LONDON -- The status of 67's goalie Danny Battochio is questionable for tonight's key Memorial Cup game against the host Knights after suffering an injury during practice yesterday.
The star netminder left the arena with a bag of ice over his left collarbone after being felled by a Jakub Petruzalek slap shot during the workout.
"We'll just see. We'll take it basically an hour at a time," a sullen Battochio said afterward. "We'll see how it feels. Right now, it's pretty sore."
IN HEAP ON ICE
Petruzalek hit the 19-year-old Battochio in the collarbone with a high shot from the left faceoff circle, near the boards. Battochio crashed to the ice, falling in a heap face-first.
Practice came to a dead stop and the players went silent while goalie coach Tom Dempsey, assistant coach Vince Malette and athletic therapist Brian Patafie came to Battochio's aid.
The goalie stayed on the ice for two minutes before being helped to the dressing room by Patafie.
Petruzalek, meanwhile, hung his head in despair, looking like somebody who'd just run over Brian Kilrea's dog.
"I didn't want to shoot like that to Danny's head or to his shoulder," said Petruzalek, himself recovering from an injury. "We will need him in our next game against London, and I hope he will be okay."
KILLER HOLLERS AT CZECH
Kilrea skated over to Petruzalek and screamed at him before resuming practice without the team's MVP goalie.
What was the mood like on the ice?
"It was like, holy s--t, that's our Crosby," winger Mark Mancari said.
Battochio was treated in the dressing room with ice on the collarbone, beside his left shoulder.
He exited several minutes later, one of the last players to leave the dressing room.
Kilrea said if Battochio can't play tonight, "Then me, Vinny and Bert (assistant coaches Malette and O'Brien) might as well not go, either."
Battochio is the main reason the 67's are in the Memorial Cup.
The Sudbury native's outstanding play throughout the playoffs led the 67's to the OHL final, which they lost in five games to the Knights.
Battochio's value to the team was in full view during its opening game of the Memorial Cup on Sunday when he made 62 saves, many of them outstanding, during a 3-2 double-overtime win over Kelowna.
Many 67's couldn't believe what they were seeing yesterday.
"I was shooting at the other end, and then I heard silence, looked back and saw Danny down. It wasn't something you want to see," said Ottawa captain Will Colbert.
"Things like that happen in practice and it was an accident, but you never want it to happen. Danny's the reason why we're here and we need him in this tournament."
"Danny's a tough kid, and sometimes that stuff happens in practice," said centre Brad Bonello. "But Danny was talking in the room and he's fine."
Petruzalek, meanwhile, said he wasn't sure if he'd be available for tonight's game.
He hurt his left knee during Sunday's game and missed Tuesday night's contest against Rimouski.
"I'm not feeling really good," said Petruzalek. "I can't accelerate very well. I still feel pressure on my knee."
Kilrea said before yesterday's practice that Petruzalek's presence in the lineup was "on the better side of 50-50."