Downie, 67's just might be a good match

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

The Ottawa 67's are the rumoured front runners in the chase to land Windsor forward Steve Downie.

Yeah, the kid carries a lot of baggage after the infamous incident in practice, where he cross-checked Spitfires rookie Akim Aliu in the mouth, knocking out some of the rookie's teeth.

But Downie's also an NHL first-round pick who has the potential for 100-point seasons.

So you can't blame Brian Kilrea for showing interest in him, even if Downie carries a label of troublemaker.

It's not like Kilrea hasn't been able to deal with those types of players before. Lance Galbraith is one example.

In the Downie situation, almost every team in the OHL's Eastern Conference, not to mention a few in the West, have been contacting the Spitfires about Downie.

In Ottawa's case, he's exactly the kind of player (on the ice) that they're looking for.

The 67's have been struggling to score goals early in the season, and a player like Downie would address that deficiency.

The problem for most teams is what they'd need to give up in order to get him.

In Ottawa's case, that would be up-and-coming young stars that would head to the rebuilding Spitfires.

Logan Couture is untouchable. The 67's are too high on his talents to consider him part of a package.

But the Spitfires would be looking for high-calibre players in return, which would make it a tough deal -- from Kilrea's perspective.

The rumours are still out there about Downie to Ottawa.

A newspaper in Philadelphia (Downie is a Flyers draftee) reported last week that the Spitfires were working on a deal with the 67's.

Flyers GM Bob Clarke and Darren Ferris, Downie's agent, also said a deal could be made at some point in the coming week, although neither indicated which team was involved.

"Nothing has happened as of yet, but I know Windsor has received lots of offers," said Ferris in an interview with the Sun on Friday.

"It's really in Windsor's hands right now. But I'm sure Steve would love to play in Ottawa.

"The main thing here is we're trying to get Steve playing again."

Ferris also had another interesting thing to say.

Speaking of Kilrea: "Not many guys can develop players like he can."

It's possible that's the scenario the Flyers and Clarke want.

We'll see in the upcoming days.

EX-OTTAWA G'S IN NEWS: Interesting to see former 67's netminder Matthew Spezza joining the QMJHL's St. John's Fog Devils.

Perhaps the Devils liked Jason's younger brother's performance as a battling goaltender.

During one of those pre-season exhibition games between the 67's and the Fog Devils back in September in Newfoundland, Spezza became involved in a line brawl that involved the likes of Julian Talbot, Chris Hulit and Jamie McGinn, none of which are known for their pugilistic talents.

Kilrea, whose teams are rarely involved in such moments of on-ice lawlessness, wasn't impressed.

St. John's is the latest stop for Spezza who began the season in Ottawa, but was picked up from waivers by London last month.

Meanwhile, former Ottawa back-up Anthony Guadagnolo had a successful debut in his first game after being traded to Windsor.

The 19-year-old goalie, who left for home last month, made 31 stops as the Spitfires shocked the London 6-4, breaking a 23-game losing streak against the Knights. The bubble burst for Guadagnolo on Friday, as the Spitfires were outshot 42-19 in a 5-1 loss in Sarnia.

IN THE CREASE: The Acadia Axeman of Atlantic University Sport have five former 67's players on their roster: Russ Moyer, Brody Todd, Pierre Mitsou, Matt Albiani and John Ceci ... The Pembroke Lumber Kings are ranked eighth in the most recent national rankings for Jr. A. The Kings put a 12-1-0-1 record on the line at home tonight against Smiths Falls ... The Gatineau Olympiques try to extend a four-game winning streak this afternoon at the Guertin Centre against Victoriaville.

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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