Monday, May 31, 2010

SAUVE OFFICIALLY SIGNED BY CANUCKS

As Station Nation reported last week, Yann Sauve has signed what is believed to be a three year entry level contract with the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks. The rumored deal was officially announced this afternoon by the hockey club.

According to CapGeek.com, the deal is reportedly worth just above $2 million over the three year span.

Sauve was selected by Vancouver in the second round - 41st overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. The signing announcement comes a day prior to the league’s June 1 deadline for signing ’08 drafted players.

The 20-year old defenseman has attended Vancouver training camp for the last two seasons but still appears to be a bit of a mystery to Canucks fans and media.

“But how good a Canuck prospect is he really?” asks the Vancouver Sun. “We'll begin to find out in the fall. All we know is that the Team Canada world junior team didn't invite Sauve to their final evaluation camps in either 2008 or 2009.”

The Rigaud, Quebec native put together his best season in his four-year QMJHL career this past year, helping Saint John reach the league final. Sauve recorded seven goals and 29 assists for 36 points.

During the 2009-10 campaign, he was named the QMJHL Scholastic Player of the Month in November 2009, the defensive player of the week (Oct. 19-25) and was a member of the QMJHL Team in the 2009 Subway Super Series between Canada and Russia.

In the playoffs, Sauve had five goals and 10 assists in 21 games.

Sauve was drafted by Saint John with the first overall pick in the 2006 QMJHL Entry draft.

In 251 regular season games, Sauve has 20 goals and 82 assists for 102 points. In the playoffs, the 6’3” defenseman has six goals and 14 assists in 39 games. His game total leads all Saint John players in their five-year franchise history.

If the 2008 Top Prospects Game participant doesn’t make the Canucks roster or one of their minor league affiliates, he could return to Saint John for an over-age campaign.

Also signed today by the Canucks today were free agents defenseman Lee Sweatt and Chris Tanev.

Sweatt, 24, split the 2009-10 season between Riga Dynamo (KHL) and TPS Turku (FNL). With the Dynamo, the Elburn, Illinois native recorded seven points (2-5-7) and 18 penalty minutes in 37 games. He also collected 16 points (9-7-16) and eight penalty minutes in 21 games with TPS Turku.

Tanev, 20, spent the 2009-10 season with the Rochester Institute of Technology, notching 28 points (10-18-28) and four penalty minutes in 41 games. He also led his team in plus/minus (+34).

“Canucks were looking to add organizational depth on the blue-line and it would appear all three additions would spend time with Moose,” reports the Winnipeg Sun on Twitter.

Sauve joins Nicholas Petersen as Sea Dog players who have been signed by their respective NHL team's in the past week.

- with files from SaintJohnSeaDogs.com and TSN.ca.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

TURK UPDATE

From Halifax Mooseheads play-by-play man John Moore on Twitter:


Rumors that Saint John Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant is a strong candidate for the Tampa Bay Lightning coaching vacancy began last week.

A TRIP AROUND THE 'Q'

By Bert Richardson
Station Nation Staff


With the QMJHL Entry Draft just a week away, let’s take a trip around the league to see what’s happening before the big weekend.

TRADING FRONT QUITE
Halifax Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell says that teams are struggling to find assets for any big trades.

"Right now, teams are trying to get something for nothing," said Russell to Metro Halifax, noting that many teams are trying to purge excess over-agers for whatever they can get.

“There are lots of rumors surrounding various trades throughout the QMJHL,” says the PEI Rocket newsletter.

The trade period opens this Friday at the draft in Drummondville.

WHAT ABOUT CORBEIL?
The Colorado Avalanche have told Halifax Mooseheads net minder Peter Delmas that he will not be signed by the club before the June 1 deadline for 2008 drafted players. The news means that Delmas will likely be back as an over-ager next season, creating a logjam in the Moose crease.

With Delmas back, Mathieu Corbeil could be on his way out of town. Corbeil played most of the year for the Moose last year and is expected to be picked in the NHL draft next month. With his age, you have to wonder if Saint John will not try and land the prized goalie.

A deal would make sense for the Sea Dogs, possibly allowing Corbeil to take over this year and then stay around as a 20-year old for the 2012 Memorial Cup run.

A deal with Saint John has been tossed around the rumor mill a bit, a transaction that could include Halifax native and Vancouver Canucks draft pick Steven Anthony.

