Grapes far from vintage

EARL MCRAE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

Boot stompings from The Four-Eyed Lippy Little Shin Kicker.

DONALD LA CERISE. Don Cherry to you anglos. What is happening with La Cerise? Have you noticed it, too? Where's the old La Cerise acerbic bombast?

Let other aging bad boys mellow like fine wine, but not La Cerise. Sadly, he's going from sour Grapes to fine Beaujolais, and that won't do. We watch Cherry to see him throw knives, not timidly sheath them. His criticisms are fewer and fewer and soft-edged. As though he's afraid to offend.

The La Cerise admired and respected by the Shin Kicker was never afraid to kick butts that needed kicking. If the officiating stunk, he'd say so and name the ones stinking. Same with players. La Cerise's clothes are as loud as ever, but not La Cerise. A national tragedy. What is it that's neutering La Cerise -- the natural human aging process? A new, dumb edict from his CBC masters, this time warning him not to get too mouthy or else? In Coach's Corner, the Shin Kicker wants to see and hear Don Cherry. Not Don Cherie.

NOT EVERYBODY LOVES RON? As far as I know, Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza do not -- repeat, do NOT -- have their own personal head coaches over and above Bryan Murray. The Sens have a goaltending coach. His name is Ron Low. He played 12 years in the NHL for six teams.

Presumably he's on staff as the goaltending coach to coach the Sens' goalies, one of whom is Everybody Loves Raymond whose personal goaltending coach is not Ron Low, paid to coach the Sens goaltenders, but one Eli Wilson, who has not played 12 years in the NHL, or 12 minutes in the NHL, or 12 seconds in the NHL, but runs a goaltending school in Alberta.

Eli Wilson, not to be confused with the evangelist of the same name, might be a fine goaltending coach, but what is Ron Low, Official Sens Goaltending Coach -- chopped liver? Does the snub not bother Ron Low?

RUMOUR. Any truth to the rumour John Muckler has contacted those Turkish legislators who got into the big physical dustup this week asking them to teach the Sens how to take the body? Judging from the photo in the Sun, the Turks definitely have the right stuff.

EXCUSES. The Sens are down two-zilch to the Ducks. First it was because of the "long layoff." Then it's the Ducks are "clutching and grabbing" and the refs are doing nothing about it. Then it's the ice in Anaheim is lousy. Then it's Giguere's goalie equipment is too big.

NEW SENS EXCUSES ON HOLD. The Ottawa fans were too loud, couldn't concentrate. The Ducks are bigger than we are, it's not fair. The Ducks have bigger, bushier beards than we have, they scare you with them. The Ducks get to stay in nice hotel rooms away from their nagging wives and girlfriends, not us.

SENS TALK (1). "We need to do this against them, we're not doing it. We need to do that against them, we're not doing it. We can do it. We've just got to get back to doing it. There's no excuse for us not doing it." Yeah, there is. The Ducks ain't letting them do it. The Ducks are the superior team.

SENS TALK (2). "We're still in it. We lost by only a goal Wednesday night, remember." The Shin Kicker remembers. He remembers that had it not been for Everybody Loves Raymond in net, they'd have lost by 10 goals.


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