Coleman's stats not enough

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

PETERBOROUGH -- No hard feelings.

That's how London Knights goalie Gerald Coleman looks at creasemate Adam Dennis's selection for the OHL all-star game.

Coleman, who leads the league in every category -- a 1.65 goals-against average, .941 save percentage, 22-1-2 record and four shutouts -- was not on the Western Conference roster named by Owen Sound Attack general manager Mike Futa and Plymouth Whalers coach/GM Mike Vellucci.

Dennis, who came to the Knights Jan. 10 from the Guelph Storm, will be joined by Ryan Nie of the Whalers for Wednesday's all-star game in Owen Sound.

"I'm disappointed," Coleman said before last night's 6-2 loss to the Peterborough Petes. "I have the best stats in the league. It's been a rough year (he was also left off the U.S. world junior team), but I'll bounce through it.

"As long as the team wins the Memorial Cup I'll be happy."

Coleman wishes Dennis well in the game. "Ever since he got here, he's been a good kid. I've hung out with him a couple of times and we've got the same goal."

Dennis, with the third-best stats in the league, said it was an awkward moment when the rosters were announced Tuesday.

"It's a little uncomfortable," he said. "You look at Gerald's numbers and you wonder how he gets left off. But that's a decision neither one of us are in control.

"I think everyone realizes he deserves to be on there. He's had a real successful year and I don't think not being selected to the OHL all-star team is going to take anything away from what he's had so far."

Certain criteria are set up for selection. The rosters must include anyone who played with Canada at the world juniors, two over-agers (not including goalies) and one player from each team.

Knights Corey Perry and Danny Syvret played at the world juniors. Other Knights on the squad are Dylan Hunter, Rob Schremp, Dan Girardi and Marc Methot.

Futa said he initially had Coleman and Dennis on his list, based on the 0-0 tie the Knights and Storm played when London broke the Canadian Hockey League unbeaten mark.

"In our early discussion, I had Coleman and Dennis there before there were any trades," Futa said, saying Dennis was having an all-star season in Guelph, despite the fact the Storm are struggling.

"Ryan Nie was put forth by Mike Vellucci, who felt very strongly about his guy. He said his guy is having an all-star year. He was also the only player Mike named from Plymouth."

That meant Nie had to be on the team. He's seventh in goals-against average, but is a big reason the Whalers lead the West Division.

There are a dozen others who could have or should have been named, Futa said.

Vellucci said Nie's numbers speak for him.

"He's the reason we are where we are," Vellucci said. "It's a very difficult process. There are some limitations. It's not a case against Gerald whatsoever.

"It's who we thought are the best goaltenders in the conference at the time and had helped their teams to get that success.

"Some people have said why so many London Knights, but we could have taken a couple more. Then there's only one Whaler and we're first in our division. We do the best we can and try to be as fair as possible."


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