Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This news came out of nowhere last week.

Brandon Sudeyko of the Ontario Hockey League radio program “In the O Radio” contacted Station Nation last week with regards to former Sea Dog Andrew Howes (pictured somewhere in that pile).

Turns out that Howes, the younger brother of the great Scott Howes, was invited to Niagara Ice Dogs Training Camp as a free agent and has been quite impressive.

“(overager) Andrew Howes on the Ice Dogs roster,” reported Ice Dogs Media Relations guru Jeff Blay on Twitter last Wednesday. “He came from nowhere, but worked hard to get where he is. Congrats!”

Blay later clarified, saying that the final roster has not been made yet.

In 13 games with Saint John in 2008-09, Howes recorded two goals and two assists. Howes, a native of Toronto, ON, was signed by Saint John as a free agent in the summer of 2008. The 5'10", 170 lb. right winger was released from the Sea Dogs in November 10, 2008.

Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant has knowledge of the expectations placed upon him and his team this season.

"We like our team a lot," said Gallant to the Summerside Journal Pioneer. "I think we have 17 returning players, and we feel we have a real good group of guys back.

"We're going to be a young team again. . . and we expect a real good season."

Turk also discussed the big four NHL prospects.

"In the early rankings, we have four kids who are ranked in the first round of the National Hockey League (draft)," answered Gallant. "I think we have eight or nine on the draft list.

"Jonathan Huberdeau is an outstanding young player, Tomas Jurco, Zack Phillips and Nathan Beaulieu, those four kids are all ranked very high for this year's draft."

Chuckie Schembri has been traded to from the Dieppe Commandos to the Summerside Western Capitals of the Maritime Junior Hockey League in exchange for Nicholas Cyr and a 4th round draft pick in 2012.

Schembri appeared in 12 playoff games for Saint John last season, recording two goals.

“The Dieppe Commandos sincerely thank Chuckie and also wish him best of luck,” states a team press release.

The official announcement of Saint John’s intention to host the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup has created some discussion.

“Saint John has each base covered,” writes Yahoo! Sports blogger Neate Sager. “The potential for a Cadillac team in '11-12 is fairly abundant. By most accounts, defenceman Nathan Beaulieu along with forwards Jonathan Huberdeau, Tomas Jurco and Zack Phillips are among the Quebec league's top prospects.”

“Naive question: given all the criticism the QMJHL has faced about the calibre of the league, wouldn't it want to go with the strongest possible team? Granted, a roster could look radically different between the start of this season and the 2012 post-season. That could be a boon for a candidate such as Shawingian, which boasts a new arena but an only-OK team.”

Carl Peelash added his thoughts.

“Saint John easily has to be head and shoulders above the other three bidders in, at least, team quality,” writes Peelash, who gave the Sea Dogs 2:1 odds of hosting the tournament.

“It seems like everything is coming up Sea Dogs, and it appears that it will continue on that path right up until they’re announced as 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup hosts in April. That’s what I’d bet on, at least.”

Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke stopped by the Port City last week for a Ducks Unlimited charity event. Burke took some time to discuss the Chris DiDomenico trade to local reporters.

"The hard part about that trade is two-fold," said Burke to the Telegraph-Journal. "One, I think he's going to be a good NHL player that you think is going to play so that always makes you nervous. Second, if there's a kid that's worked harder and deserves more to make it in the NHL than Chris DiDomenico, I've never met him.

"If people here ever saw the X-ray of his thigh, his thigh was in fragments. It's a miracle that this kid is walking, let alone playing hockey."

Burke also talked about the Atlantic based portion of the QMJHL.

"I know there are people who lament the loss of the American Hockey League, I think the problem was you needed a critical mass of teams and once even one or two teams left it made it economically unfeasible for the other teams," said Burke to News 88.9.

Sea Dogs beat reporter Scott Briggs had an excellent update on former Sea Dogs captain Alex Grant in the Telegraph-Journal last week. The Antigonish, N.S., native suffered a broken left wrist, pulled ligaments in his neck and a bruised jaw. He is out of action for four to six months.

"I just remember knowing I was pretty lucky, even though I knew I had been injured,'' said Grant. "My wrist was killing me, but I could wiggle my toes and move my fingertips. When I first got hit, I wanted to get up, but I couldn't. The impact was so hard that I just felt out of it.''

The Pittsburgh Penguins later confirmed that Grant would be out of action for roughly six months. He was expected to contend for a roster spot with the American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.

Stanislav Galiev has stated that one of his goals entering the new season is to make the Russian world junior team. A big leap forward for the Washington Capitals prospect would be suiting up for the Russian team that will play the QMJHL all-stars in the Subway Super Series this year.

"We've talked on the phone,” said Galiev abut the national team to Sport-Express (translated into English by Slava Malamud on Japers’ Rink). “I think I will play in the Super Series that will be held this fall in Canada. That will be a place for me to show what I can do. The desire, of course, is great."

When asked if he has been able to pick up any French while playing in the Quebec circuit, Galiev had this response:

"No, I've got enough on my plate trying to learn English and how to play at center"

At the time of this post, the Station Nation Facebook page was three members shy of 500. If you haven’t joined, what are you waiting for? A great place for discussion about Saint John’s junior hockey team.

Photo credits: David Connell; News 88.9

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