Shaw refuses to be sour

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

Brad Shaw could be sour ... and, to a certain extent, he is.

After losing his post with the introduction of Ted Nolan as coach of the New York Islanders yesterday, Shaw can officially begin looking for work today.

But the former Senators captain will be coaching Sunday night in Kanata as the field boss of the Sour Apples in the Kanata Soccer League.

Made up of 4- to 6-year-olds, the team -- which includes his daughter Caroline -- voted to call itself the Sour Apples because of its green uniforms.

There's a lot less headaches for Shaw as coach of the Sour Apples: The players don't talk back and if they do, his 16-year-old daughter, Taylore, acts as a buffer in her role as assistant coach.

But after 40 games behind an NHL bench, Shaw would like another chance and he's quite willing to return as an assistant. The Islanders had until tomorrow to tell him whether he would be retained. The hiring of Nolan ended his short stay in New York.

"I can't say this is a surprise," Shaw said yesterday from his Kanata home. "I knew as the date to let me know what was going to happen got closer, that it probably wasn't looking good for me to return.

"I knew things were going to change, but the worst part is going to have to start looking for a job again. I'm confident I'll get something, but to have to go through all this again ... it seems like I have to go through this every summer."

When Islanders owner Charles Wang booted Milbury upstairs and sent coach Steve Stirling packing on Jan. 12, Shaw was given an extra year on his deal, a guarantee of the coaching post for 40 games and the opportunity to get the Isles to the playoffs.

"I didn't just jump at it right away when (Milbury) offered the job to me in the interim because I knew it was a big decision. I spoke to some people I usually speak with before I decided to make the move," said Shaw, who compiled a 18-18-4 record in the second half of the 2005-06 season. "We didn't achieve what we wanted to achieve in Long Island, but I feel I'm a better coach as a result."

Many NHL insiders were taken aback by the Isles' decision to bring in former Rangers GM Neil Smith -- to replace Milbury -- and Nolan, who will make his return to the NHL after a nine-year absence.

Smith shouldn't be much of a surprise. He is still a marquee name in New York after leading the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup title in 50 years in 1994. As for Nolan, he has been out of the league since 1997 when he and current Senators GM John Muckler were fired in Buffalo following a power struggle (to put it mildly).

The Islanders need big names like Smith, Nolan and former Islanders great Pat LaFontaine, who was brought in as a senior adviser to Wang.

The club is in danger of falling off the map in New York and the proud tradition of Stanley Cup winners from 1980s has long since disappeared.

But the more things change in Long Island, the more they stay the same.

It was a call from a reporter late Wednesday suggesting that Shaw check out a couple of websites with various reports indicating Smith and Nolan had been hired by the Islanders which let him know the gig was up.

Shaw never received official notice of his dismissal until Milbury called him yesterday morning.

"It was tough. There's no question about it. That's not the way you want it to happen, but I spoke with (Milbury yesterday) and I guess there was just a miscommunication," said Shaw, a former 67's captain.

"It was kind of like the time I sat there in (1992) and watched on television as I found out I had been picked up by the Ottawa Senators in the expansion draft. But I can tell you that this news wasn't nearly as exciting as it was for me back then."

Shaw has no sour grapes about his experience with the Isles.

The good news is the Kanata Sour Apples will have Shaw to kick around this summer.


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