For Battochio, the puck stops here

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

Danny Battochio's load is going to get much heavier.

Already carrying the weight of being the reigning MVP of his team, the 67's star goalie should see action in at least 50 games this season due to the departure of back-up Anthony Guadagnolo.

Coach-GM Brian Kilrea says Battochio's workload will depend on his health and the performance of new back-up David Scamurra, who arrived in Ottawa on Wednesday.

"We know that Danny will get 50 plus games," said Kilrea, whose team plays its home opener at the Civic Centre tonight against the St. Michael's Majors (7:30 p.m.).

"We've always said that the back-up has to play at least 15 games, for himself and for your No. 1 goalie so you don't burn him out," said Kilrea. "We're hoping that David will get at least 15 games for us."

Scamurra joined the club following the exodus of Guadagnolo, who told Kilrea on Monday that he wanted to be traded.

Battochio played both of Ottawa's season-opening games in Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury last weekend, and Kilrea had declared him the starter for tonight's home opener before that road trip began.

Last season, Battochio played in 40 regular-season games despite missing lengthy periods to a shoulder injury. He also started each of Ottawa's 25 post-season games, including those in the Memorial Cup.

Guadagnolo wanted more action this season, but wouldn't have received it unless Battochio was hurt.

Kilrea said he's open to talks with other teams about trading Guadagnolo, but "I haven't heard from anybody. There's no calls from anyone looking for a goalie. This is a tough time because, at the start of the year, everybody thinks their goalies are good enough."

Scamurra now becomes the go-to guy if anything happens to Battochio. The 67's selected the 17-year-old out of Jr. A in Oakville, taking him in the sixth round of the OHL draft in May. He was the ninth goalie taken.

Kilrea said it would have been ideal for Scamurra, who attended the team's training camp, to get another year of development before jumping to the OHL.

According to Kilrea, Scamurra looked nervous in his camp debut, but showed improvement in the days that followed.

"Tom Dempsey (the team's goalie coach) thought that the kid battled really well," said Kilrea.

Battochio will also start Sunday's home game against Kingston.

For tonight's game, the Majors will also have a strong presence in net with fourth-year starter Justin Peters.

"He's their Danny. I think he's been a top goaltender in this league for years," said Kilrea.

Peters was outstanding during the stretch drive last season that got the Majors into the post-season. He was also the main contributor in a first-round playoff upset of top-ranked Mississauga.

St. Michael's is missing overage winger Jeff Larsh, who had off-season knee surgery and won't be in the lineup until the end of October, according to coach Bud Stefanski.

"They're always a hardworking team, whether it's in their rink or our rink," said Kilrea. "They did extremely well in the second half last year, and I think that's going to carry over into this year."

IN THE CREASE: 67's RW Arron Alphonso could miss tonight's game due to a flu ... Also out is rookie winger Pat Daley with mono ... A banner to commemorate the 67's 2004-05 Eastern Conference championship will be raised during a pre-game ceremony.


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