Windsor fielding offers for suspended Downie

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 5:19 PM ET

The Steve Downie trade watch has entered a critical stage.

Windsor Spitfires owner Steve Riolo faxed the other 19 Ontario Hockey League clubs Monday, informing them he is ready to start fielding offers for Downie.

"If he is not playing in a week to 10 days, then we have no alternative but to get him playing somewhere else," Downie's agent, Darren Ferris, said.

Downie left the Spits after he was suspended by the club for five games following a fight during practice with rookie Akim Aliu.

Afterward, OHL commissioner David Branch uncovered a hazing incident involving Downie, Aliu and others.

General manager/coach Moe Mantha was suspended for the rest of the season as GM and 40 games as coach. The club was fined $35,000.

It's imperative for Downie, a first-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers last summer, to return to the ice soon. He was a replacement for Sidney Crosby at Canada's world junior development camp in August in B.C., and wound up having a great camp. If he can put this saga behind him, he would stand a good chance of making Canada's roster for the 2006 world junior starting Dec. 26 in Vancouver.

But some observers of the situation wonder how easy it is going to be for Riolo to make a trade.

"Who is going to let their kid be traded there?" one OHL source said. "It's going to have to be someone who is disgruntled or some kids who don't have no-trade clauses, but they could still refuse to go anyway."

The Spits got goalie Anthony Guadagnolo from Ottawa yesterday, but he had left the 67's last month.

Meanwhile, Aliu's agent, Mark Guy, said there was nothing to a rumour Aliu fought teammate Mike Bushby in practice on Monday. Some have questioned why Aliu, who can be traded only between Jan. 1-10 because he was a first-round pick last spring, doesn't go home to await a trade.

"He is trying to see if he can work it out there," Guy said. "He does not want to be seen as a quitter in all of this."

BRIEFLY

Guelph Storm general manager/coach Dave Barr will resume his coaching duties Saturday in Plymouth after serving a 15-game suspension that dates back to the playoffs last season ... Battalion goalie Daren Machesney is the Canadian Hockey League goaltender of the week after he recorded back-to-back-shutouts against Sudbury and Ottawa ... The Oshawa Generals traded overage forward Justin Allen to the Owen Sound Attack for forward Todd Jackson ... Best wishes to former OHLer Sebastien Savage, who was injured in a weekend CIS game.


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