Knights ready to plug big hole on defence

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:08 AM ET

A 31-game unbeaten streak to start the season apparently hasn't stopped the London Knights from gearing up for the playoffs. It's believed the Knights, who will play host to the Memorial Cup next May, have acquired defenceman Nathan McIver from the St. Michael's Majors for two second-round draft picks and future considerations. An official announcement of the trade could come today.

McIver, the Majors' captain, has one goal, seven assists and 95 penalty minutes in 30 games. Selected by the Vancouver Canucks in 2003, McIver would replace Knights defenceman Frank Rediker, who soon will have knee surgery that is expected to end his season.

The trade could be the first of a few for St. Mike's before the Jan. 10 deadline. The Majors are last in the Eastern Conference with just eight wins in 31 games. Goalie Justin Peters could also be dealt before the deadline.

BULLS WIN TIGHT ONE

Evan Brophey scored 8:15 into the third period last night as the Belleville Bulls beat the Oshawa Generals, 2-1.

Ryan Rorabeck also scored and Kevin Lalande stopped 32 shots in goal for Belleville (16-12-3-2).

Chad Thompson replied for the Generals (10-19-1-0), who got 22 saves from Ryan Gibb.

FILLING HOCKEY VOID

Markus Naslund and Mats Sundin could be back on television in January, even if the rest of the NHL isn't.

With no end in sight for the NHL labour dispute -- especially after the latest round of talks hit a roadblock Tuesday -- Rogers Sportsnet will attempt to fill the hockey void by showing Swedish Elite League games.

The matchups will be tape-delayed and shown in prime time in North America, said David Akande, Sportsnet's vice-president of programming.

Of course, that can all change if the players and owners suddenly reach an agreement and the NHL season returns.

"Anything I say now is subject to change," said Akande. "If there is no NHL play there will probably be 12 games in our schedule. This is not something that is knee-jerk. We didn't think of it two weeks ago. We thought of it long ago in the summer."

Without the pros to fill its schedule, TSN is expanding its coverage of the world junior tournament in Grand Forks, N.D., from Dec. 25 to Jan. 4.

The network will broadcast every Canadian game, including the round-robin and the playoffs, in high definition. It also will show games featuring Russia, the U.S., the Czech Republic and Switzerland.

"The NHL would be going on normally at this time so we wouldn't have this much prime time available that we do this year," said Rick Chisholm, TSN's vice-president of production.


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