Ron and Don: Cherry weighs in on Phaneuf’s hit on Rust

Ron and Don break down the latest around the Stanley Cup Playoffs and sing the praises of Senators defenceman Dion Phaneuf.

One of the big plays from the first period of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators was Dion Phaneuf‘s massive hit on Bryan Rust. Rust left the game but according to Don Cherry, the hit was clean.

“Way to go Dion, nice one,” Cherry said.

Cherry said Phaneuf’s hit reminded him of former New Jersey Devils captain Scott Stevens. Showing highlights from Stevens’ career, Cherry said “he used to do that to everybody.”

But Cherry also pointed out a play that Phaneuf missed a chance to slow up a Penguin, although he criticized the rules more than Phaneuf.

Late in the first period, Penguins’ forward Conor Sheary chipped the puck into the corner. Sheary then chased the puck with Senators’ defenceman Chris Wideman. The two collided, Wideman slid awkwardly into the boards and then had to leave the game, although he did return for the second period.

Cherry said the whole play could have been avoided if Phaneuf had used his stick to slow Sheary down on the forecheck.

“Dion, in the old days… he would have interfered,” Cherry said. “If he doesn’t let him go, he gets a penalty.”

Cherry also had some lessons for young defencemen who want to be better prepared for defending breakaways. Cherry said defencemen should back off of the blue line when their team turns it over in the offensive zone.

Showing a clip of Bobby Ryan‘s overtime goal in Game 1, Cherry pointed out that Penguins defenceman Olli Maatta didn’t backup quick enough when his partner Justin Schultz pressured Ryan. This allowed Ryan to skate past him and breakaway to score the winner.

Cherry pointed to Senators defenceman Marc Methot, who is Erik Karlsson‘s partner, as a player who knows how to defend breakaways and position himself when Karlsson plays aggressive on offence. Showing a clip from Game 2, Cherry said Methot “is always back protecting (Karlsson).

“And that’s why you don’t see many overtime goals against Karlsson. Because he has Methot protecting him.”

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