Elbow injury idles Knights' Rediker

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

PETERBOROUGH -- The London Knights are going to have to get used to life without veteran defenceman Frank Rediker again.

The 20-year-old blue-liner, whose wonky knee forced him to miss 17 games earlier this season, is expected to be out at least two weeks after dislocating an elbow in London's 2-0 road win over the Belleville Bulls Wednesday night.

Rediker was hit by Belleville forward Cory Tanaka early in the second period and landed awkwardly on the ice in obvious pain.

The Knights immediately sent him back to London to be examined at the Fowler-Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic.

The ill-timed injury is a heavy blow to London because Rediker had been playing his most impressive hockey since joining the Knights and has logged heavy ice time for a team whose biggest weakness is defence.

"Frank's a rock for us and you hate to lose a guy like that who plays a lot of minutes," London rookie defender Scott Aarssen said.

"It'll be up to the rest of us to pick up those extra minutes. We're going to have to keep the legs moving and I think we'll be all right. This is nothing new for us. We've been through this before and we've won, so we're just going to have to do it again."

Before the Belleville game, Rediker had been saying his knee felt better than it had in years, and that he was finally feeling comfortable again with carrying the puck up the ice and adding some offence to his usual defensive duties.

The Sterling Heights, Mich., native, originally drafted by the Boston Bruins but released because of his frequent knee problems, knew this season -- his last in the OHL -- is his final chance to show scouts he is durable enough to play pro hockey.

Rookie Andrew Wilkins, currently playing with the London Nationals in the Western Junior B Hockey League playoffs, was brought to replace Rediker in last night's game against the Petes.

Wilkins returns to the Nats for Game 5 of their first-round series tonight in St. Marys, then will roll back to meet the Knights in Kingston Sunday.

He and 19-year-old David Halasz, who has been used primarily as a fifth defencemen, will have to play in key situations while Rediker recovers.

London assistant coach Jacques Beaulieu indicated forwards Trevor Kell and Robbie Drummond would be used at the back end during penalty-killing situations.

"You don't want Frank out because he's an over-ager and a guy with a lot of experience, but you have to look at it as an opportunity," Halasz said.

"I have a chance to prove myself and it really doesn't matter who you're out there with -- we all know what we're supposed to do out there."

The former Oshawa General didn't have any problem getting excited to play Peterborough, challengers for first place in the OHL standings.

"I hate those guys," he said. "I think it goes back to playing for Oshawa and we were taught to not like Peterborough. That rivalry goes back 50 years and it's still going."


Videos

Photos