'Inconsistent' 67's deal away Bickell

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Surrounded by teammates at the back of the bus returning from a weekend road trip, Bryan Bickell learned his days with the 67's were over.

His mother broke the news to him from the family home in Orono, reaching him on his cellphone as the 67's were returning from Mississauga on Sunday night.

"She saw on the Internet that I was traded," said Bickell. "I told the guys about it and they thought I was joking."

But it was no joke, as Bickell found out when the bus arrived at the Civic Centre and assistant coach Bert O'Brien pulled him aside to confirm the deal.

The 19-year-old is heading for the Windsor Spitfires and taking his four seasons -- and his team-leading 28 goals with him.

In return, the 67's are getting 19-year-old centre-left winger Brett Liscomb and a second-round pick in the 2006 OHL draft.

The trade came as a shock for Bickell, who had spoken to 67's coach and GM Brian Kilrea last week about the team's intentions as today's OHL's trading deadline approached.

"I had a talk with Bryan, and I told him that we would more than likely be staying put," Kilrea said by phone yesterday from Toronto where he appeared on TSN's Off The Record before returning to Ottawa last night.

"But after our game on Saturday (in Oshawa), I started receiving calls about Bryan and other players and ended up making a deal that we hope will help the team next year."

Bickell spent yesterday getting his affairs in order and delivering his farewells before getting ready for the trip to Windsor.

"They like the way I play, and that's the way I'm going to play for them down there," said Bickell, a second-round NHL draft pick of Chicago.

Known for swift skating, a quick release and accurate shot, Bickell ranked third on the club with 50 points.

But as a top-flight player on a team struggling to climb higher in the Eastern Conference standings, Bickell's skills became coveted by other teams looking to make a run at the OHL title.

Kilrea said he was leaning toward keeping the team intact, but became open to offers after the players upset him by dropping an 8-4 decision in Oshawa on Saturday.

"We have been inconsistent as a team," said Kilrea, whose team is 18-17-4-2 but still has a chance of finishing among the top four teams in the conference.

"I just hope that maybe this will shake up some of the guys, and I hope they realize that Bryan Bickell was one of our best players and he was traded."

When asked if more deals might be coming for the 67's today in the final hours of trading, he replied, "I don't know. I didn't expect to make a deal (Sunday) night, but we made one."

In Liscomb, the 67's receive a third-year forward with 36 career goals, including 12 this season with the Spitfires.

Kilrea expects the 5-foot-9, 186-lb. native of Long Sault, a fifth-round pick by the Spitfires in 2002, to join the team for practice this week.

"It's a great deal for us and for him because he's not far from home," said Kilrea.

Liscomb and the 67's resume their schedule Thursday in Toronto vs. St. Mike's.


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