OK, so why didn't Don Cherry say it? Saying outrageous stuff is in his job description.
And while Yzerman is certainly one of the greatest ever players and a sure first balllot Hall of Famer, I wouldn't call him the greatest ever. At least not when Mr. Gordon Howe might hear you.
FYI: Cherry is quoted in a book regarding Yzerman's career (which I don't have in front of me right now), saying something to the effect of: "If aliens who didn't know anything about hockey came down from Mars and asked to see the perfect hockey player, I would show them Steve Yzerman".
I'll have to dig that out when I get home tonight to verify this, and I'm not saying that Don Cherry was implying that Yzerman was the best player ever, just that he did make comments regarding his opinion of Stevie on the record which serve to illustrate the overall concensus.
In the context of pure offensive prowess & with all things considered, Yzerman is top 10 material without a doubt. Beyond that, his total contribution to both the Detroit Red Wings & the sport of hockey is matched only by some very slect company throughtout the history of the sport.
The rest of the intangible, immeasureable qualities that defined his career and his character leave absolutely no doubt in my mind as to just who is the best player ever.