Methot seizing the opportunity

JON COOK -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 12:54 PM ET

LONDON -- Throughout their magical run the London Knights have relied on Marc Methot's imposing 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame to defend leads, not supply them. Yet so far at this year's Memorial Cup the big blueliner has shown a remarkably deft touch around the opposing net.

The Knight's defenceman scored the first goal of the tournament and the overtime winner in London's 4-3 victory over Sidney Crosby's Rimouski Oceanic last Saturday and added a pair of assists in wins against Kelowna and Ottawa.

To put Methot's outburst in perspective, the burly defenceman has amassed just 42 points in 198 regular season OHL games, while piling up 200 penalty minutes. His 16 points in 67 games this year, including four goals, were career highs. Methot was also a plus-73 over a combined 85 regular season and playoff games.

Methot sloughed off his new offensive prowess as luck, but the Ottawa native admitted he has been trying to change his previously one-dimensional game.

"I'm gaining a little more confidence now in the offensive zone," said Methot, whose four points puts him second among defencemen at the tournament. It's also one more than he managed through 18 OHL playoff games. "It's that kind of hockey right now where everybody has got to contribute and I'm just jumping up in the play whenever I have a chance."

While conseeding that Methot possesses the hardest shot on the team, Knights head coach Dale Hunter is unlikely to reconsider his power play combinations.

"We have our power play pretty much set and Marc knows it," smiled Hunter, unphased by Methot's scoring surge. "He kills penalties and he's a defensive defenceman."

It's hard to argue with a coach who guided his team to the best-ever regular season in CHL history at 59-7-2, but surely Methot's fine play merits a bit of power-play time.

For his part Methot is not asking, but there is no denying the 19-year-old is enjoying his new role as a scorer.

"It's hard to score when you're not on the powerplay," he said, quickly adding: "I got a little lucky and I got a few goals at the Memorial Cup. It's weird how it works, but playoff hockey is a little bit different. Sometimes it gets a little more wide open and I think one of the grinders can come out and finally get some glory."

Like most players, Methot is looking for a strong Memorial Cup as the bridge to a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2003 NHL Draft.

"If winning isn't, moving on to the next level is," Methot said regarding his motivation at the tournament. "No matter what happens there's always a lot of motivation: playing for the scouts; playing for your family; obviously playing for your teammates, but that definitely helps."

Before the NHL season was cancelled due to the lockout, Methot participated at the Jackets' rookie camp last Fall and felt he impressed some folks.

"It went really great and I was really happy. I was top of the charts in all the fitness testing and stuff and I'm looking forward to going again next September, depending on what happens on whether they sign me or not."

That decision will ultimately be made by Jackets' general manager Doug MacLean, who has been in town all week and personally witnessed Methot's big game against Rimouski.

Now Methot will get another crack at Rimouski in this afternoon's final. "I'm looking forward to playing against them. With a guy like Crosby leading them the whole way, it would be disappointing if they didn't make it."


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