Don "Grapes" Cherry, the Hockey Night in Canada icon and former Boston Bruins head coach, was at TD Garden on Thursday night to drop the ceremonial first puck and serve as a special intermission analyst for NESN.
Cherry wasn't wearing his famous Bruins tie and attire, instead opting for his (slightly) more traditional red plaid suit. But Cherry still has no problem admitting his longtime love and affection for the Black and Gold, even when they're playing against his second favorite team, the Maple Leafs.
"I cheer for the Bruins first and Toronto second, there's no doubt about that," said the man that all of Canada stops to watch during the first intermission of each Hockey Night in Canada broadcast every Saturday. "I was going to wear my Bruin tie with Blue [Cherry's beloved old bull terrier] painted on it, but I think that's a little too much. They'll think I'm going senile or something like that."
Cherry coached the Bruins from 1974-79, winning the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year in 1976, and obviously still has plenty of affection for both the team and the city of Boston. He is saddened, though, to see the team he loves struggle and lose so much on home ice.
"There's no question about where my heart is. It hurts me to see them losing. … But [they're still drawing] pretty good crowds, they're still packing them in. When you lose at home and you can pack them in, it's a pretty good franchise," he said.
When asked about the Bruins not coming away with a scoring forward at the deadline, Cherry pointed out that Boston will now be in great shape at the NHL entry draft in June.
"I'll tell you, you know if the Leafs keep losing and [the Bruins] got that pick, and they can get Taylor Hall, no one will be complaining," Cherry said, referring to the expected first overall pick, who currently plays for the Windsor Spitfires. "I watch him play and he's the real deal."