Ron & Don: Senators’ Matt Duchene ‘was in a nightmare’

This week on Coach's Corner Don Cherry and Ron MacLean discuss all the major news and notes from around the NHL.

When the Colorado Avalanche traded Matt Duchene to the Ottawa Senators last fall, you could almost hear the collective exhale around the league.

Finally, a fresh start for the forward after more than a year of ongoing trade rumours. It looked like a perfect fit for the Canadian kid, headed to Canada’s capital to play for a strong Senators team with its sights set on another deep post-season run.

Only, it hasn’t exactly panned out like many had thought. Duchene’s slow start, stats-wise, was only compounded by a series of losses, injuries, trades, and turmoil on his new team. Meanwhile, the forward he replaced, Kyle Turris, was lighting up the scoresheet with the playoff-bound Nashville Predators.

Don Cherry says Duchene was living a nightmare.

“Matt Duchene, everybody made fun of him with the trade … everybody laughing at him. He was in a nightmare,” Cherry said Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada.

There are still plenty of questions surrounding the Senators, but Duchene’s talent and place on the roster isn’t one of them. The 27-year-old has 10 goals and a dozen assists for 22 points in his past 21 games, and entered Saturday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets riding a three-game, multi-point streak. He’s no longer making headlines — instead, he’s all over the highlight reels.

“I’m glad for Duchene,” said Cherry, who coached the forward in the annual top prospects game back in 2009. “He’s a good kid. It was like he was in a nightmare when he first came [to Ottawa] because Turris was doing so good. I’m glad to see the kid’s doing good.”

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