim on that one. Minnesota was one of the hottest teams down the stretch. I love the way Anaheim plays. They're my favorite team. I love Dallas, too, but I don't know if they have a chance against Vancouver.
Selanne is going to come through again. When you can put two guys like Niedermayer and Pronger, you're laughing. I'm picking Anaheim in that one.

Q. Brett, what do you think of Buffalo's chances as a team that may get finally its moment in the sun in terms of television? Can you imagine yourself going in there based on what happened in '99, to a possible Stanley Cup final, working in Buffalo?
BRETT HULL: The reception will be horrendous as you probably can imagine. But I think they're a great team. I mean, my prediction is Anaheim and Buffalo in the finals. They've got it all. I think they almost have four lines that can put the puck in the net. They've got solid, mobile, good mix on defense of speed and size and strength and defense, offense. They've got a great young goalie. I mean, they're a great team.
This is a year where if they're going to do it, this is probably the year. You know, good for them if they do.
DON CHERRY: They have a goalie at 2.73, Miller. He loves the playoffs, a .911 percentage. They have 720 or more goals scored. That's hard to believe. 430 goals scored. They're speedy. They can be tough. Lindy Ruff, he doesn't fool around if you touch any of his stars. I love the Islanders, the way they battled right into the end, Teddy Nolan. But I think they won their Stanley Cup just getting in the playoffs.
BRETT HULL: I agree with that. Who is feeding you all these stats?
DON CHERRY: I'm getting ready for you guys down there. I'm turning a new leaf. Brett, you must love Witt, the way he plays.
BRETT HULL: I love those guys. Big, hard, physical guys. They're kind of a dying breed.

Q. Don, this is the about the Penguins/Senators series. Much is being made in Pittsburgh about the Senators' repeated failures in the playoffs. Do you think that will play psychologically against them? What about the Penguins' youth and lack of experience? How important is playoff experience?
DON CHERRY: It is very important, Brett will tell you. They can't believe, here is Roberts coming back at them again. Roberts, when he was with the Leafs, he would nail them to the cross. It was unbelievable. We got to put up with them again. They are awful young.
I think it belongs to Fleury. If Fleury can come through, he did pretty good. And Sidney, the kid, it's not going to make any difference to them.
Ottawa really has -- I mean, they've got the goal-scorers. They have a good defense. You're right, if they ever get off -- if Pittsburgh ever gets off to a good start, that there will come back in their mind they're going to choke again. Let's face it. They've done it an awful lot. If they ever get on a roll, look out Ottawa. It all depends on Fleury, how he does.
BRETT HULL: I agree. You can look at the playoff experience in two ways. You can say, Well, inexperience, you know, they don't know how to handle it, whatever. You can also look at it the other way and say, Ignorance is bliss and they may not really know what they're into, just go and play.
I agree with Don. I just think Ottawa has a little too much for them. But watch out in the near future. They are going to be something else.

Q. A team that's never in the playoffs, why do you think the Blackhawks can never get it together? If you were running the team, what would you do?
BRETT HULL: There's not really much you can do when the man in charge is the man in charge. It's as simple as that.
DON CHERRY: That really hurts the National Hockey League when you have L.A. out and Chicago out and Boston out. They're the teams that have to be in. I hate to say it. And I'm not knocking Minni or Nashville, any of those teams. For the National Hockey League to really get recognized, you have to have Chicago and Boston and L.A. in. It's sad to see them out of the playoffs, I'll tell you.
What they have to do? I think Dale is doing what he has to do. He's got to start young. He's got Seabrook, a lot of young guys. The only way you're going to do it is get down in the scale, get some of these free agents, get going. The National Hockey League really wants Chicago back in there.
BRETT HULL: You know what, I mean, it's an original six team. It just bleeds hockey. To have them not in there... I think we're lucky that the people of Chicago and the state of Illinois are unbelievable hockey fans. They'll be tuning in. But I agree with Don. It's sad.
There's teams rebuilding. Like L.A., they're trying to rebuild with new coaches and managers. Like Don said, in Chicago, Dale, he's doing a good job. I don't think they're too far away either. We really need them in the playoffs. Same with Boston.

