Kostitsyn expected to rejoin Knights

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

The London Knights' power play shouldn't be totally unrecognizable when the OHL season begins in September.

Barring a massive about-face, slick forward Sergei Kostitsyn, who led all rookies with 78 points in 63 regular games last season, will be returned to London by his NHL rights-holder, Montreal Canadiens, for a second OHL season this fall.

"We got the green light and it's positive," Knights GM Mark Hunter said yesterday, "but . . . until I see Sergei's face back here, you can't be completely sure."

Putting the 19-year-old Belarusian back in the London lineup would infuse scoring into a team trying to make up for the loss of a combined 146 goals from Rob Schremp (Edmonton Oilers), David Bolland (Chicago Blackhawks) and Dylan Hunter (Buffalo Sabres organization). Kostitsyn scored 26 goals last regular season and added 13 goals and 37 points in the playoffs.

"We want him to be back in London and have a leadership role with the team," Montreal director of player personnel Trevor Timmins said.

"He's had success and we'd like to see him continue that."

In the search for an assistant coach, Hunter said he is scheduled to meet with former NHLer and Chatham native Dave Gagner -- whose son Sam has signed to play for London this year -- in early August to discuss the position. The Knights have to decide if they will replace both of last year's assistants -- Jacques Beaulieu and Jeff Perry.

"Dale (head coach Dale Hunter) and I have bandied back and forth on whether to have one or two," Mark Hunter said. "We're going to wait and see what happens."

Potential Knights overager Robbie Drummond attended an evaluation camp for the Washington Capitals in Hershey, Pa., where he was judged to be tops in fitness. The swift-skating London native, who is in Vancouver taping a TV program called Last Man Standing, is hoping for an invitation to an NHL camp this fall.

The 2005 Memorial Cup champion Knights team, which will be inducted into the London Sports Hall of Fame in November, is to be celebrated at a fundraising dinner titled A Knight to Remember Aug. 16 at the John Labatt Centre.

Tickets ($100) go on sale Aug. 1 at 10 a.m. while full tables ($1,000) are available through the JLC box office or Fanshawe College Bizbooth.

The evening is expected to feature all members of the Cup-winning team and include Hot Stove-style interviews with the players and awards presentations.


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