O'Connor most likely could not return before the third round of playoffs (OHL Images)
The Barrie Colts need a long playoff run for captain Ryan O'Connor to avoid ending his junior career on suspension.
It would be redundant to revisit a play that's already been discussed in detail in this space. Long story short, the Colts could be without their top defenceman and their leader as late as the third round of the playoffs after O'Connor received a 10-game suspension for a checking-to-the-head penalty last weekend.
That brings the Ontario Hockey League's player suspension total up to 337 games. O'Connor has already sat one contest.
The Colts are up 3-0 in their Eastern Conference first-round series and look poised to sweep the Kingston Frontenacs. Should they do so, Barrie would have to at least reach the conference final for O'Connor to get back into their lineup. The 21-year-old from Hamilton, Ont., led the Colts defence corps in scoring with 18 goals and 53 points.
O'Connor's situation of being an overage player who receives a long suspension during the playoffs is not exactly new. Last season, Ottawa 67's captain Marc Zanetti was suspended during the playoffs twice. The Kitchener Rangers' Tyler Randell also got a 10-game a head-shot suspension during the first round, then returned to score four goals in a Game 7 second-round win over the Plymouth Whalers.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to email@example.com (video: Rogers Television).
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