Q. Don, you wear your heart on your sleeve with the Leafs. With them out, do you see yourself rooting for anyone in particular over the course of these playoffs?
DON CHERRY: I got to root for all the Canadian teams, that's for sure. I'd like to see Calgary. I was talking to Brett before. There's something about that Calgary club that reminds me of old-time hockey. They went on a four-game losing streak at the end. Calgary reminds me of old-time hockey guys, all scarred up. I'd have to say Calgary.
Somehow or other I always like Dallas. I keep coming back to Dallas. But the Canadian teams, hey, I got to cheer for them, Calgary especially.

Q. You mentioned earlier perhaps changing your style, getting a few more numbers in there. Do you see any other changes you'll make when you make your NBC debut?
DON CHERRY: Me? Oh, no. I'll just go on and do what I have to do. Remember, I know I got everything in Pittsburgh one time. In the States, they wanted me to go on Pittsburgh. Jaromir Jagr, it was when he had long hair, and (indiscernible), when he had long hair, they had him on the program. They had their shirts off. I don't know why they did. I but said, There's Mario and his daughter. It didn't go over too good. That was my last time in the States (laughter).

Q. To the CBC executives, the streams you were talking about earlier, will that be available in the United States?
JOEL DARLING: No. It would be geofenced in Canada.

Q. Don, many hockey fans throughout the United States are welcoming seeing you and Brett work together, be on NBC. You'll be very welcomed throughout the entire Stanley Cup, trust me on that. Do you, either you or Brett, see any dark horse out there that people should be looking for that they may not be aware of at this moment?
DON CHERRY: You like Calgary, right, Brett?
BRETT HULL: I think if there's a team that reminds me of Edmonton of last year, it's Calgary. I don't understand their difficulties on the road, but they're unbeatable at home. If they can steal one from any team on the road, which I think they can, if there's one team in all these new buildings that are so stale, if there's one team that has home-ice advantage in the NHL it's the Calgary Flames. It's just an intimidating building to go into, even to watch you get a little intimidated.
I think the Calgary Flames, the Detroit Red Wings better be very careful. This team has big, rugged, skilled defensemen and a good goalie. When you have that combination, anything can happen.
DON CHERRY: I'm worried with Minni against Anaheim. I told you, like Brett talked, Minni, they shut it down, sell out every game. The games sometimes you can watch paint dry. But, boy, their goaltender is playing good. They've been playing playoff hockey since October, so they bother me.

Q. Sam, anything on the broadband side for NBC?
SAM WALKER: Yeah, we're going to continue to do our half hour pregame show before all the playoff games so we come on 30 minutes prior to our TV window and do a rink-sideshow essentially when we go down and check in on the warmups, talk to players, get the buzz of the building.

Q. Don, with the Leafs not in the playoffs, do you take some comfort in the fact, look at the NHL scoring leaders, 8 out of 10 of them are Canadians? Secondly, your opinions on the Canadiens?
DON CHERRY: That Kovalev, they should take him out the back of the barn, and Samsonov, those two guys. Over $7 million and he never got a shot that last game, that Kovalev. How they can bring him back next year is beyond me. Too bad the goalie got hurt. That's what killed them. I wonder about starting the other guy, he hadn't played in a while.
But five top goal-scorers and everything are Canadian. You could go right down the list. It's kind of sad, though, to see those two teams out. We had close to three million people. Let me just put that in perspective. Down in the States, we have 30 million people, and everything is 10 times down in the States because you have 350 million. That means we have 30 million people close to watching a regular game because of the interest.
Toronto is the place, though. When you go to any other city, any other city in Canada, they all say, Let's go Leafs, more than anything. I keep saying it's sad. But I live here in Toronto, so it is.
BRETT HULL: I agree with you. I think it is sad. I feel bad for Guy Carbonneau. I had him very high on the Jack Adams Coach of the Year ballot because, like you said, trying to coach those dogs, it's hard. To have them that close to making the playoffs with the injuries to the goalies, whatnot, I think he did a wonderful job. Especially Bob Gainey, I would love to see him back in the playoffs.
But they'll get it turned around there.
DON CHERRY: How about Kirk Muller? You must love that guy.
BRETT HULL: Absolutely. All three of those guys. Doug Jarvis I had here in Dallas. He's a tremendous guy, as well.

