OHL all-star rule questioned

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

OWEN SOUND -- The winning continued for the London Knights last night.

Defenceman Danny Syvret was the quickest afoot and defenceman Marc Methot registered the fastest shot during the OHL All-Star Classic skills competition.

But goalie Gerald Coleman, with the best numbers in the league, didn't get an opportunity to strut his stuff.

The all-star game is tonight and the question came up again as to why Coleman wasn't named to the Western Conference team selected by Owen Sound Attack general manager Mike Futa and Plymouth Whalers coach-GM Mike Vellucci.

The Knights have a record eight players here -- forwards Corey Perry, David Bolland, Rob Schremp and Dylan Hunter, defencemen Syvret, Methot and Dan Girardi, and goalie Adam Dennis -- but no Coleman.

"He's a great goalie, and there are some guys who aren't here that should be here and he's part of that category," said Perry, who leads OHL scoring with 86 points.

"For us, he's doing a tremendous job. We can't say enough about him. We know he should be here and that's about all you can say."

Dennis and Ryan Nie of the Whalers are the team's goalies.

OHL criteria must be met. The teams must include any player who was a member of Canada's world junior squad, three over-agers (not including the goalies) and one player from each team.

Nie was the only player nominated by Plymouth.

"As much as it's an honour being involved, when you look back at what you've selected, it's difficult because you feel you've left some kids out," Futa said.

"I certainly feel that way about Gerald Coleman and I feel that way about Patrick Jarrett (of the Attack).

"It's certainly not a process we get involved in to make friends, obviously, but by the same token you like think there's a lot of integrity in it."

Futa said it's time the league looks at the criteria.

"It's certainly not for me to be making the decisions on what we do.

"But having done it last year, you see a year like this and you've got a team that is unique and you know what? It's a shame there are some incredible hockey players who aren't here.

"But that having been said, the process is what it is and once you get through meeting all the criteria there's not a lot of open doors for you."

Another topic yesterday was the NHL season. If it's cancelled, there won't be a draft.

"They have to get squared away with the players who are already there, and we're at the bottom of the list," said Attack forward Bobby Ryan, who missed the All-Star Classic with a shoulder injury.

Ryan, who will return this weekend, is considered a top-five pick for the next draft.

"It's disappointing for us (the class of 2005) because if the draft gets pushed back, we will have to go through another draft year.

"It's nerve-wracking.

"Having to go through it again is something I'm not looking forward to."


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