SCHURMAN OFF TO LEWISTON?
The Maine Hockey Journal reports that there will likely be a press conference in the next few weeks regarding the future of the Lewiston MAINEiacs' front office.

“It’s been long rumored that current Moncton Wildcat General Manager Bill Schurman will be brought in some capacity, which may include team president,” says the Journal. “Schurman’s son Tim is the assistant general manager of the Maineiacs.”

Schruman, coming off a Presidents Cup win, really has nothing left to prove in Moncton. The Wildcats and Maineiacs meet twice in the pre-season.

The Lewiston Sun Journal has a run down of all the expected trades involving the Maineiacs.

KABANOV CAN’T DECIDE
With all the media attention that Kirill Kabanov received at the NHL Draft Combine yesterday, the once highly touted Russian finally cleared up several questions about his future in North America. But he still isn’t sure about his future with the Moncton Wildcats, the team that holds his CHL rights.

From Buzzing the Net:

Kabanov said he'll play anywhere next season -- "The NHL team (that drafts him) will tell me ... where they send me to play, I will do it" -- but isn't sure if that includes Moncton, which holds his Canadian Hockey League rights.

"We haven't spoke about that, not yet," he said.

In 22 games with Moncton this season, Kabanov had 10 goals and 13 assists.


FIRST OVERALL
The majority of scouts believe that Montreal area defenseman Michael Matheson is the best player available at this year's draft. But, like any good Quebec prospect in the past few seasons, he is playing the NCAA card.

His agent says, however, they will have a firm decision made prior to draft day.

“It’s difficult to decide, there are a lot of good options and a lot of different opinions to look at so I will get as much information as possible and make the best decision,” said Matheson to TheSuburban.com.

Matheson was selected by QMJHL central scouting as the best player available for this year’s player picking process. The Baie-Comeau Drakkar have the first overall pick.

JUNIOR ON THE MOVE?
The Montreal Junior could be on the move – to a new arena.

The city of Laval currently has plans to build a new $93 million entertainment complex which would include a 7,500 seat arena.

“So far, both the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Montreal Canadiens' American Hockey League affiliate, and the Montreal Juniors, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise currently playing out of the Verdun Auditorium, have expressed interest to Laval in becoming anchor tenant,” reports the Montreal Gazette.

THIS IS YOUR WAKEUP CALL
Speaking of the Junior, the team may be replacing their Gatorade bottles with coffee cups four times this season.

Montreal has scheduled four games to be played at 10:35 am local time in an effort to allow schools to pay a visit to Verdun Auditorium.

The Junior will play Cape Breton on November 11, Rouyn-Noranda on December 12, Lewiston on February 8, and Bathurst on February 23.

TWO YEARS AGO
It was two years ago today that Shippagan native and Vancouver Canucks draft pick Luc Bourdon was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident.

"Luc was a winner, he was a competitor," said Kent Hughes, his agent to TSN on the fateful day. "There was no quit in him. He persevered through a lot. He was a great guy and a great teammate."

He was only 21.

Editors Note: Bert Richardson has been following the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Saint John Sea Dogs for the past five seasons. He has been writing for Station Nation over the past year. He can be contacted at stationnation@yahoo.ca and follow him on twitter @SNBert.

GALIEV, PROSPECTS SHOW OFF AT COMBINE

Saint John Sea Dogs forward Stanislav Galiev struggled at the National Hockey League’s Draft Combine yesterday at the Westin Airport Hotel in Toronto, Ont.

“More to hockey than upper body strength, but Stanislav Galiev only completed 13 pushups and one rep on bench press,” reports Bio Steel Sports on Twitter, who partnered with TSN for a live blog yesterday afternoon.

Galiev began the day at 8:30 am local time, participating in a group with Cam Fowler, Eric Grudbanson, Patrick McNally, Jonathon Merrill, Brock Nelson, Mark Pysyk, and Jordan Weal.

The draft combine rarely has a great affect on draft positions, but it allows teams to check out top end prospects without skates and sticks.

Galiev is picked to go late in the first round or early in the second by most publications. The Hockey News draft preview recently named the Russian 37th overall among those eligible for this year’s draft.

