Tavares back to just being plain old John

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

BRAMPTON -- Scott Aarssen is the London Knights' leader again.

The 20-year-old defenceman returned to the OHL club's lineup last night and wore the captain's C after sitting out 20 games to heal a fractured bone in his foot.

The Knights appointed leading scorer John Tavares as captain last week in Aarssen's absence and they pulled out of a tailspin and won three straight games.

"Scott's our captain," said assistant coach Pat Curcio. "He was injured there and we played without a captain for a while. We needed someone to talk to the refs in his place."

Aarssen said he understood why the club's brass made the move to Tavares.

"We went through a rough stretch there and I said some things to the team but there comes a point where you can only say so much because you're not playing," he said.

Tavares, genuinely shocked when he found out last Friday from GM Mark Hunter he would have the letter against Erie, returned to wearing nothing on the left breast of his sweater. Matt Clarke, Nazem Kadri and Justin Taylor continue to serve as alternate captains.

Tavares had been Oshawa's captain before the Generals traded him to London.

"It's a little strange going from the C to not even an A," Curcio said, "but that was always the plan when Scott came back."

Aarssen didn't know when he showed up at the rink if he would be wearing the letter again. He was more concerned about getting back into the lineup.

"I'm excited because I haven't played with a few of these guys since we made the trades," he said. "We have a pretty good team here and it'll be fun to see what we can do the rest of the year."

Aarssen suffered the same bone break as he did last year while blocking a shot.

He had surgery to put two screws into his foot and he'll also wear extra protection in his skate to protect against more damage.

"The thinking was that last year's injury didn't heal completely," he said, "so we did a surgery to prevent against this happening again.

"Dr. (orthopedic surgeon Bob) Giffin did a great job. He knew I wanted to get back as quickly as I could."

Aarssen returned to practice with the team on Saturday. He had been skating for two weeks with Curcio and felt he was back to game shape.

The Knights scratched Czech defenceman Vladimir Roth last night to make room for Aarssen.

The team hasn't ruled out moving Matt Clarke back to forward at some point to clear the blue-line buildup.

"It's game-by-game," Curcio said. "But it's important to have seven healthy defenceman ready to go. We want to work Scott in and not overplay him but we want him to be put in certain situations so he can build back his confidence."


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