PITTSBURGH -- Attending the Stanley Cup Final offers some interesting opportunities. Like the chance to interview the one and only Don Cherry at Game 4 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.
Interestingly enough, Don Cherry mentioned my conversation with him on the post game show on CBC (check it out at the 2:05 mark). Cherry said: "Just outside the door, don't ask me, they ask me in the second period who do I think will be the MVP. I said, I am going to tell you. If they win, the way Malkin is going, he is going to get the MVP. And he will. And he is playing like a good Canadian boy."
Here's my chat with Grapes during the second period, which will appear in Russia in Sovetsky Sport -- including a little talk about his favorite player, Alex Ovechkin.
Q. Judging from what you have seen so far in the finals, is there a player who deserves the Conn Smythe trophy more than Evgeni Malkin?
CHERRY: The way he is going... You have to win [the Stanley Cup] to win the Conn Smythe. But the way he is going, on Pittsburgh he is the MVP. That's for sure. As we are speaking right now, as you are taping it right now, he just set up Crosby for the go ahead goal. So, it's ironic that I come out and talk to you now. If Pittsburgh wins, I am sure he will be the MVP. IF he keeps going the same way.
Is this series worthy of the Final? Or has it lost something because it's the repeat of last year's Final?
Oh, no. In fact, the last finals [when the same two teams played in back to back years] was my Boston Bruins against Montreal. They are just the two best teams. As we are speaking now, you can hear the crowd going nuts. Every game has been a nail biter, right down to the wire. It has been a great Final.
Do you think it will be good for the league if it goes to seven games?
Yeah, they are always good for the game if they are going seven games. You know, a blowout or something like this, it's a killer for the league and everybody. It looks like it will go seven games, as we speak.
Do you think Detroit is missing Datsyuk?
Yeah, Datsyuk... I don't understand. He skated today, this morning, and then he went in and when he tried to come back, I knew he wasn't going to skate. But they have to get Datsyuk in there. He is... He is the MVP of the season. So, I am sure he will be in the next game.
Do you think Datsyuk will be able to shut down Malkin? Because Malkin looks unstoppable right now.
Malkin is a big guy, and Datsyuk is not that big. And it doesn't look that if you'd put anybody on him now they could shut him down. Because he is so big and he's got that big reach, as you saw. And I am going to feature him after the game that on the point, how he is covering the point, which is good, and got the puck over to Crosby.
If Datsyuk comes back, who do you think will win this battle of the two Hart Trophy finalists?
I don't know about that. I'd have to see. I don't know how good Datsyuk is, even if he is going to come back. Because he must be hurting pretty bad not to be in it tonight.
What do you think about Alexander Ovechkin missing out on this? He is still fourth in points even though he hasn't played in a few weeks now.
Well, that's too bad. It's all we need as a little icing on the cake. Because he is one of the most exciting players in the League.