Ottawa Senators forward Clarke MacArthur has a fan in Don Cherry.
The Coach’s Corner host used part of his segment on Sunday during the first intermission of Toronto’s game against Washington to talk about how impressed he was with MacArthur hours after the 32-year-old scored Ottawa’s series-winning goal against the Boston Bruins.
MacArthur, who scored on a power play 6:30 into overtime to lift the Senators to a 3-2 win in the game and a 4-2 win in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final earlier in the day, played in just eight regular-season games over the last two years because of concussions.
He sat out all but the last four regular-season games this year after suffering his latest concussion in training camp.
“Nobody ever thought he’d come back and look at the way he’s playing now,” Cherry said. “Boy, mom and dad, you must be proud of him. This guy comes back from that hit, that was a major, major concussion. He’s still blocking shots, then we come in today, what he did today.
“Boy that Clarke, I’ll tell you. Talk about guts and not quitting. Way to go.”
The goal was MacArthur’s second of the post-season. He also scored in Game 2, an eventual 5-4 overtime win for Ottawa.
The Senators became the second Canadian team to advance to the second round of this year’s playoffs after the Edmonton Oilers topped San Jose Saturday night to win their series in six games.
The Montreal Canadiens weren’t so lucky, losing in six games to the New York Rangers, also on Saturday.
Cherry offered his explanation for why Montreal wasn’t able to get into the second round.
“Now listen, I don’t want them to get mad at me in Montreal but (the players) are too small,” Cherry said. ”If you have small guys like (Andrew) Shaw who’s feisty, OK. (Brendan) Gallagher, OK, but when you have small guys that don’t score you can’t win — you will not win in the playoffs.”
Cherry compared the current Canadiens with past Edmonton teams and credited Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli with bringing in bigger players.
“They had all those little kids like that and Chiarelli went out and got bigger guys, got (Zack) Kassian and guys like that. You can win with a few small guys, you can win, but they’ve got to score.”
Cherry called goaltender Carey Price “unbelievable” in the series. Captain Max Pacioretty, on the other hand, didn’t get the same praise.
“Your leading goal-scorer didn’t get a goal in the whole playoffs, I mean you’re not going anywhere,” Cherry said.
“And the funny thing is they could have won it. They could have won with that. Anyhow — too small, get bigger guys, good team.”