Q. What do you make of the Bruins?
DON CHERRY: They can't blame Harry any more. They blamed him. They have to open up the pursestrings, it's very simple. They have to open up the pursestrings. They did with Chara. They have to keep doing that. They can't go along and be the cheap team they've been. I hate to say it because you know what I think of the Boston Bruins. I'm sure Brett would agree, you got to get those free agents and you got to pay the money.
BRETT HULL: Yeah, you do. You look at them, they're another team kind of like Chicago. They're probably even a little closer than Chicago is. But they've got some good young players. They just have to find the right mix. Coach Lewis has to figure out how -- with the players he has to figure out some sort of game plan to win just those few more games, at least get into the shootout or something. They're really not that far away from the playoffs.

Q. They need a goalie.
DON CHERRY: You better believe it. I like Thomas. But let's put it this way, Luongo is in Boston, they're in the playoffs for sure.
BRETT HULL: If Luongo is anywhere, they're in the playoffs.
DON CHERRY: That's for sure.

Q. Do you think Dave Lewis is the right man for that coaching job?
BRETT HULL: Dave Lewis is a great coach. Don't go that direction. He knows what he's doing. If he gets the right mix of players, I would watch out because he's a very smart guy.
DON CHERRY: You don't have the horses, you can't ride 'em.
BRETT HULL: Look at Scotty Bowman, 11 Stanley Cups. The years he didn't win, he probably just didn't have a very good team.

Q. Spent a lot of money on Chara but he didn't have a great year for them.
DON CHERRY: No, he didn't. After he got hurt, he never seemed to come back. It seems as if his heart was broken for a little while. I think he went there thinking he was really going to set them on fire. Now he sees Ottawa in the playoffs. He just seemed to lose a little fire the last half of the season.
BRETT HULL: I think you have to realize, too, there's personalities that are a lot different. You take a look at a guy like me. If I sign a deal like that, it isn't going to affect me. But then there's other guys, I'm not saying this about him, but just in a guess, there's people that struggle with the pressure of living up kind of like A-Rod.
Maybe it takes them a year or so to get a little more comfortable with being that guy with the big huge contract that's supposed to save the franchise. He might be better next year by 10 times than this year.
DON CHERRY: That's what happened to Kubina in Toronto. That's all they brought up. Imagine him making $5 million. You hear it day after day after day.
BRETT HULL: Drives some guys insane.
DON CHERRY: I never had that problem.

Q. Are you getting together with Harry in the playoffs?
DON CHERRY: I haven't seen him in a long time. Friends now. Bitter for about 20 years. But life goes on, I guess. It got to the point one time in the Montréal Forum, I said, Harry, nice shirt. He says, Oh, I see, the rest of them are horse shit, is that it? We're friends now. I do hope I get together with him someday.

Q. You two guys are going to work the Stanley Cup finals together on NBC, is that right?
DON CHERRY: Yeah, I'm going to be over there. I was supposed to be fired the first month in Hockey Night in Canada when I started. I'll just be a good guy like Brett, let him do it.
JOEL DARLING: This is Joel from CBC. We talked about this on one occasion. We're still working out the details.
BRETT HULL: It's going to be so good, they're going to work out a deal where we do it every week.
DON CHERRY: We're ready. We're ready.

