Shannon earns check mark

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

WASHINGTON -- Grapes would be proud.

Ryan Shannon didn't see Part I of Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Movie, but he did steal a scene from the CBC production at Senators practice Monday.

Just like a tormented Cherry racked up his coach, Pat Egan, during an on-ice workout while a defenceman with the Springfield Indians in the 1960s, Shannon plowed into Cory Clouston while on a line rush.

In Shannon's case, the jarring hit was accidental. Supposedly.

"That's what happens when you scratch a guy once, he runs the coach," Clouston joked. "I like that. It was a great hit. I didn't think he would come at me, but he did. Little prick is pretty solid."

The struggling Shannon, who has had a seat in the press box for three of the last four games and will likely wind up with one Tuesday at the Verizon Center, played along when the media converged on him after practice.

"I've been out of the lineup for a couple of days and I just wanted the coach to know that I am ready to battle," he said, straight-faced. "Maybe the best hit of my career. (Clouston) said something on the way down, in the form of expletive. He laughed it out after.

"I think I've got a meeting about going to Binghamton. I've got to go see the GM."

Truth is, others are going to have to come up with means of getting noticed by the coach soon enough.

MICHALEK ON MEND

Clouston said that top-scoring winger Milan Michalek, who has missed the last six games, is progressing nicely from a knee injury that threatened to end his season.

"He's come along really good. Hopefully, he will be able to play in the last 2-3 games. The last 3-4 days, he's responded really well."

The Senators have similar hopes for blueliner Filip Kuba, who has missed 12 of the last 13 games with an injury best described as "middle body."

The return of both would mean making a healthy scratch of two more players who have participated in the current, and very impressive, four-game winning streak.

While the recent surge comes on the heels of a five-game losing skid (which came on the heels of a long winning streak, which came on the heels of another lengthy slump) and has fans wondering if the team's true identity is that of Good Senators or Bad Senators, Bryan Murray said the team's post-break problems were more of a hiccup.

"We had a couple of guys come back and play with not the same energy they had before the break," said Murray. "That's not abnormal. You get off skates for a couple of weeks, you come back and you're getting a little bit healthy, you don't want to be bumped and maybe you don't play quite as hard as you did. Now we've had some real challenges ... and the focus has been there, the attitude has been there, and the work ethic has obviously been there."

DON.BRENNAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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