Crosby could use a hood

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

LONDON -- Even Wayne Gretzky winced. The Great One, who knows what it's like to be a target, couldn't believe the amount of abuse Sidney Crosby has had to put up with at this Memorial Cup.

Unlike Gretzky, Oceanic star doesn't have a Semenko or McSorley to protect him from abuse.

"(Gretzky) told me Sidney was roughed up more in the game against the 67's Tuesday than he was in the last 10 or 12 years of his career," said Pat Brisson, Crosby's agent, before the 67's-London Knights game last night.

It's a good bet Crosby can expect more of the same treatment tomorrow when the 67's and Crosby's Rimouski Oceanic hook up in the semi-final with the winner going on to face the Knights on Sunday afternoon.

Gretzky, of course, had big Dave Semenko riding shotgun for him during his time in Edmonton and Marty McSorley followed him to Los Angeles.

Crosby has Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Dany Roussin, two skilled guys, skating with him.

"When (Crosby) took the double cross-check (from Mike Card of the Kelowna Rockets), I thought about Semenko," said Brisson.

Crosby is sporting what looks like a blue bruise on his lower lip.

He took a stick in the chin from Ottawa's Will Colbert in the Oceanic's 4-3 win Tuesday night and Ottawa defenceman Brad Staubitz just missed connecting with a big hit.

In the latter part of his career, Gretzky commanded respect. He also rarely put himself in a position to be hit.

Crosby plays hellbent and gives almost as good as he takes.

HEAR AND THERE: 67's coach and GM Brian Kilrea, sitting next to Knights coach Dale Hunter in the post-game press conference, was asked after the game what he thought about his team's situation. "I'd rather be in Dale's boots," said Kilrea, "sitting back and drinking an Ex in the Labatt Centre."... Former G Pat Riggin, who was picked up for the 1977 Memorial Cup by the 67's from the Knights, now works at Forest City National, one of many fine golfing establishments in this city (honestly, there are a bunch of outstanding courses here, reasonably priced). Riggin arranged for some members of the Ottawa group to play...Riggin, who's part of the greenskeeping crew, encountered the group on the course. "That was some run (in '77), huh?" he was asked. "Yeah, until the last game," he said. "Usually it took two years for the other teams to figure out to shoot five-hole."

REVELATIONS: The struggles for Ottawa D Derek Joslin continued last night (he had a puck bounce by him for a London break during an Ottawa power play), but the kid's showing some guts because he looks like he's playing hurt ... Spotted in the lobby of the JLC last night before the game: Rimouski coach Doris Labonte, clad head-to-toe in denim and wearing dark, wraparound shades. He's like the Don Matthews of the CHL ... Funniest moment in the game: After London's David Bolland went down from a high stick, Ottawa's Brad Bonello feigned shooting him with his stick as he passed the 67's bench, then threw his gloves off and slumped over. The message: Nice dive.

SPECULATIONS: Maybe it's just the conspiracy theorist in me, but G Danny Battochio's glove didn't look so quick on Daniel Girardi's wrister to the top corner. Battochio got hit in that shoulder in practice, but said after the game it was not a factor. "I lost sight of it at the last second," he said ... Some people paid up to $400 for a pair of tickets for seats to last night's game. 67's Chris Hulit, Julian Talbot and Staubitz didn't have to pay anything to stand around and watch Dylan Hunter score in the second ... Okay, Battochio's glove looked just fine when he robbed Robbie Schremp in the second -- twice -- and robbed Corey Perry in the third.

JUST WONDERING: The rumour that keeps coming up here is Knights coach Hunter is bound for the Washington Capitals as coach. From first to worst, maybe? ... The 67's first goal was announced as scored by Will Colbert, then changed to Hulit, one of many changes that have happened here. Where did they get the off-ice officials here? From the State of Florida? ... How did referee Mark Hicks make it to the Memorial Cup? He's simply too inconsistent to be in charge of a big game and isn't it funny how many of his games degenerate into cheapshots and stickwork? ... And oh, yeah, how does a spear to Brodie Beard's gonads wind up as "interference?" Only if Hicks interpreted that as interfering with Beard's potential fatherhood.

LET ME SAY THIS ABOUT THAT: There aren't many sure bets, but Ottawa's Lukas Kaspar hitting the glass with at least one shot during the power play is closing in on death and taxes.

PARTING SHOT: When asked after the game if the 67's had an advantage after facing Rimouski in the round-robin, Kilrea replied: "Put it this way, if they were watching us (last night), they'd have the advantage."


Photos