Coach’s Corner: Byron incident wouldn’t happen if Canadiens had enforcer

Ron and Don discuss the NHL playoff format and players needing to stand up for their teammates.

There are some things within hockey that will never change. Some are more obvious like rules such as offside and icing calls, and some are far less tangible, like the mysterious hockey code.

Don Cherry is among the many believers in these unwritten rules of hockey, especially when it comes to enforcers’ roles within the game.

As such, during his Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday, he blamed the Montreal Canadiens for not having a big fighter on the roster to protect Paul Byron.

During a Tuesday contest between the Canadiens and Florida Panthers, MacKenzie Weegar and Byron ended up squaring off, presumably as a means to get back at Byron who earlier in the season driled him with a check to the head.

The fight ended with a scary scene of Byron crumpling to the ice and suffering a concussion.

Cherry believes this all could’ve been prevented had Montreal had a player like the Washington CapitalsTom Wilson.

“Now what would’ve happened right there if Wilson had been on the ice? If a tough guy had been on the ice he would’ve stepped in,” argued Cherry. “That’s why they gave Wilson a [six-year] contract. He knows he’s gotta protect guys like Byron. Someone should’ve stepped in there and stopped Byron from fighting because he’s not a fighter.

“I know it’s hard for people [to understand]. It’s a code and he had to do it.”

The Byron-Weegar incident re-sparked some debate about the need for fighting within the game this week and whether Weegar going after Byron was necessary, even if such an action falls in line with “the code.”

According to Cherry, however, the code is what it is, and it’s never going away.

“I know you people put down the code, but it’s a code and it’ll always be there.”

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