May 06, 2005

OHL Finals Pre-Game 1 News And Notes

This is it. What we’ve been waiting for. It seems so long since the last hockey game. I have no idea what to expect - obviously rooting for the guys. My advice: Just keep it steady, keep 5-on-5, play responsibly but take offensive chances when provided, and let Danny have his views. And have fun - win or lose we’re all behind you. You’ve beat all the naysayers this year, and you’ve earned this spot. Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy!

A ton of news, increasing in number the further along they get. In both the Ottawa Sun and London Free Press journalists Morris Dalla Costa and Chris Stevenson trade jabs back and forth for ‘their’ teams in corresponding columns. Morris Dalla Costa writes, Knights will deliver capital punishment. And Chris Stevenson writes, 67's are London's worst Knight-mare. Some pretty funny stuff.

In the Ottawa Sun Barre Campbell writes, 67's won't roll over for good Knights. Snippet:

LONDON -- The Ottawa 67's bus rolled down Hwy 401 and exited at Wellington St., on the outskirts of London.

Decorated with the photos of past players like Dan Tessier and Joey Talbot hoisting championship trophies over their heads, the big vehicle pulled onto one of the streets near the team's hotel.

Then "it" happened.

A player looked out the window and observed: "Hey, look at that guy! He just gave us the finger!"

Also, Barre Campbell writes, 'Unreal' experience for Van Herpt. I love these stories. Snippet:

Last September, the 19-year-old defenceman was at home in Kingston, packing his bags, getting ready to leave for southwestern Ontario to play in a Jr. B league after being cut by the Mississauga IceDogs.

But the phone rang and Van Herpt learned that 67's coach and GM Brian Kilrea was interested in acquiring him in a trade. He promised to report, the deal was made, and Van Herpt arrived in time to be on the ice for the team's first game of the season in Sudbury.

"It's been a perfect year for me, a career year," said Van Herpt, who began the year as a stopgap on the blue line because the team was hurting with injuries to Kyle Wharton and Elgin Reid.

And his hard work paid off, with recognition from Killer himself.

But he quickly gained favour with the Ottawa coaches and began taking regular shifts.

"He just came in, worked hard, played well and worked himself into a position where we could use him as one of our (top) four defencemen a lot of nights," said Kilrea.

"He's just a guy that has added to our team. He's tough in our own end and he plays to win."

This was exactly what the coaching staff were longing for during the season – steady, hard workers.

"I never in my wildest dreams thought that I'd be in this position ever," he said. "To be one of the four best teams in the CHL to play in the Memorial Cup, it's just unreal. You couldn't ask for anything more."

We’re cheering you on!

Akeson is still battling the bug – pneumonia – but he plans on being in the line up.

And Killer is going to be one tired guy this w/e. He’s got the OHL finals and the draft on his plate. He’s flying to London for the game tonight, then flying back to Ottawa for the draft tomorrow, and then flying back to London for the game on Sunday.

In the Ottawa Sun Alan Findlay writes, Ottawa, London MPPs trade verbal slapshots. Politicians are getting in on the act now.

In the London Free Press Jim Cressman writes, Media horde to follow Knights, 67's. Lots of media attention.

In the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal Michael Onesi writes, Lawrance elated about OHL final. A nice piece.

The OHL draft is tomorrow, and a ton of drama is swirling.

*Tavares brou-ha-ha. He is young, but he is special. His parents are fully involved. The OHL has fully investigated the matter. (OHL on Tavares here and here.) I think that making decisions based on extraordinary circumstances should be allowed. But, to make the decision three days prior to the draft? It’s not like they haven’t been aware of the situation for some time now. That appears to be the cause of most of the upset with the Couture family . . .

*Couture and his family and the way the media has portrayed them - let’s just say, not positive. A reasonable, well-written rebuttal was an interesting surprise on NOOF today, written by Mr. Couture (dad) [link].

*Cherry scouting for Killer – yikes – noted a few days ago (5.2) in the Ottawa Sun. And now an art in the Toronto Sun by Mike Zeisberger (A Cherry-picker).

*The 67s’ site for the draft [link].

Ottawa could end up with as many as 17 draft picks over the 15 rounds. Ottawa picks 12th in each round, except for Round 5. We also have the 20th pick in Round 3, the 4th pick in Round 11, and the 16th pick in Round 15. Teams are allowed to trade selections (except for first round picks) until Friday, May 6 at 3:00pm.

*The OHL’s site for the draft [link]

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