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ITO Hot-Stove: Will the London Knights finish 1st in the OHL this season?

This is the second edition of ITO Hot-Stove. Joining me today in this piece is Matt Leacy, Thayne Hallyburton and Susan Tromanhauser.

Without further ado I'd like to introduce you all to today's debate question: The London Knights currently sit atop the OHL standings. Will they finish in that position?

Todd Cordell


Though the London Knights have played exceptional hockey to this point, I don't expect them to finish atop the league standings. They're a very young team and right now some of their players are playing over their heads, so to speak.I think the London Knights will be an elite team down the road, but right now I just don't think they're there. I expect the Sarnia Sting, once they get a few bodies back, and Plymouth Whalers will pass them at some point this season.

Thayne Hallyburton


The London Knights have every intangible that it takes to win. Speed, skill, size, toughness, goal-tending, attention to detail. But their key guys are a little young. The trade deadline will say a lot for what this team will be.There is talk of them dealing Jarred Knight, then there is talk of them bringing in Ryan Spooner. In any case I don't think this team is ready to be considered a top flight team in this league, I would expect Plymouth and Niagara and even Sarnia to go past them in the rankings and standing by seasons-end. 2013 and especially 2014 will be their years...this team has the making of a back-to-back memorial cup threat.

Susan Tromanhauser


The London Knights are well in front at this point of the season. They have proven to be a tough, gritty team with strong players that can put the puck in the net. Dale Hunter has always been able to amass great talent for the Knights and while he may have moved on to the big leagues as head coach of the Washington Capitals, the team remains in tact. But will coaching adjustments behind the bench have a negative effect on team performance? I don’t think so for the remainder of this season. With the well developed systems in place and a great succession plan in the coaching staff, the Knights will hang on to first place. However, they will be feeling the heat of the Plymouth Whalers who are not so far behind and may very well be the best team in the league.

Except for pruning some dead wood and creating the brackets for the play-offs, does the regular season standings have that much impact on who finally hoists the  Robertson Cup? I think not, the play-offs is a whole new season where we will see many surprises! Last Christmas, who would have predicted the Owen Sound Attack would be representing the OHL at the Memorial Cup?

Matt Leacy


As a born and raised citizen of Rangers Nation, it's very hard to say
anything good about the London Knights. So maybe I'm a little biased
on the subject, but regardless here goes.

I think the Knights have quite a few upsides. Stellar goaltending,
players who can score, and strong defenseman. If there's anything I
can pick on, it's the fact that they seem to take off nights. What I
mean by that is they can occasionally see a team that they should
easily beat, then fall to them. Case and point, the only time the
Knights and Rangers have met this season (at the time of this writing
anyway), the Rangers took a 4-1 lead before the midway point of the
second. The Knights, all credit to them, came back to force a shootout
but lost by a final score of 5-4.

Now with the loss of Dale Hunter to the Capitals, the question becomes
can Mark Hunter successfully take over? Or will the team ignore his
coaching, lack respect for him, and slowly but surely crumble? Guess
we'll find out as the season progresses (my fingers aren't crossed I

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