Ben Shutron should get accustomed to playing in large arenas like Scotiabank Place.
The 17-year-old Orleans resident and defenceman for the Kingston Frontenacs appears on the right path toward the NHL.
A potential first-rounder, Shutron is taking the same road to the big leagues as fellow Orleans resident Michael Blunden, who made a name for himself during the recent world juniors in Vancouver.
At the CHL Top Prospects Game a few weeks back at Scotiabank Place, the affable Shutron talked about being inspired by Blunden, who scored twice in Canada's championship win over the Russians.
"Seeing him do so well there made me want to get there too," said Shutron, whose family lives less than a kilometre from the Blundens. "It's always a goal to play in a world championship for your country."
He has a chance of being on next year's national junior squad.
Shutron broke into the OHL last season as a 16-year-old, and is getting rave reviews in his junior season with the Frontenacs.
"Even though he was young in the league last year, he really stood out," said 67's overage winger Chris Hulit. "The thing about him is that he has lots of poise and never panics. I don't like playing against him because he's so calm with the puck, he never panics and he rarely makes mistakes."
Ottawa coach Brian Kilrea has also been impressed.
"That kid can skate forever," he said. "He never seems to get tired. Even when he jumps up into the play in the offensive zone, he still has the energy to get back, and that's why he's being recognized."
Like Blunden, Shutron has younger brothers who are making their way into the OHL.
Twins Derek and Brett Shutron play Minor Midget AA for the Gloucester Rangers. They're teammates of Sean Blunden, Michael's youngest brother.
Not quite the Staals or the Sutters, but these Orleans clans are making waves in the hockey world -- first locally, and now internationally.
MORE HELP FOR SEBASTIEN: Fundraising efforts for the Sebastien Savage Foundation continue with an on-line auction of autographed sports memorabilia. Located on Savage's website (www.sebastiensavage.com), the auction has items signed by various sports celebrities, including Bobby Orr, Roberto Luongo, Jose Theodore, Ilya Kovalchuk and others. Rules are posted on the site. An early-bird raffle draw will also take place Feb. 11 at the St-Albert Community Centre.
TRADING PLACES: Interesting sight prior to Friday's game at the Civic Centre between Ottawa and Oshawa. The ceremonial faceoff, in which Scotty Bowman dropped the puck, was taken by Hulit and Peter Tsimikalis of the Generals. Hulit was a General before coming to Ottawa via a trade last season for Tsimikalis.
AND STARTING IN GOAL ...: 67's goalie Danny Battochio made his 22nd consecutive start at home this season Friday against Oshawa. Counting last year's playoffs and regular season, it's 32 straight home appearances.
CZECH MATES: Former 67's centre Jakub Petruzalek, who returned to the OHL earlier this month to join Barrie, returns to the Civic Centre on March 12 with the Colts. Petruzalek is on the same up-and-down pattern as he was last season with the 67's. In eight games back in the OHL, the Czech import has eight points in seven games, but six of the points were obtained in back-to-back contests ... Speaking of Czechs, ex-67's W Lukas Kaspar incited anger from his AHL coach after a game Friday between his Cleveland Barons and Milwaukee. The Barons lost 5-4, but coach Roy Sommer singled out Kaspar following the game for taking costly penalties in the second period. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Kaspar charged at the referee after being called for tripping, drawing an additional unsportsmanlike conduct minor. He also drew a 10-minute misconduct for whacking the glass with his stick in anger. Milwaukee scored twice during the power plays to take a 4-1 lead. "Kaspar took a selfish penalty," Sommer told the Cleveland newspaper. "He goes after the referee -- what's he going to do? They scored twice because of that."
IN THE CREASE: The Eastern Ontario Jr. B loop holds its annual all-star showcase next Saturday, with the South Ottawa Canadians hosting the event at Sandy Hill Arena. The rookie game goes at 10:15 a.m.; followed by the veterans at 1:30 ... Pembroke forward Ryan Lasch needs three goals to reach 50 on the season. He's got a chance tonight when the Lumber Kings, still ranked No. 3 in the national Jr. A rankings, host the Kanata Stallions ... The Gatineau Olympiques are on the road today against Rimouski ... Kilrea will coach the Eastern Conference team at the Bell OHL All-Star Classic, Wednesday in Belleville. Ottawa D Derek Joslin is the only 67's player on the roster. Locals in the game include Blunden, Benoit Pouliot (St-Isidore) of the Sudbury Wolves and G Kevin Lalande (Clarence Creek) of the host Bulls.