Perry facing major challenge

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

While his teammates are shooting for an OHL record, London Knights right-winger Corey Perry will be out to prevent history from repeating itself.

Perry, the league's scoring leader, attended the Canadian junior team's summer evaluation camp and yesterday was named to the 22-player OHL roster for the Canada-Russia Challenge.

The six-game series, organized by the Canadian Hockey League, has the Russians play two games against each of the three major junior leagues.

The OHL games are Nov. 25 in Barrie and Nov. 29 in Mississauga.

Besides Perry, Knights forwards Dylan Hunter and David Bolland and defenceman Danny Syvret were picked for the games, along with Sarnia Sting goalie Ryan Munce and Soo Greyhounds forward Jeff Carter of London.

The series is the final opportunity for Hockey Canada chief scout Blair Mackasey to evaluate players before the junior team's selection camp in December.

The last two years OHL scoring leader Corey Locke of the Ottawa 67's did not make the national team's roster.

And from the sound of it, Perry has his work cut out after being a late cut last year.

"He has to prove to (coach) Brent (Sutter) he can play on the top two lines," Mackasey said yesterday. "It think it's that simple."

Perry isn't viewed as a checker, so he would have no place on the third or fourth lines.

He participated in the Canada-Russia Challenge last year, which opened at the John Labatt Centre, but it wasn't much of a test. The Russians won one game and were outscored 30-9.

OHL commissioner David Branch said he knows it will be a challenge to sell another series to fans, but added that the Russians promised to send a more competitive squad.

"We were all disappointed in the level and quality of the Russian team, but they've indicated they'll send a top-quality team," Branch said.

"I know the Russians themselves weren't particularly pleased. They've assured us they would not embarrass themselves and anyone else again."


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