Coach’s Corner: Yakupov ‘a little coward’ for hit

Watch Don Cherry give a tip of his hat to the sharply dressed Winnipeg Jets who are also one of the hottest NHL teams in December, Team Canada at the World Juniors and the feisty Johnny Gaudreau.

Edmonton Oilers forward Nail Yakupov didn’t make any new friends when he hit an unsuspecting Kyle Chipchura into the bench during a 5-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes earlier this week.

Don Cherry was especially unimpressed with the hit.

“You never ever hit anybody into the boards like that when you see the door open – then he backs up [during the ensuing scrum] like a little coward,” Cherry said on Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday. “Never when you see that door open – even if it’s your worst enemy – never ever hit him into the door like that.”

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Cherry pointed out that there have been serious injuries over the years when players land hits on unsuspecting players near the benches, specifically referencing when Claude Lemieux broke Kris Draper’s jaw, cheek and orbital bone on a similar hit in 1996.

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