TORONTO - Don Cherry says Brandon Prust got what was coming to him for his comments about referee Brad Watson after Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal. But, Cherry says, that doesn't mean the ref shouldn't shoulder some of the responsibility for the altercation that led to Prust lashing out verbally.
Speaking on his Coaches Corner segment on Wednesday night, Cherry said both Prust and Watson were out of line, and that the whole confrontation could have been avoided if the 20-year NHL referee just skated away.
"I know you're not supposed to say this, Prust was wrong and the referees are gods and the whole thing and everything like that," said Cherry. "If you know the kid is hot stay away from him, don't go into the box and start giving him that in front of 20,000 (fans).
"They were both wrong as far as I'm concerned."
"Brandon Prust, as everybody knows, he was dumb," Cherry added. "He'll say he was dumb, he was dumb when he said it after the whole thing and he deserved the fine. He deserved everything."
Cherry showed a highlight from Tampa Bay's Game 2 victory in Montreal where Watson leaned in to the penalty box where Prust was sitting and after a bit of back-and-forth, handed him a misconduct. The 31-year-old winger called out Watson in the post-game media scrum.
"He's saying something to him, get away," said Cherry. "(Watson) goes in the (penalty box) and everybody's looking at him, now he points at (Prust). What do you think he's going to say back to him like that? Then he gives him a 10-minute misconduct."
Prust originally accused Watson of provoking him and insulting him. The league followed up by handing the London, Ont., native a US$5,000 fine for derogatory public comments. Prust later apologized for his remarks.