Crosby is rough 'n ready

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- Sidney Crosby fully expects to have to bust through a battalion of Ottawa 67's to get to the net tonight but he doesn't seem to have much of a problem with that.

"They're going to play physical and they should," Crosby said. "There is no tomorrow for both teams. I expect (to be the centre of the 67's attention), but it is my job to fight through it."

The Oceanic, which beat Ottawa 4-3 in a round-robin game here at the 2005 Memorial Cup, and the 67's meet in the tournament semi-final. The winner will advance to the final against the well-rested London Knights tomorrow afternoon.

You have to start wondering how badly the 67's want to win this thing with the way they are treating their star goalie, Danny Battochio. Just two days after he was hit on the left collarbone during practice and had to leave, Battochio yesterday took a shot off the throat from teammate Jamie VanderVeeken. Battochio is the main reason the 67's are participating in the Cup and he was forced to stop practising again, resulting in a rather exasperated coach in Brian Kilrea.

"We have a lunkhead we told before practice: 'If you shoot high, get off the ice,' " Kilrea said. "Obviously, he was just testing me. VanderVeeken? If I said what I wanted to say, I would be hung. We'll pass on that, thanks."

Kilrea said Battochio went to get examined by doctors as a precaution, but expected him to play tonight. If he can't go, which would be a major blow to Ottawa's chances of winning, Anthony Guadagnolo will start.

Crosby, whose name has been used in the same breath as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Eric Lindros at times, is in his last weekend of major junior hockey and the 67's have no plans to let him get comfortable. Ottawa severely punished Crosby in the game between the two clubs on Tuesday night, but he managed to record a goal and an assist.

But while the 67's are worrying about containing the line of Crosby, Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Dany Roussin, they have to consider themselves. Oceanic goalie Cedrick Desjardins has been hot at the tournament, bailing out the non-existent Rimouski defence numerous times, but the 67's need more production from guns such as Mark Mancari, Chris Hulit and Brad Bonello.

"We are not putting enough pressure on the opposition and we are not staying in their end long enough to give our defencemen a chance to get breathers," Kilrea said. "I'm not using names, but we have some forwards who are not hitting and they're not playing as well as they can or should."


Videos

Photos