The Toronto Maple Leafs deserved to be called out by their goaltender, according to Don Cherry.
The broadcaster relayed his support for Frederik Andersen on Saturday night, just days after the netminder’s eye-raising comments.
“He said what had to be said,” Cherry remarked during Saturday night’s Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Day in Canada. “If nobody else was saying it, he said it and I don’t blame him. I’ve been waiting for somebody to say something like that. Call them out, get the guys out there.
“I don’t blame Andersen at all.”
Andersen entered Saturday having faced 1,340 shots — the most in the NHL. He voiced his frustration following Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; Toronto held a 2-0 lead through two periods, but collapsed to drop its fourth straight game.
“We’ve got to figure out who wants to commit to playing for the team,” Andersen, 28, told reporters. “We have to come with a different attitude. We played well enough for two periods and we’ve got to find a way to keep the foot on the gas the whole game.
“We’ve got to look at each other in the eyes here and determine where we want to go from here. I don’t think we’re tired; I think it’s lack of effort at certain points and that’s something that can’t happen. We’ve got to figure this out if we want to play any meaningful hockey later.
“We’re sitting pretty good, but there can’t be any reason for not playing the right way.”
The Leafs entered Saturday sitting third in the Atlantic Division with 55 points.
On Friday, Toronto forward Auston Matthews said he agreed with Andersen’s assessment.
“He doesn’t say much, but when he says something, people listen up,” Matthews said. “He’s absolutely within his right to be upset because we’ve left him out to dry too many times over this course of games.
“We have his back. We need to be better for one another, and we need to be better for him.”