London Knights (27-11-0-1) vs. Niagara IceDogs (13-22-2-3)
Tonight, 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre
THE MATCHUP: This is the first meeting between the clubs this year. The second and last meeting is Feb. 4 in St. Catharines.
LOCAL CONNECTION: Coming home at least for the night will be IceDog defenceman Nik Knezic. Knezic is from London. The big defenceman played his hockey two years ago with Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs.
TRADE OR NOT: IceDogs general manager denied the team has traded world junior star defenceman Alex Pietrangelo to the Barrie Colts. Reports were rampant that Pietrangelo had been dealt to the Colts, along with forward Chris DeSousa, for forward Ryan Strome, Barrie's first-round pick and eighth-overall in the 2009 OHL draft, Danish defenceman Simon Gronvaldt, two second-round picks and a third-round selection. Pietrangelo won't play until a trade is made. Brown says a trade will likely get done but nothing yet. The Knights really liked Pietrangelo but the asking price is steep.
KADRI TALK: With the talent gap widening between Barrie, Windsor and the rest of the league, what will the Knights do? Rumours continue to surface that teams are making calls about Nazem Kadri. What do the top teams have left to offer? Knights GM Mark Hunter said he had discussions with Niagara about Pietrangelo, but to show how volatile the situation is, Hunter said he went from "buyer to seller to buyer to seller" all in one day.
SPITFIRES RELOAD: The Windsor Spitfires got the goaltending insurance they were looking for by making a massive deal that saw the Belleville Bulls trade German netminder Philipp Grubauer, shutdown defenceman Marc Cantin and forward Stephen Johnston to the Spitfires for Richard Panik, Paul Bezzo, Steve Gleeson and Austen Brassard. Draft choices also changed hands.
GOOD DOGGIES: The IceDogs have had a tough year but there are some young pups they have high hopes for. Defenceman Dougie Hamilton just returned with a silver medal from the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge for Ontario. Rookie goaltender Petteri Simila was a member of Finland's world junior team. Hamilton was a defencemate of Knights' Scott Harrington at the under-17 tournament.
MORE AWARDS: The Knights are planning a pregame ceremony tonight to honour world junior hockey gold medallist Phil McRae and silver medallist Nazem Kadri, as well as under-17 silver medallist Harrington.
ALUMNI WATCH: Former Knights captain Danny Syvret is finally getting a chance to play in the NHL. Now in the Philadelphia Flyers organization, he scored his first two NHL goals this week, the first in the outdoor game at Fenway Park and the second Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Another former Knight, Rob Schremp, is playing and scoring for the New York Islanders with three goals and seven assists. Neither got much of a chance in the Edmonton Oilers organization.
DOGS TO OTTERS: The Knights go from one animal to another. The Erie Otters are in town tomorrow for a 7 p.m. start. Greg McKegg from St. Thomas is having a big year for the Otters. Going into the weekend, he has 20 goals and 26 assists.