Goalie aiming to show he Cann

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

Trevor Cann is trying to re-discover his game.

The heavily padded position of netminder can play tricks on a guy's psyche. But the London Knights' No. 1 goalie's enthusiasm for being the last line of defence hasn't waned.

He has been wrestling with consistency since he arrived in November. His statistics are solid, but there have been times -- such as last Friday's 6-5 shootout loss to Guelph -- when he has battled the puck.

"I know what people expect," Cann said. "I was brought into this team to be an impact player and you want to live up to it.

"It's been a big adjustment. You go from a team where you saw a lot of shots a game and be in the action all the time to a team where you might only see one good chance a period.

"It can be a mental battle and I'm still trying things out. What has worked for me one game, I've tried the next and it hasn't worked.

"But the goal is always to only give up two goals a game."

There's a lot of hope and weight on his shoulders. It wasn't always that way.

The red-headed kid was six when he arrived at Jon Elkin's goalie school in Toronto.

A lot of players who guard the crease end up there because they're forced into it -- too small, can't skate, a little bit crazy or a combination of all three.

Not Cann. He knew early on he loved stopping pucks.

"I don't know how he heard about me but he showed up one day at the school and said he wanted to be a goaltender," Elkin said yesterday.

So he helped turn the young Oakville native into one.

Success happened fast. Cann went to the 2006 Memorial Cup as a backup with the Peterborough Petes his rookie season. The next year, he started 62 games, played in the league's all-star game and was a second-round selection by Colorado in the NHL draft.

But he followed it all up with a bad year. This season, the Petes went to rebuild mode and, after he was spectacular early, shipped their most alluring asset to contending London.

If Cann can't find his rhythm, the Knights are in big trouble. The options are limited.

Jason Guy is gone to Newmarket. Michael Zador is now playing for Oshawa. Fellow 19-year-old Daryl Borden, acquired in the Tavares deal, is an affiliated player from Brantford, so the Knights have to work out each week when they can have him and when he has to be in the Telephone City.

They can't get Borden full-time until Brantford is out of the playoffs and they're currently first in their conference. When Borden doesn't back up Cann, big Stephen Heming does. London Nationals goalie Torrin Lauziere will play for the Knights, maybe as early as this week.

But as Knights GM Mark Hunter has said ad nauseum for a month, Cann is their man. And their man knows what it means to be expected to play every game.

"I did it when I was 17," the five-foot-11, 195-pounder said. "It's a process and you have to be ready every night. You have to watch what you eat and ride the bike."

"The two weeks when I had that concussion or whatever it was, I couldn't do anything," Cann added. "That set me back for a bit."

The Knights say it's critical Cann be in a position to carry the goaltending load and get himself into prime condition.

"We have a couple of guys on this team who we feel can get into better shape and he's one of them," London assistant coach Pat Curcio said. "Trevor's a big part of this team and we're relying on him to play big minutes and make a difference."

Cann has a strong support system in place. Goalie coach Dave Rook has a proven track record with London's goalies. The Avs have executive and former goalie Craig Billington staying in touch with him.

Then there's Elkin, who says he doesn't want to interfere with Rook's work. But everyone knows the drill between mentor and student -- Rook, for instance, will always answer the phone when Steve Mason calls -- so Elkin has spoken with Cann.

"I thought Trevor worked harder than he ever did this summer to get ready," Elkin said. "It was working in Peterborough, but he hasn't shown what kind of goalie he is since he's been in London.

"Good goalies find a way. NHL-calibre goalies figure it out and that's what he's going to have to do there."

There's a lot riding on the red-headed kid who always loved to play in goal.

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TREVOR CANN'S OHL CAREER

2005-06: 20 games played, 16-4 record, 1 shutout, 2.65 goals against average, 0.919 save percentage.

2006-07: 62 GP, 23-37, 0 SO, 3.69 GAA, 0.909 SP.

2007-08: 51 GP, 20-31, 2 SO, 3.59 GAA, 0.906 SP.

2008-09 : With Peterborough, 10 GP, 5-5, 1 SO, 3.08 GAA, 0.926 SP.; with London, 22 GP, 18-4, 2 SO, 2.57 GAA, 0.913 SP.

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KNIGHTWATCH

Tonight: at Niagara, 7:30 p.m. at the Gatorade Garden City Complex.

Tomorrow: vs. Niagara, 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre.

Sunday: vs. Sudbury, 2 p.m. at the JLC.


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