Chin up, Kris Russell. Don Cherry has a message for you:
“If Bobby Orr can do it, you can do it.”
Russell, who meant to send the puck into the corner and out of the Oilers’ zone, ended up picking the wrong kind of corner and accidentally tucking the puck behind Edmonton goaltender Laurent Brossoit. The late goal broke a 4-4 tie and would end up winning the game for the Maple Leafs.
“He’s trying to clear it, and I know he felt bad about it, trying to clear it like that,” Cherry said on Saturday.
Criticism of Russell was swift and harsh—Hockey Twitter can be an ugly place at times—while others staunchly defended the hard-working blue liner in what eventually devolved into a referendum of sorts on Russell’s career. The debate reached Oilers head coach Todd McLellan, who chimed in on Saturday to defend his player with some words aimed at the “nerds.”
Cherry took a personal approach with a kind message for Russell:
“I’ve got a little story. No. 4, you notice he’s No. 4,” Cherry began.
“Boston Garden … No. 4, Bobby Orr, the greatest hockey player who ever lived, he went to shoot the puck in the corner just like [Russell], and picked the corner,” Cherry said. “There was deathly silence in the Boston Garden. Deathly. And nobody knew what to do, I didn’t know what to do. And he stood there, and somebody from the gallery goes, ‘Ah, don’t worry, Bobby! Cheevers should’ve had it!’ and everybody laughed.
“So don’t worry,” Cherry concluded. “If Bobby Orr can do it, you can do it.”