Future is now for Colts star

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Bryan Little won't have much trouble putting aside thoughts of his future in the next couple of weeks.

Though the Barrie Colts captain is first-round fodder for the NHL entry draft in Vancouver in June, all he cares about right now is helping the Colts advance to the Ontario Hockey League final for the first time in six years.

"Right now, what I'm doing is for the team and not for myself," said Little, who should be a top-15 pick. "I'll worry about the draft after the season."

The Colts meet the Peterborough Petes starting tonight in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final. The Petes were in the conference final a year ago, but were swept by the Ottawa 67's.

In the Western Conference final, the London Knights will make their third consecutive appearance when their best-of-seven with the Guelph Storm begins tonight at the John Labatt Centre in London. Two years ago, the Storm beat the Knights in seven games in the conference final.

Little might get bumped off the stage by another top prospect. The Petes' Jordan Staal should be a top-four pick and could be selected ahead of the former No. 1 favourite, American Phil Kessel.

Petes captain Jamie Tardif was a linemate of Eric Staal a few years ago with the Petes and now skates on a line with Jordan.

"Jordan is a lot bigger and stronger than Eric was when he was in the league," Tardif said. "They're both the kind of player who wants the puck, and that is what a good player does. I'm very happy to have played with both Staals."

Not that they necessarily needed it, but the Knights will get a boost. Returning to the lineup for Game 1 will be Canadian junior team member David Bolland, who has served a four-game suspension for kicking Mike Angelidis of the Owen Sound Attack in the second round.

"That was a huge confidence boost for us (that the Knights eliminated Owen Sound without Bolland, their best all-around player)," captain Dylan Hunter said. "With Bolland back, everyone can rest a little bit easier."

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OHL PLAYOFFS ... CONFERENCE FINAL PREVIEWS

EASTERN CONFERENCE

#1 PETERBOROUGH VS. #3 BARRIE

Season series: Petes won 2-1-1-0

Skinny: Petes won't have defenceman Kyle Raftis, who has a broken wrist ... A nice netminding duel between the Petes' David Shantz and the Colts' Dan LaCosta should emerge ... Peterborough's depth up front is not equalled ... Steve Downie has the ability to drive the Colts to distraction.

Prediction: The Colts are making a nice run, but there is too much on the line for Peterborough. Petes in six.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

# 1 LONDON VS. #4 GUELPH

Season series: Storm won 4-1-0-1

Skinny: There's plenty of history between the clubs, who have become intense rivals ... Goalies Adam Dennis (London) and Ryan MacDonald (Guelph) were traded for each other last year ... Knights' Rob Schremp leads OHL with 27 points in playoffs.

Prediction: Though an upset is not out of the question, the Knights have experience to their advantage. Knights in seven.

Prediction record: 8-4


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