Tavares-Kadri new alliance on brief hiatus

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

OSHAWA -- John Tavares' London life is in flux right now.

Since the big OHL trade, he has only spent a weekend in his new hockey home before being whisked back to Oshawa yesterday to prepare for tomorrow's Canadian Hockey League top prospects game at the General Motors Centre.

In London, he had been bunking with injured Knights captain Scott Aarssen for the time being. He was driven around by forward Phil McRae.

"I've been working on getting a driver's licence for a while," the 18-year-old star scorer said, "but it probably won't get done until I'm back home (in Oakville this summer)."

The Knights don't care when Tavares can operate a motor vehicle, but they want him to drive the newly assembled team's offence. It's hard to erase three-and-a-half years spent with one club, but the Knights are working hard on helping him make the leap.

"He still has some Generals blood in him but we'll wash it out," teammate Nazem Kadri said with a grin.

As a fellow top prospect, Kadri made the Oshawa trip with Tavares and it might have been a good time for the pair to build some more chemistry -- but they're playing on opposing teams.

Kadri will get his barking orders from bombastic Don Cherry, while Tavares will skate on his old home ice for former General Bobby Orr's team.

Last night, Tavares donned a green Knights jersey for a prospects practice run by the guy who had just traded him from the Generals -- Orr assistant and Oshawa GM and coach Chris DePiero.

Kadri, who has been shifted by Knights coach Dale Hunter from centre to the wing in part so he can play with Tavares, said "it's not a big deal going to wing. When you can play with someone the calibre of Johnny, it makes it an even easier adjustment."

Kadri lost his forward position to Tavares but kept his jersey number. Both will wear No. 91 during the top prospects festivities, but Tavares will return to No. 61 with London.

"All the guys have been bugging me about 61 and not trying to get 91," Tavares said with a smile. "I'm trying to . . . fit in with a new club that has a lot of good players."

Kadri is among them. While Tavares held onto his top ranking according to NHL Central Scouting, the 18-year-old Londoner who shone at the Memorial Cup for Kitchener last season slipped to 11th overall behind Guelph's Peter Holland on the midseason list.

He has something to prove here.

CHL TOP PROSPECTS GAME

When: Tomorrow, 7 p.m. in Oshawa. The skills competition goes tonight at 7 p.m.

TV: The game is on Rogers Sportsnet.


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