67's a Spezz dispenser

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

SUDBURY -- The City of Ottawa is down to one hockey-playing Spezza brother.

Brian Kilrea, coach and GM of the 67's, dropped goalie Matthew Spezza, younger sibling of Senators' sniper Jason, because he didn't want to keep three netminders on the team this early in the season.

"It's not healthy to keep three," said Kilrea. "Somebody is always looking over his shoulder."

Overage veteran Danny Battochio, the 67's most valuable player last year, begins the season in net tonight when Ottawa begins defence of its Eastern Conference title in Sault Ste. Marie against the Greyhounds.

Kilrea also plans to give Battochio starts in Sunday's game in Sudbury against the Wolves, and the home opener at the Civic Centre next Friday against the St. Michael's Majors.

Anthony Guadagnolo will back up Battochio, who shone in net for the 67's during an improbable playoff run last season that ended with an appearance at the Memorial Cup in London.

Spezza, acquired in a trade from Kingston at last year's trade deadline in January, was brought to Ottawa as insurance in case of injuries to Battochio and Guadagnolo during the final two months of the regular season.

LOST WEIGHT

He lost weight during the summer and played well during the pre-season in an attempt to win a spot on the team, or at least show scouts from other teams he can play.

The 67's can make a trade and deal Spezza to another OHL team, or waive him if there are no offers, in which case he would be free to sign with any club.

Ottawa has a full complement of players to start the year, with all players back from NHL training camps.

Left winger Bryan Bickell, who scored 22 goals last season, returned to Ottawa after attending camp with Chicago, while Czech import Jakub Vojta, the top pick in the CHL European import draft, is back after spending time with the Carolina Hurricanes.

IN THE CREASE: The 67's travelled up Hwy. 17 to Sudbury by bus yesterday before moving on to the Soo for tonight's game. They'll return to Sudbury after the game and stay in the Nickel City until Sunday's game against the Wolves ... St. Isidore native Benoit Pouliot, the fourth overall pick at the last NHL draft by Minnesota, survived the Wild's latest round of camp cuts and might not be in the lineup for the Wolves in Sunday's game. Also staying in Minnesota camp was former 67's forward Matt Foy, who scored once in a 6-3 exhibition win over Buffalo.


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