Oceanic give Knights due

ERIC BENDER -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

Sidney Crosby's linemates were incredulous after Sunday's 4-0 smothering by the London Knights.

"I think (a shutout) happened a couple of times this year," said Dany Roussin after the blanket thrown over the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's most potent offensive unit was lifted after the game.

"Tonight the other line against us -- (Brandon) Prust and the other guys -- did a very good job. There were guys in the face. They were fast and they work hard. They are the champions and we lost some juice all tournament."

But losing juice wasn't an excuse used by the Rimouski Oceanic, even though they played the semifinal less than 24 hours earlier. However, the Oceanic have been on the road 12 days since winning their league championship.

"In our league, it was our team that was fast and intense," said captain Marc-Antoine Pouliot. "Our job is to score and we didn't do that tonight.

"All night we had a defenceman in the face and a backchecker all night. (The Knights) are a better defensive team than any in our league. The best team won today."

Pouliot said London started playing the trap early, which was a factor in shutting them down.

"For sure, the Knights are the best team we play yet."

Crosby, Roussin, Pouliot and defencemen Patrick Coulombe and Mario Scalzo Jr. were the dynamic quints all year. In the playoffs, they generated 110 points combined compared to 79 for the rest of the Oceanic players.

Roussin is one player who could return to the Oceanic but only as an over-ager.

"I'll see this summer," he said. "I'll go to Florida (the Panthers) to try out if there is an NHL, or go to the American League."

Three players go over-age and nine others could graduate unless the Oceanic want three of them back as over-agers. This Rimouski team was an old team by junior standards and some rebuilding is in order.

The team has been in Rimouski 10 years, but already has copped a Memorial Cup. That was in 2000 in Halifax with Brad Richards in the lineup. No members remained for this appearance except coach Doris Labonte.

Rimouski ran away with the QMJHL with 45 wins to 38 by Chicoutimi and Quebec this season. Over the years, the franchise has moved from Sherbrooke to St-Jean to Rimouski.

The Oceanic had three players taken in the 2004 NHL draft. Winger Mark Tobin was chosen in the second round by the Tampa Bay Lightning, defenceman Michal Sersen 130th in the fifth round by the Pittsburgh Penguins and winger Eric Neilson was taken 143rd in the fifth round by the Los Angeles Kings.

Earlier picks were Danny Stewart to the Montreal Canadiens, Roussin and Zbynek Hrdel to the Florida Panthers and Pouliot to the Edmonton Oilers.


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