Playing mind games

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

Well, it didn't take long for the OHL final to veer into the ridiculous lane. Skategate did it.

London Knights coach Dale Hunter ratted out 67's goaltender Danny Battochio and his "Overdrive" skate blades to the OHL because, in Hunter's opinion, the blades caused a safety threat.

Good one.

If Hunter's not doing anything tonight while he's hanging around for Game 4, maybe there's an opening for him at Yuk Yuk's.

The only safety threat the Overdrive blades posed was to the Knights' chances of winning this series, but hey, if there's a chance to throw the hottest goalie in the league off his game, why not go for it?

From now on, a "Hunter" will refer to the coach of an overwhelming favourite playing petty mind games at the first sign of trouble ... and making up a bogus story about "safety" nobody believes.

OKAYED BY HOCKEY CANADA

Something interesting to note: The issue of safety and the Overdrive blades came up at Hockey Canada. The folks in charge there saw no problem with them and allowed their use. Kids are using them. If the Overdrive blades are so dangerous, why does Hockey Canada allow them to be used?

Hunter should have just said it the way it is: He saw a chance to maybe take an advantage away from an opposing player.

HEAR AND THERE: Speaking of threats to safety, Knights forward Josh Beaulieu, whacked for five games for cross-checking Kitchener's Kevin Henderson in the back of the head, was back in the lineup last night ... The Knights have a tough time throwing any respect the 67's way. "We didn't play our best," said Knights forward David Bolland after last night's game. "We got caught up in the penalties and the refs. We've got to go out and play the way the Knights can play. It was just one of those days." The 67's might have had just a little something to do with the Knights having their hands full, don't you think?

REVELATIONS: I'm not saying it was hot in the Civic Centre last night, but the palm trees on one of the Zambonis (part of an ad for a travel agency) looked real ... In town now after the Binghamton Senators were eliminated from the AHL playoffs is Jason Spezza. He visited with brother Matthew, the 67's third goaltender, at practice Monday. Jason said he's going to spend the summer back home in Toronto ... Also in the building last night: Senators winger Martin Havlat.

SPECULATIONS: Five goals in the first period last night. That's a week's worth for the Senators and Devils in May ... There's not much prettier than the way the Knights move the puck on the power play. Okay, the Desperate Housewives are prettier, but the Knights complete more passes in two minutes ... The Knights have what Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Craig Ramsay likes to refer to as "heavy sticks." You don't see too many of them lose a duel for the puck.

JUST WONDERING: You wonder why Corey Perry is the leading scorer in the OHL? Roll the tape of the Knights' second goal. Shot. Save. Rebound. Spinaround. Kick to stick. Goal. Nice. Very nice ... Why would a team as skilled and gifted as the Knights play the trap, ever? Use that wonderful speed to keep moving forward.

THE BUZZ: 67's stalwart statsman Gord "Tank" Hetherington, a proud veteran, was honoured before the game with other veterans as they took part in the official faceoff. He was impressed with what he saw at the opening of the new War Museum Sunday, but didn't get a chance to look around much. "It'll take three days to see it all," said Hetherington, who's going to be busy for a little while yet ... You can excuse one pass all the way from the corner to the opposite point on the power play. But not the return pass on the same route which is what the 67's allowed the Knights to do on their third goal.


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