Busy schedule for Kulikov

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 6:50 PM ET

Should the Drummondville Voltigeurs win the Memorial Cup Sunday, highly-rated defenceman Dmitry Kulikov won’t have a lot of time to party.

The 18-year-old Russian is ranked 11th among North American-based skaters for next month’s NHL draft. He is scheduled to report to the league’s combine right away in Toronto.

“If we win the Cup, I’ll have one day off to rest,” the six-foot-one, 195-pounder said. “I’m not worried (about the combine). I’m trying to let my play here speak for itself.”

The combine tests the players’ physical and mental limits. Many of the eligible top picks are working with trainers to prepare.

“If I have a chance to work out, I’ll do it,” Kulikov said, “but if I have to rest for the game, that’s more important.”

Rimouski head coach Clement Jodoin confirmed yesterday 20-year-old defenceman Maxime Ouimet has been diagnosed with mononucleosis and is out of the tournament without playing a game.

“Here’s a kid who played (four) years in the league (QMJHL) and finally gets the chance to play in a Memorial Cup, the opportunity of a lifetime, and isn’t allowed to,” Jodoin said. “I told the other 20 players, ‘He doesn’t get this chance but you do. Make something out of it.’”

The day after beating Windsor in overtime, Drummondville head coach Guy Boucher lost his voice.

He chalked it up to a strep throat he said ravaged his club during the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final.

“I was the second one to get it and I must’ve been the idiot who gave it to everybody else,” he managed to say with a smile.

The Voltigeurs play at home in the cozy Marcel Dionne Centre, where the sound is often deafening. Add in the screeching horns many Volts fans have brought along (they’re outlawed in some Quebec league rinks but not Rimouski) and it’s an ear-ringer.

“In our rink, there are times the player I’m standing directly behind can’t even hear what I’m saying to him,” said Boucher, an Oceanic assistant when Sidney Crosby and Rimouski played at the 2005 Memorial Cup in London.

AROUND TOWN

Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe will be at the Rimouski Colisee tomorrow night to take part in the Memorial Cup festivities.

The game he will attend is the only one on the schedule not featuring a Quebec team — OHL champ Windsor against Western league winner Kelowna.

He’ll accompany Bloc politician Claude Guimond, MP of the Rimouski-Neigette-Temiscouata-Les Basques federal riding.


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