Stanley Cup finals fever with Don Cherry

Updated: June 11, 2006, 4:28 AM ET
ESPN.com

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Anyone who's anyone in the hockey world is at the Stanley Cup finals. And it wouldn't be the NHL playoffs without a little Grapes. Former NHL coach and current "Hockey Night in Canada" mainstay Don Cherry took time to answer a few pucks questions in between Friday's morning skates.

Ryan Smyth
AP Photo/Paul Chiasson, CPDon Cherry can't get over Ryan Smyth's "holy" hair.

How do the Oilers turn this around, especially after Carolina's Oiler-like play in Game 2?

Cherry: I remember when San Jose was up 2-0 [against the Oilers in the Western Conference finals]. I was on TV for that and I said, "It means nothing. You just go home and win your home games." They won their games and that's what happened. But you're right, [Carolina] was blocking shots, banging and smashing -- and running the goaltender, I must say. But I think it will be a little different when [the Oilers] get behind these fans in Edmonton. The worry, though, is how good is their goaltending?

Speaking of goaltending, how about Hurricanes rookie Cam Ward? Oilers coach Craig MacTavish called him "unflappable."

Cherry: If he keeps going the way he's going, he's going to be MVP. A 22-year-old kid, a rookie, I don't think he doesn't realize to get nervous. I don't even think he thinks about it. Because if he lets in a bad goal, bing, it doesn't bother him at all.

Some have talked about how there isn't much interest in these Cup finals. What do you think about it?

Cherry: In Canada here, we're doing sensational. Yeah, it's a small market. I honestly believe it's going to be very tough for anybody to get a big [draw] on television in the States because a lot of people don't know hockey. Nebraska, Georgia. There's nothing wrong with the game and there's nothing wrong with the way it's being presented. There's just some people in some areas of the States that just don't know hockey and they don't care.

Do you think it will change in the U.S.?

Cherry: I don't think so. It will be very strong where it's strong. There will be some places where hockey outdraws basketball. But like I said, I can't see people in West Virginia picking up hockey.

So, Edmonton's Ryan Smyth -- best mullet in hockey?

Cherry: Yeah he has, I have to say. I hope the Lord doesn't get mad at me, but when he gets it all fluffed up and they get a nice close-up of him, he looks like Jesus [laughs].

What about Barry Melrose?

Well, Barry slicks it down so much. I don't think Jesus would have all that gel on it.