Junior phenoms front and centre

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

On paper, it's another chance for Logan Couture to stick it to the Oshawa Generals. But in reality, Ottawa 67's coach Brian Kilrea says the dispute between Couture, the exceptional rookie centre and the Generals, is history.

"All I think is that Logan's here and he's looking forward to playing here with us, and that's it," said Kilrea, whose 67's meet the Generals tonight at the Civic Centre in the second of eight contests between the clubs this season.

For 67's fans, it's the first chance to watch 15-year-old prospect John Tavares, who was chosen first overall by the Gens at last May's OHL draft.

Couture had received indications from the Generals that it would be his name called first, but that changed when the OHL allowed Tavares, 14 at the time of the selection, to be eligible as an "exceptional" player.

Tavares, who turned 15 in September, has scored 16 goals and 25 points so far.

Although his production has slipped of late, with one goal and three points in his last seven games, Tavares is widely considered to have NHL superstar potential.

Couture has been no slouch either.

After the league made its ruling on Tavares for the draft, Couture's family indicated that he might not report to an OHL team if taken during the selections.

But Kilrea, gambling with the 12th overall pick, chose Couture and convinced the player and his parents to come to Ottawa. In his first season, the 16-year-old Couture has eight goals and 16 points.

The Generals beat the 67's 3-2 in a shootout last month.

With a record of 5-17-1-0, the Generals are ranked 10th in the Eastern Conference.

"We know all about (Tavares). They've got some good players, and we have to remember that there's more to Oshawa than just one guy," said Kilrea.

Tonight is the first of three games in as many days against divisional rivals for the 67's, who visit Belleville tomorrow before returning home Sunday vs. Kingston.

IN THE CREASE: C Thomas Kiriakou and RW Arron Alphonso are questionable for tonight's game. Kiriakou has a sore back, while Alphonso aggravated a knee injury. Kilrea is sticking with his latest line combinations -- with Bryan Bickell, the OHL's player of the week, on left wing with Julian Talbot and former General Chris Hulit on the top line. Couture's at centre with Jamie McGinn and Matt Lahey on the second unit ... The QMJHL's Gatineau Olympiques are back in action tomorrow at home against Val-d'Or.


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