Business as usual

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:48 AM ET

For much of his young life Daren Machesney has motivated himself with the thought of playing in the NHL one day.

But although there is uncertainty surrounding the 2005 NHL entry draft because of the present lack of a collective bargaining agreement, the Brampton Battalion netminder said he'll simply put all of his energy into performing as well as he has in the first two months of the Ontario Hockey League season.

"It would be disappointing (if the CBA issue is not resolved and the draft is delayed or wiped out)," Machesney said.

"I have to play like it's any other year and there is a draft. Everybody is treating it like there will be a draft. I don't think (NHL) teams have been firing all of their scouts."

Machesney is rated No. 1 among OHL goalies by NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary rankings for the draft, scheduled for June 25-26 in Ottawa. The top-ranked OHL skater is left winger Benoit Pouliot of the Sudbury Wolves.

Rimouski Oceanic centre Sidney Crosby, the runaway choice to be the first pick overall, is the top-rated skater in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League; centre Gilbert Brule of the Vancouver Giants is the No. 1 skater in the Western Hockey League.

In a meeting with The Toronto Sun yesterday, NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly was asked about the status of the draft.

"I don't think it would be our intention, I'm fairly certain, to have a draft until we have a new collective bargaining agreement," Daly said. "I would be surprised if we just adopted the same draft order we had last year (in the event of a cancelled 2004-05 regular season). We would probably have some sort of expanded lottery mechanism."

BRIEFLY

The Kitchener Rangers acquired goalie Dan Turple and a fifth-round pick in 2005 from the Oshawa Generals for goalie Carlo DiRienzo and defenceman Devereaux Heshmatpour ... The roster for Ontario's under-17 team, for the 2005 World Hockey Challenge Dec. 29-Jan. 4 in Lethbridge, Alta., will be announced today.


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