Don Cherry is missing his Saturday night visits into homes across Canada.
His trademark rants and loud suits are silent, adding to hockey withdrawal everywhere.
"I'd do Coach's Corner for nothing -- I love it so much and miss it," says Cherry.
With the NHL lockout breaking hearts everywhere, although "there's light at the end of the tunnel," the in-your-face sports icon is getting his hockey fix by joining his son on scouting missions for the Ontario Hockey League.
He's also busy taping his radio show, Grapevine, for the Fan 590, colourful short syndicated segments heard by a million listeners.
Time off from Hockey Night in Canada includes keeping up his daily workouts. "I'm just trying to stay even."
He exercises about a half hour a day and hits the heat daily. "I'm a sauna addict -- I love beer and you gotta get that liquid out of you. Then you can drink more beer."
Cherry's got a bare-bones workout area set up in his furnace room, complete with step machine, an old rowing machine and light weights.
Along with exercise, Cherry says his best defence against getting sick is Cold FX. A pitchman for the product, he swears it keeps him from sneezing and wheezing year round. "I used to get bronchitis and catch colds every month -- I thought I was gonna die."
He pops two a day and "when I feel a cold coming on, I take about eight a day, just like the players."
The provocative ex-player and coach also eats like the hockey players do -- "two meals a day, breakfast and a big lunch. When I was a hockey player, that's the way we did it -- steak at lunch and play at night; no dinner," says Cherry.
"When I do Coach's Corner, I never go on TV with a full stomach -- it'll make you sleepy."
What won't make you sleepy are Cherry's spirited rants along with his flamboyant wardrobe. He's having five new suits custom made at The Coop on Yonge Street. "I pay for all my shirts, ties and suits. I buy the material -- probably all curtain material -- from Fabricland. I have a membership card there and all the ladies there know me."
Cherry gets a big kick out of wearing them -- "they're a lot like costumes and I think people get a big kick out of them too, especially the kids."
Four crammed racks of suits -- at least 50 of them -- fill a spare bedroom in his Mississauga home, along with dozens of shirts and ties. He's already got a new suit ready for his first Coach's Corner appearance of the season -- a brand new grey suit with a black and white pinstripe. "It's a lot more exciting than it sounds."
Cherry attributes his Hockey Night in Canada success to keeping things short, and talking to the average guy.
And he insists on living like just a regular guy. "My house is small, nothing elaborate, that's for sure. When the kids come here for Halloween, they say disbelieving, 'Don Cherry, you live in this little house?'"
He loves his middle-class Mississauga home, where he's content to watch sports nestled in his well-loved 48-year-old chair. "Across from me I have my goldfish in a beautiful 100-gallon tank, with a 52-inch screen TV right beside it to watch baseball and hockey."
Well, not NHL hockey. But the doom and gloom may be clearing -- Cherry predicts the sides will settle before this month's end.
"Both sides are sick and tired of losing money!"