“You watch him play and you say, ‘Wow, is he ever talented,’” one scout said in the preview. “But he only had 15 goals and that’s not a lot for a guy in the Quebec league who is supposed to be that talented and playing on the top line. It kind of makes you wonder.”

The first overall pick in the 2009 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft scored 15 goals and recorded 45 assists in 67 games for Saint John in the regular season. In the post-season, he registered eight goals and 11 assists but failed to get a single point in the league final.

Galiev recently did a question and answer session with Open Ice Hockey, where he was asked about his personal life.

JM: Girls in Russia compared to where you’re playing now.
SG: I don’t know really. I don’t have a lot of time for girls. Obviously Russia has the hotter girls.


One player that did impress at the combine was former Moncton Wildcat and fellow Russian Kirill Kabanov. Many believe that after today’s combine and by having JP Barry as his agent, Kabanov may have worked himself back into the first round of the draft.

“It was my mistake,” Kabanov admitted to The Hockey News when asked about Moncton. “I was stupid and I recognize that now.”

Following his departure from Moncton, Kabanov was also booted off a Russian team. The once highly touted prospect said that he was tossed off the team after taking a peanut off the coach’s desk without asking.

“I took one peanut!” Kabanov said incredulously. “It wasn't even his office, it was just a room in the dressing room.”

Kabanov also claimed the coach referred to him as “American bubblegum,” a Soviet-era slur dating back to the Cold War when Russians couldn't get the confectionery, but talked about how great it was.

Needless to say, Kabanov prefers North America.

“I want to be a star, I want to play in the NHL,” he said. “Next year I'll play wherever my NHL team tells me. CHL, AHL, I don't care.”

Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin – who are battling for the first pick in the draft – both had eventful days. Hall pulled out early, saying he was a little banged up from the Memorial Cup. Seguin had a great day, producing results well above average.

Besides physical tests, players are also run through a number of metal examinations by being asked a series of questions. Here are few of the bizarre questions asked as stated by The Hockey News and Yahoo! Sports:

  • If you were to entertain yourself for a day would you choose to do so with a handgun or a well written poem?
  • What's the largest river in Canada?
  • If I shipped you off to Iraq today would you consider yourself a sniper, helicopter pilot or a medic?
  • If your hometown was invaded by North Korea and you had to leave one of your family members behind, who would it be?
  • You have to climb Mount Everest, and you need to choose eight people (from a list) to take with you, who do you take and why?
  • If you saw a hundred dollar bill on the ground would you pick it up?
  • What's your favourite beer?

The NHL Entry Draft will be held in Los Angeles on June 25-26.

NHL.com recently posted a draft profile of Galiev.

Friday, May 28, 2010

NEWS 88.9 LAUNCHES iPHONE APP

The official broadcaster of Saint John Sea Dogs hockey, News 88.9, officially launched an iPhone app today.

The new app will allow Sea Dogs fans to listen Port City's junior hockey team any time, any where - even without access to a computer.

"If you're a Rogers Wireless or Fido iPhone customer, you can listen to News 88.9 or choose from over 50 station streams featuring rock, country, top 40, news/talk, sports and multi-lingual formats," reports a news release.

The news means that with a touch of a button, fans can listen to the Sea Dogs, the Moncton Wildcats on News 91.9, or the Halifax Mooseheads on News 95.7.

For more information, click HERE.

TURK ON THE MOVE?

Rumors have begun circulating around the hockey world that Saint John Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant may be a candidate for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s vacant coaching position.

The mumbles began earlier this week when former Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman was named general manager of the Lightning. One of the first things required of Yzerman will be to find a head coach that is good with young and developing players – something Gallant showed the Canadian Hockey League this season in Saint John.

"I talked to Stevie (Yzerman) last week and he....had some decisions to make," Gallant said to News 88.9. "We've never talked, discussed nothing."

News 88.9 also reports that Gallant just so happened to be in the Tampa area this past week but told “The Afternoon News with Tom Young” that it was simply a coincidence.

Yzerman, who constructed Canada’s gold medal winning Olympic team, is a close friend with Gallant and were teammates for a number of years in Detroit. The Sea Dogs head coach even took time off this past season to take in Yzerman’s Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Toronto.

Naturally, Gallant would appear to be a perfect fit, forcing a number of publications to state that “Turk” is a candidate for the job posting.

