Whining Knights on edge

67s goalie Danny Battochio removes his skates following a practice Monday at the Civic Centre in...

67s goalie Danny Battochio removes his skates following a practice Monday at the Civic Centre in Ottawa. (Ottawa Sun/Jason Ransom)

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

The London Knights are looking for every edge they can get to beat the 67's in the Ontario Hockey League championship.

Including the edge on Danny Battochio's goalie skates.

The league contacted the 67's yesterday and ordered the removal of a so-called Overdrive blade from Battochio's skates, equipment the Ottawa goalie has used for seven years.

The 67's say the order came after a member of the Knights' training staff noticed an Ottawa counterpart making repairs to Battochio's skates before the second game of the OHL final on Sunday in London.

Then the Knights, the 67's maintain, complained to the league.

Ted Baker, the league's director of hockey operations and its referee-in-chief, phoned the 67's yesterday morning to order the removal of the illegal equipment.

Battochio arrived for practice in the afternoon and was surprised to learn of the adjustments.

"It's not going to affect me at all," he said.

Overdrive blades, used by a handful of goalies in the OHL but many more in recreational hockey, are small pieces of steel that are attached to the bottom of each skate boot, below the inner forefoot.

Each one acts as a backup blade and provides improved traction and mobility for goalies as their regular skate blades run parallel to the ice.

Butterfly-style goalies are especially partial to the blades because the small piece of steel allows them to push off the ice from their knees.

This improves lateral movement, and also helps a goalie snap back to an upright position, even when the regular blade is not in contact with the ice.

Other goalies claim the blades prevent groin injuries because the extra steel provides improved traction and prevents a skate from sliding out quickly.

The NHL banned the equipment in 2001 because goalies using the blades were seen to have an advantage over those not using them.

Former Senators goalie Patrick Lalime and Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo used the Overdrive blades.

Most amateur leagues, including the OHL, followed the NHL's lead.

Battochio said his Overdrive blades had become loose and needed to be tightened prior to Sunday's game in London.

"Pucks hit them, and stuff," he said. "I guess (the Knights) filed a complaint."

Battochio added that he had the blades tightened against every other opponent during the playoffs -- Barrie, Sudbury and Peterborough -- but no complaints came from the other teams.

Battochio spent part of yesterday's practice at the Civic Centre working with goalie coach Tom Dempsey and trying to get accustomed to using the adjusted equipment.

"I'm just getting used to it without them," said Battochio while shrugging his shoulders.

"It feels normal. It doesn't matter to me."


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