LONDON -- One of the rallying cries for the underdog 67's at the Memorial Cup is proving their naysayers wrong.
It's the us-against-the-world mind-set and it's been used to good effect in the past.
One of the players' targets for a presumed slight has been TSN's Bob McKenzie, the best-informed hockey journalist in the business.
The Ottawa players have mentioned in interviews a couple of times McKenzie predicted they wouldn't win a game at the Memorial Cup.
Players get motivation where ever they can find it, but the only problem here is McKenzie hasn't dissed the 67's.
Not a negative word. Not even a word. Not about the 67's or even the Memorial Cup, for that matter.
"I haven't said one word about the 67's to anybody," said McKenzie last night. "I never said a word on TSN, I haven't said a word on radio and I haven't written anything for the Internet.
"If somebody is saying I said something about the 67's, they have to prove it. I haven't said word one. Somebody should tell them I don't cover junior hockey anymore. I've only been talking about the (NHL) lockout."
After the 67's beat the Kelowna Rockets Sunday night, 67's forward Brad Bonello said: "After hearing Bob McKenzie say we wouldn't win a game at the Memorial Cup, we wanted to stick it to him a bit."
Bonello said last night he hadn't heard McKenzie's comments himself, but that players were talking about them in the dressing room.
"There's no hard feelings toward Bob," said Bonello. "We were just using it as a source of motivation."
HEAR AND THERE: The Hunter brothers have done an outstanding job building the Knights into a heavyweight both on and off the ice. Don't let "the farmers from Petrolia" label fool you. They're pretty sharp guys. They've accumulated 760 hectares of farmland. That might be even more impressive if I knew how much a hectare was. They've also grown the Knights into a thriving business. "We've always been involved in something we know about. We know hockey and we know farming," said Dale Hunter. And that Overdrive blades are dangerous, apparently ... On hand here: Tyler Stewart of the Bare Naked Ladies, playing some charity hockey ... Also making Allison Graham's People at the Memorial Cup column in the London Free Press is Ottawa's own John Stanton. The L.A. Kings scout was spotted out for dinner and is now a bona-fide celeb. Hope he doesn't forget the little people.
REVELATIONS: The 67's were exhausted after winning the longest game in Memorial Cup history Sunday. "I had a bite to eat and I didn't last long. As soon as my head hit my pillow, I was out," said Bonello ... Dale Hunter's bad driving is responsible for Brandon Prust being with the Knights. Hunter drove his golf ball into another fairway being played by Prust's dad, Kevin. The elder Prust introduced himself to Hunter. Prust hadn't been drafted and Hunter understood he was going the U.S. scholarship route. When told by Kevin Prust that might not be the case, Hunter invited him to camp. Prust was cut that first year, but has been there since.
SPECULATIONS: Brian Kilrea didn't use his fourth line in the first OT Sunday, but did put them out there in the second. "It was their speed and freshness that got the penalty that gave us the winning goal," said Kilrea. Kelowna's Blake Comeau was sent off at the 14-minute mark for high-sticking Arron Alphonso and at 15:41, Brad Staubitz ended it.
JUST WONDERING: How much did playing 95 minutes of hockey 22 hours before last night's game affect the Rockets? They scored 39 seconds into the game and had outshot the Knights 7-0 five minutes into the game ... Is there anything sweeter than returning to the scene of one of your greatest victories? Sportsnet's Chris Simpson is back where she was crowned Miss Teen London, probably no more than a couple of years ago, I'd guess.
LEMME SAY THIS ABOUT THAT: When asked to evaluate the play of G Danny Battochio, 67's goaltending coach Tom Dempsey said: "Awesome. Outstanding. He's right on top of his game." Dempsey is hoping Battochio's play on this stage will get him at least a tryout with the pros. "Everything he's got, he deserves, all the rave reviews. I just hope he gets a shot." There has to be an NHL team out there willing to use a pick on Battochio. They've wasted them on much longer shots (remember Craig Hillier?) ... Hey, by the way, the Senators are going to need a goaltender in the near future.
PARTING SHOT: Hey, who's that over at the bar in local watering hole Joe Kool's? It's the mayor of London, Anne Marie DeCicco. "Welcome, welcome," she said when she found out we were from Ottawa. Can't imagine Bob Chiarelli, at, say, Stout Bros., doing the same thing ... You'd think Her Honour could do something about getting a beer after last call, maybe flash her chains of office. They've got to be good for something, huh?