Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry joined Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the Bruins’ recent moves. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.
Prior to the NHL draft Milan Lucic and 22-year-old defenseman Dougie Hamilton were traded to the Kings and Flames, respectively. The trades caught many by surprise, though the return for both of them gave the Bruins pieces to work with, namely those acquired in the Lucic trade.
The winger was traded to Los Angeles for goaltender Martin Jones, defenseman Colin Miller and the No. 15 overall pick in last Friday’s draft. The B’s were able to flip Jones to the Sharks afterwards for a first-round pick in 2016 and the rights to Miami Redhawks rising senior Sean Kuraly.
“I think what happened is [Lucic] sort of fell out of favor with that  goals [last season],” Cherry said. “You expected more goals from him. I have to admit, he wasn’t Lucic of old last year, but somehow or other, I always think of the Bruins, I think of them as tough and everybody thinks of them as tough.”
“Lucic, I know he had an off-year last year, but he’s [going to] come back with a force,” he added. “When you think of the Bruins, when everybody thinks of the Bruins, they think of Lucic, and then a 22-year-old guy. … You don’t get a 22-year-old stud like that guy and Calgary now has the best defense in the league, there’s no doubt about it.”
Following Hamilton being traded there were reports saying Hamilton was a “loner” and an “uppity kid.” Cherry said that wouldn’t matter to him if he were coaching the Bruins.
“If I had Hamilton, somehow I’d work him in, and that’s the job of the organization,” he said. “When I hear he doesn’t work and he’s a loner, who cares? Look at the way he plays, it’s on the ice. I don’t care if he’s a loner or not. I don’t believe in that stuff.”
The B’s still made moves to adjust for the changes, signing free agent Matt Beleskey on Wednesday for $19 million over five years and trading Reilly Smith and Marc Savard‘s contract for former Boston College standout and Dorchester native Jimmy Hayes of the Panthers.
Cherry said bringing in a guy like Beleskey helps soften the blow of losing Hamilton and Lucic.
“I really like Beleskey,” he said. “He is one of my favorite guys, that was a terrific pickup. He’s in the top five of my heart and soul guys. He’s a Bruin, he was born a Bruin, so that’s good.”
Cherry noted with a bunch of young guys decorating the Bruins’ roster, head coach Claude Julien could be under the microscope depending on how upper management looks at where the team is headed this season.
“If they go along and they have a meeting and say, ‘Look, we know what we’ve done, we’ve got a young core, I know we’re going to struggle for a while. You’re our coach and you’re going to be there until the end,’ that would give him a little, but if they just let him go out there, and I hate to say it, but he’s the guy I think is going to take it in the ear for this,” Cherry said. “And that’s going to be a shame because … when you only miss the playoffs by two points, and you had all those injuries, and he wins Coach of the Year, he doesn’t deserve what he’s going to get, and that’s too bad because I don’t really know him that well, but I know he’s a good coach.”