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Marlies coach Dallas Eakins invites Cherry to stop by for a visit

Wednesday, 10.03.2012 / 4:15 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Marlies coach Dallas Eakins invites Cherry to stop by for a visit

TORONTO - Dallas Eakins is leaving his door open to Don Cherry.

The coach of the Toronto Marlies professed to being a "massive fan" of the colourful "Coach's Corner" host one day after Cherry took some pointed shots at the Leafs organization — and Eakins specifically — over the handling of prospect Nazem Kadri.

Eakins hopes the conversation moves from Twitter, where Cherry aired his concerns, to a more personal setting.

"I invite Don to come down here and sit in my office and hey, let's talk about where we're at with our players," Eakins said Wednesday. "I've never ever seen him at one of our games, I've never ever seen him at a practice and he's never come in and knocked on my door.

"So I invite Don to come on down here — you're more than welcome at any time, you've got a lot of fans here and we'd be honoured to have him."

On Tuesday, Cherry posted multiple messages to his Twitter account questioning why Eakins told reporters last week that Kadri's body fat scores were "unacceptable." Those remarks from the Marlies coach came after the forward spent the summer trying to improve his fitness level.

Cherry cited the comments as further evidence the Leafs were going to "destroy" the seventh overall pick from the 2009 NHL draft.

Eakins took issue with that characterization.

"His comments yesterday, I can shake my head at them," he said. "I know what the truth is, I know what I believe in. Listen, he's a strong-willed guy and I'm sure he believes in everything that he had somebody type for him."

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We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp