Kell returns with Sting

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

Trevor Kell put the finishing touches on his preparation for one of the most important games of his final OHL season.

He got a haircut yesterday.

Obviously, the 20-year-old Thunder Bay native wants to look his best on and off the ice when his Sarnia Sting roll into London to renew the rivalry with the Knights tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre.

"I'm looking forward to it," Kell said. "It's a big game because we're both at the top of the standings right now. We got off to a good start this year. We want to keep it going and prove we belong up there."

Sarnia's chances of winning improve if London's Sam Gagner, the OHL's leading scorer, can't play tonight. He sat out practice yesterday with a nagging groin injury.

The Knights will honour Kell in a pre-game ceremony for his three hard-working seasons in London, which featured the 2005 Memorial Cup win and his shift to defence late last season to help propel the team to the OHL final.

Since his trade, Kell hasn't had to brush up on his backward skating. He recorded a hat trick in his first Sarnia contest and has eight goals and 15 points in 12 games.

"It's nice to be wanted here and I'm having fun," he said. "I have to thank the Hunters because they were only trading me if it was to a good situation, and they followed through with that."

Kell was selected a Sarnia assistant captain and started out on a line with gifted first overall pick Steve Stamkos, who already has 11 goals.

"He's a very talented player who scores a lot of nice goals and you can tell he's going to be one of the top guys in the league in the near future," Kell said.

"When I first got here, guys were asking me what it was like to win a Memorial Cup. I know I was brought in for leadership and to help the younger players, which is nice because in London, I played with the Corey Perrys, David Bollands and Prusties (Brandon Prust) and was one of the rest of the guys."

Clearly, there's a difference in how the two franchises run their hockey operations and Kell notices the little things.

"(In Sarnia,) they didn't know how to win those close games here for the past few years, but we're doing that now," Kell said. "The coaches are different. (London head coach) Dale (Hunter) is a more subtle guy. He doesn't say a lot in the dressing room. (Sting head coach and former Hunter junior linemate) Dave (MacQueen) speaks a lot more. You always know what he wants. He's a communicator."

London captain Robbie Drummond thinks the JLC fans will give Kell a well-deserved cheer at the start of the game, but the Knights aren't about to make any on-ice concessions to their old friend.

"He's a guy I was close to and we shared good times and it's nice to see him doing well," Drummond said. "But we want to win this one. We have a couple of big games this weekend (against Sarnia tonight and in Barrie tomorrow). You get up and prepare every night the same, but you know you want to bring a little extra in a game like this."

For now, the Knights have moved down to the maximum three over-age players by dealing forward Kris Belan to Oshawa Wednesday for future considerations. The 19-year-old Florence native had not played a game with the Knights this season.

"You hate to see a guy like him go, because (Belan) did a lot for our team and he's a great guy," Drummond said. "But he'll get a chance to play in Oshawa."

In Kitchener Tuesday night, the Knights player who strutted off the ice after scrapping with Londoner Adam Zamec in the third period was Jordan Shine, not Jordan Foreman as reported previously.

The pesky Foreman, who hails from nearby Cambridge, doesn't need any extra enemies in the stands when he returns to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Nov. 3.

---

GAME GUIDE

London vs. Sarnia

When: Tonight, 7:30, John Labatt Centre

The matchup: Former Knight Trevor Kell returns to the John Labatt Centre for the first time since being dealt to the Sting at the start of the season.


Videos

Photos