As someone who has spent more than three decades coaching teenage boys, Brian Kilrea has suffered through numerous cases of mononucleosis.
At the same time, the 67's coach/GM also knows a bullet when he dodges one.
It was almost with a sigh of relief that Kilrea said yesterday rookie goalie Adam Courchaine has been given a clean bill of health after contracting mono earlier in the summer. Courchaine, whose rights were obtained by Kilrea in a shrewd trade last year, had an exceptional season with the CJHL's Orleans Blues and will come to camp later this month at the top of the netminding depth chart.
"We're not really sure who's going to push for the job, but we're hoping Courchaine battle the odds," said Kilrea, who also will have 16-year-old draftees and walk-ons vying for a spot between the pipes when rookie camp opens at Carleton University Aug. 27. "Right now, we're not looking around. We think he's going to be able to do the job."
Top centre Logan Couture had mono early last season and, while only missing a couple of weeks, never did fully recover. Without Couture at 100%, the 67's were in a struggle to make the playoffs.
Mono, a disease that has flu-like symptoms that generally leaves its victims fatigued for an extended period, has struck a number of 67's over the years.
Courchaine, who attended an advanced camp held by the Boston Bruins and is expected to get an invite to the B's rookie camp, was given clearance to resume workouts last week.
"He's over it," said Kilrea. "He's fine."
The 67's will still need another goalie to step up in what is the team's biggest question mark position entering the 2007-08 season.
Up front, the team should be strong.
Couture and Jamie McGinn will form two-thirds of what should be one of the best lines in the OHL.
BAILEY ON SECOND LINE
Anaheim Ducks pick Jason Bailey will flank the second line along with fellow homebrew Matthieu Methot. Promising sophomores Thomas Nesbitt and Cody Lindsay will have expanded roles, and the 67's are very high on the forwards they made their top two picks in the Priority Selection, Michael Latta and Ryan Martindale.
Kilrea is hoping at least one of the two Czechs he took in the European draft emerges as a force to join a defensive core that will be led by Tyler Cuma, Julien Demers and Sean Ryan.
He's also looking for a surprise or two to step forward at camp, as is generally the case every season.
After three days at Carleton, the 67's open the main camp Aug. 30 at the Civic Centre.