Perry, Crosby measure up to hype

KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

Corey Perry and Sidney Crosby lived up to the hype that enveloped them leading up to the Memorial Cup.

Perry was named the most valuable player of the tournament and to the Cup's all-star team last night, while Crosby won the Ed Chynoweth Trophy as the leading scorer with 11 points. He was also named to the all-star team.

Perry said it was playing as a team that won the day.

"It's unbelievable. This team came together and showed why we deserve (the Memorial Cup)."

Joining Crosby and Perry on the tournament's top line was Knight Danny Fritsche, who was also the first star of the championship game. All-star defencemen were Knight Danny Syvret and Rimouski's Mario Scalzo Jr. Adam Dennis was top tournament goalie and third star last night.

Rimouski's Marc-Antoine Pouliot won the George Parsons Trophy as the most sportsmanlike player.

Best performance by fans

The fans who have provided an electric atmosphere all season in the JLC were at their best for the final.

A rousing "Go Knights Go" started before the national anthem was sung by London's Denise Pelley. An hour after the game, "Go Knights Go" was heard again from a strangling fan.

A Welcome to Your Worst Knightmare sign went up when Fritsche scored only 3:45 into the game. Other signs included A Knight in History and Simply the Best.

One fan wearing a green and yellow suit had "Sidney What? Crosby Who?" written on his back. Another sported a green mohawk.

The Hanson brothers, or a reasonable facsimile, were in attendance, brass knuckles and all. They posed for photos with a couple of fans.

The crowd started yelling "We want the cup" with five minutes left in the game.

Pricey tickets

Scalpers were asking as much as $500 a seat for last night's contest.

One ticket seller on the corner of Ridout and King said upper bowl seats were commanding between $200 and $300 each, while a spot in the lower bowl started at $350.

Getting into the beer tent was no easy feat, either. It was estimated about 1,000 were in line about 90 minutes before the game.

So long, it's been swell

Guys who played their final game for the Knights were Brandon Prust, Daniel Girardi and Bryan Rodney.

Ten more are in their graduating year, but three of them can come back as over-agers: Gerald Coleman, Dennis, Fritsche, Drew Larman, Corey Perry, Kelly Thomson, Marc Methot, Frank Rediker, Syvret and Jeff Whitfield.

Rimouski players shy

Before yesterday's game, Sportsnet cameras were allowed into the Knights' dressing room. The broadcasting crew had hoped to go into Rimouski's room as well, but were turned down because the players were dressing.

Keeping it simple works

As the buzzer sounded to give London its first Memorial CupSportsnet play-by-play announcer Peter Loubardias simply said: "London, you've waited 40 years for this."

Computer stolen

Joe Daponte of The Score had his $5,000 computer stolen from the media tent overnight Saturday. Daponte said the computer, tethered to a table, was worth so much because it had a lot of software on it.

Daponte said he left the computer overnight on Thursday and Friday and felt comfortable doing so because security was provided 24-7.

"They don't know how it happened. It's too bad," Daponte said.

Second job for Camp

Shawn Camp's Sarnia Sting didn't get close to the Memorial Cup this year. The Sting had the second-worst record in the OHL and didn't make the playoffs. Camp, the team's head coach, provided play-by-play for The Fan 590 during the semifinal Saturday and yesterday's final.

Final escort

The Knights' bus was escorted to the JLC one final time by two police officers driving motorcycles with Knights' flags attached to their bikes. Rimouski had one police car to escort its bus.

Shanahan faces off

Former Knights captain Brendan Shanahan, along with veteran Roy Sawyer, received a standing ovation as they were introduced as the ceremonial puck-droppers yesterday.

Roses to celebrate

A couple of dozen red roses were on their way to the Knights before the game started. The lady carrying them wouldn't give her name, but said there was one for each player.

Rare book collection

The Knights tournament media guide was a much-sought-after book. The 65-page all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-the-Knights guide was gone by Tuesday from the media tent; journalists were asking for more copies all week and as late as a half-hour after the final game.

Now that's a road trip

One of the longest commutes to the final was made by Billie Harris, who came from Dallas with his wife, Suzette.

"When I learned last year the Memorial Cup would be played in London, I had to be here," the former Beal student said.

Harris, who played hockey for Beal, left for Dallas in 1979 and is employed in the audio-visual industry. His one remaining connection to the Knights is former Knight John Erskine, who plays for the Dallas Stars.

How serious a fan is he? He and his wife attend the Stars' training camp in Vail, Colo., each September.

"I thought I'd be seeing Ottawa in the final," Harris said. "In fact, I got in a discussion with the customs guy about it. We were talking hockey while a lineup of cars grew behind me."


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