Q. Don, both you talked about the Flames, how dangerous they are to the Wings. What do you think it's going to take for the Wings to get over that hump?
DON CHERRY: Well, I'm sure Brett will agree, they've got to get on -- get some score like 3-0, something like that. The longer it goes 0-0, the better it is for Calgary. They'll get more confidence, more confidence. They should be like the old Montréal Canadiens, go out there and try to blow them right off the bat, get their confidence coming.
The longer the game goes, it will be better for the Flames, I tell you that. Go out there and blitz 'em.
BRETT HULL: You know, I can tell you right now, Calgary's game plan is to come out and run them through the boards, hit every guy you see, anybody in the winged wheel is going to get hit. They have to hit back and push back. When they're in the offensive zone, they have to go to the dangerous spots to score goals. If they think they're going to beat Calgary by not going into those dangerous areas and just playing on the perimeter, they're crazy.
They've got to prove that they're going to go to the rough areas in the offensive zone and use their skill in those areas to score.
DON CHERRY: Detroit, if they get a sweetie referee, then Calgary is done. If they get a guy that plays it straight. If he starts calling phantom calls, Calgary doesn't have a chance.

Q. Brett, you play with Hasek in the finals, how much difference do you think it makes for the Wings?
BRETT HULL: I don't know at 40 whatever years old he is. I know this, it doesn't matter if it's Dominik Hasek or anyone. If you're a player, you're not sure what shot is going in next, your team is finished. If you have a guy back there that you have complete confidence in, you have way more than a fighting chance if you're an underdog. If you're a good team, you are golden. That's when you don't seem to play scared.
Instead of making the safe play, getting it out, playing conservative, you take that little extra second and maybe make the proper play instead of just chipping out off the glass.
Whether it's Dominik, Luongo, Marty Turco, if you're confident in the goalie, he's going to stop their mistakes, you're way ahead of the curve.
DON CHERRY: That's for sure. Look at Vancouver. They went from a .500 club to a powerful club knowing that Luongo is back there. They take that extra chance at the other end, stand up because he's there.
BRETT HULL: You look at most teams that aren't in the playoffs, their goaltending is very suspect.

Q. Do you think the Wings are better suited for playing the game Brett talks about with guys like Bertuzzi in the lineup?
DON CHERRY: You get Bertuzzi, nobody wants to push him around. He's a great guy, glad he's coming back. He's had two or three years of a nightmare. To see him coming back, that's great with Detroit. They're not going to get pushed around. I don't think overall, as Brett says, that they have the team -- if the referee plays it straight, they don't have the team.
Let's face it, they're a sweet team. They have a lot of sweet players. They can score. They have Schneider and Lindstrom, Draper, and Maltby kill the penalties. They have a good team. With Hasek, with a 205 average, he just keeps going on. He did come back, take only a million dollars, because he did say, I want to come back and win a Stanley Cup and finish. He's on a mission, too.
If Calgary comes out the way they can, it won't be easy for them, I'll tell you that.

Q. Don, as you know, you're pretty well-loved here in Detroit. I guess I'm not understanding why people might not think you wouldn't work across the United States. And obviously Detroit is part of the United States.
DON CHERRY: I used to go down there. One time I went down there for the Probert vs. Crowder fight. I got a standing ovation in the crowd. I loved it there. They were my type of team, McCarty. You walked into that building, you used to be ready for something. I love the Detroit fans.

Q. Why is the misnomer out there that maybe what you do in talking about hockey, the way you do things, might not carry across the United States when you're such a hit here in Michigan and Detroit?
DON CHERRY: I don't know. That's what they tell me. I think I'm great at it. It seemed when I went down there, I seemed to have a lot of problems somehow in Pittsburgh and that.
BRETT HULL: Don't believe everything you hear, Don. They told me I'd never win a Cup either.
DON CHERRY: Jaromir Jagr got very upset the things I said, and other people. In fact, I think his agent --
BRETT HULL: No one has a sense of humor any more.
DON CHERRY: I guess not. I love Detroit. I have a lot of fun when I go down there.
BRETT HULL: Good place.

Q. Is Ron McClean going to feel lonely if you become a hit in the United States?
DON CHERRY: I don't know. I'd always stick with him. Him and I got something going.
BRETT HULL: He's right on Donnie's coattails. He's no dummy.
DON CHERRY: He keeps me on the right track. Sometimes I get carried away. Sometimes I almost say to him, What am I talking about here?
No, I'd have to be with him a lot.

