Bowman gives Knights nod

KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

Former NHL coach Scotty Bowman believes the London Knights have the best shot at winning the Memorial Cup.

Bowman, who watched the Rimouski Oceanic practise yesterday at the Western Fair Sports Centre, said that being able to play in the John Labatt Centre and the single round-robin schedule gives the Knights an advantage.

"The tournament format favours the home team. (London) has good support. That's important."

The hall-of-famer expressed amazement that London and Rimouski played 31 and 35 games respectively without a loss this season.

"That's quite a record. It's not easy."

Bowman, who coached the Detroit Red Wings to three Stanley Cups, said he'll watch every game in the tournament and has enjoyed the thrills so far.

"There's so much excitement. There's been a half-dozen miracle saves. It's good hockey. These guys play hard all the time."

Concessions closed early

Most concession stands at the JLC were closed during Sunday's Kelowna-Ottawa game, which went into double overtime with Ottawa winning 3-2.

JLC general manager Brian Ohl said concessions always close down in the third period of the Knights' games, and did so during Sunday's game before some employees "scrambled to open" during OT.

"It's hard to predict that a game will go into overtime," Ohl said.

Branch used to boos

Like most authority figures introduced in an arena setting, Canadian Hockey League commissioner Dave Branch, who also is president of the Ontario Hockey League, gets booed regularly. It doesn't trouble him.

"I remember reading as a kid what Gordie Howe said," he offered. "He simply said, 'They know who you are.' It comes with the territory, almost a psychological thing. But when I walk around London, the people are outstanding."

Getliffe still impresses

Former NHL vice-president Brian O'Neill recalls asking Londoner Ray Getliffe to come out to his Montreal oldtimers team many years ago. "He said he hadn't played in 25 years," O'Neill said of the former Montreal Canadien. "He came out and skated rings around us all."

O'Neill is in town as part of the CHL discipline committee.

Getliffe, 92, recently shot a 93 in golf.

Can't wipe off smile

Knights longtime trainer Don Brankley: "I think it's going to take me a couple of weeks to manage a frown, I've been smiling so much." Brankley has been trainer 35 years and has been beaming since the Knights won the OHL championship.

An overtiring game for coach

"I felt like I'd played the game," assistant coach Jacques Beaulieu said about the Knights' exciting overtime opening game against Rimouski. "That was the most exciting game I was ever involved in."

Taxi, please!

City taxi drivers have been kept busy during the Memorial Cup. Some cabbies have been getting as much as $350 a night during the tournament, compared to an average night of $70 to $80.

Tourney available on HD

This is the seventh year that Rogers Sportsnet is broadcasting the Memorial Cup tournament. It's the first year the games are available in high-definition.

Who is this Ogopogo?

Seems a lot of people are wondering who or what Ogopogo is. The monster on the Kelowna Rockets jersey is said to live in Lake Okanagan, located between Kelowna and Penticton in the Okanagan Valley. It's Canada's equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster.


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