Q. I got Brett's predictions for the finals. But, Don, I haven't heard you weigh in on who you think is going to advance. Also related to the Sharks, a lot of the players are saying anything less than the finals is really going to be a disappointment this year. They're sitting there in fifth place. What do you think is the could he for them?
DON CHERRY: Thornton. If you can have -- I'm sure anybody would say, if you want anybody going into the playoffs, Thornton. They have Marleau, Cheechoo. They want to pick up on Garon.
Again, I'm sure Brett will tell you, Nabokov, if he's going, they're going to be in a real dogfight. I think they will be in the finals in the west out there. Do you agree, Brett?
BRETT HULL: Yeah, you'd think so. But, you know, I can't remember who asked the question, but he made a great point. They were better than a fifth-place team. There's something wrong that I have no idea what it is, because I look at them, they're big, they're fast. They have the MVP of the NHL at center. They have a 50-goal-scorer kid. Another kid a regular 40-goal-scorer. They have great checkers. They might be a little young and inexperienced on D. But that is not a lineup you look at and say, fifth place in the west.
You know, I'll move them up to fourth because I don't agree with it. Just because you win a division doesn't mean you get a third seed. That's baffling to me, when you don't have as many points as somebody, you get seeded ahead of them. There's something wrong because, you know, they didn't have a lot of injuries. Fifth place I didn't think was up to snuff for them.
DON CHERRY: The finals or nothing. They cannot be beat out in the semifinals. It's the finals for a lot of guys there, I tell you that.
BRETT HULL: You look at almost the whole Western Conference, I think you could almost say every team is at least thinking that. That's what is scary about how good the west is.
DON CHERRY: It's so sad, they're going to pound each other to death. By the time they get to the finals, they're going to be worn out. The best teams, let's face it, are out west.
BRETT HULL: Nashville and San Jose, one of those teams is going to be gone in the first round.

Q. Don, have you weighed in anywhere on who you think? Have you put down your predictions as far as who you think is going to make the finals?
DON CHERRY: I think the semifinals, it will be San Jose and Anaheim. I really think that could happen. I like Anaheim for a lot of reasons. I like Selanne. But the reason I like Anaheim is that Giguere has been there before; he's the MVP.
In the east, I like Ottawa. Brett, you talk about somebody having to do something this year. If Ottawa doesn't do something this year, there's going to be a lot of guys paying the price, I tell you that. They just cannot choke again.
DON CHERRY: Anaheim and Ottawa.

Q. On the Red Wings, do you think this team is tough enough to make a run through the Stanley Cup? Also, is Babcock the kind of coach that can take them to the Cup?
BRETT HULL: That's the million dollar question. I don't think anyone has the answers. I think you're going to find out if they're tough enough in the first round. You're going to find out about Coach Babcock if they get by the rest of the way. That's the million dollar question.
I think if there's any team that has the toughest row to hoe right now, it's the Detroit Red Wings.
DON CHERRY: I think they will be calling a lot of penalties. I just have a feeling in that series there's going to be an awful lot of penalties called. That's going to play right into the hands of Detroit. Zetterberg, what is it, 23 games he hasn't got a goal? They're the big guys they're counting on. They have great guys on the point in Lindstrom, Snyder. They have Chelios back there. Been there a long time.
BRETT HULL: He's awesome.

Q. What do you think John Ferguson's future is with the Maple Leafs? Do you think he should return?
DON CHERRY: It doesn't matter what I think. He will be back. There's no doubt about that. There's a contract. I tell you something, they better do something next year. Even John knows he won't be back. But he will be back. People in the United States, you don't understand how it is here. We got the Blue Jays just pounding everybody, but everybody's been depressed up here over the Leafs. The headlines and everything, everywhere you go in the city.
He will be back. I'd give him one more shot. If something doesn't happen next year, he will be gone for sure.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks very much, Don and Brett.

End of FastScripts
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