“There are plenty of qualified candidates and somebody suggested to me that Yzerman might start with Gerard Gallant, coach of the year in Canadian juniors and former Red Wings teammate,” says Craig Custance of the Sporting News. “It was just an educated guess from somebody who knows Yzerman well, but it certainly makes sense. “

“Steve is the kind of guy who would like familiarity with somebody,” an NHL source told Sporting News.

The St. Petersburg Times also features Gallant as a possible candidate.

“The junior Canadian Hockey League's coach of the year after leading Saint John to a franchise-record 53 wins,” reports the Tampa Bay area newspaper. “The former Lightning left wing was Yzerman's teammate with the Red Wings from 1984-93. The two still are close.”

Yzerman and his new head coach will replace Brian Lawton and Rick Tocchet who were fired following a tough season for the Lightning.

Gallant played in 52 games with Tampa Bay over two seasons, recording four goals and nine assists.

The Summerside, Prince Edward Island native has coaching experience with both the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders of the NHL.

A rookie coach this past year with Saint John, Gallant took the Sea Dogs to within two wins of the President’s Cup. He was named both QMJHL and CHL Coach of the Year after the leading the Dogs to a franchise record 53 regular season wins.

Yzerman is in Toronto today at the NHL Draft Combine and is preparing for the entry draft which takes place on June 25-26.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

PETERSEN INKS WITH THE PENS

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that graduating Saint John Sea Dogs winger Nicholas Petersen has been signed to a three year entry level contract by the National Hockey League club.

The 20-year old and now former Sea Dog was drafted in the fourth round, 121 overall by the Penguins in the 2009 NHL entry draft.

Petersen attended Pittsburgh's camp last season and was expected to be assigned to the American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins or the East Coast Hockey League’s Wheeling Nailers. Instead, he was reassigned to the junior for one last season.

The Wakefield, Quebec native had a productive season with the Dogs, scoring 39 goals and dishing out 40 assists. Along with his 79 regular season points, Petersen led the league in plus/minus rating for much of the season.

In the post-season, Petersen recorded seven goals and 21 assists while helping Saint John reach the league final for the first time in franchise history.

Petersen’s QMJHL rights were shipped to Saint John at this past seasons draft to complete a deal that saw fellow Penguins draft pick Alex Grant be sent to Shawinigan. In 178 career games, the right winger scored 87 goals and 111 assists.

Next-up for Petersen – who is believed to be the only married player in the Quebec circuit – will be Pens training camp in the fall. He will be joined by former Sea Dog Alex Grant and current Saint John defenseman Simon Despres.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

REPORT: SAUVE SIGNS WITH CANUCKS

According to capgeek.com and a Twitter report from a reliable source, Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Yann Sauve has signed a three-year entry level contract with the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks.

While not official, the website reports that the 20 year old veteran is rumored to be getting a three year deal worth $2,012,500 - or roughly $670,000 a year.



Selected by the Vancouver Canucks in Round Two (41st Overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, SauvĂ© is coming off of his best season in the Q. The Rigaud, QC native was a finalist for the Kevin Lowe Trophy as the top defensive defenseman in the league in 2009-10 and also took home Investors Group Top Defenseman honours as the Sea Dogs’ most valuable blue-liner.

Sauve was drafted by Saint John with the first overall pick in the 2006 QMJHL Entry draft.

In 251 regular season games, Sauve has 20 goals and 82 assists for 102 points. In the playoffs, the 6’3” defenseman has six goals and 14 assists in 39 games.

The deadline for signing 2008 draftees is June 1.

-With files from saintjohnseadogs.com and ‘Nucks Misconduct.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

SEA DOGS NOTEBOOK

‘PASSY’ BRINGS IT HOME
The MasterCard Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires owe a lot of credit to backup net minder Troy Passingham.

The former Sea Dogs backstop played the majority of the first half of the season for Spits before getting permanently yanked following Game Three of the semi-finals against Kitchener. Windsor would win four straight to overcome a 3-0 series deficit and advance to the OHL Final.

Passingham spent the 2007-08 season in Saint John, playing the role as third string goalie. His only two starts, both against the Moncton Wildcats, came during the holidays when Robert Mayer was participating at the World Junior’s. In his pair of battles, Passingham went 1-1 with a 3.02 GAA and 0.897 save percentage.

TURK ON HIS TROPHY
Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant reacted to his Coach of the Year award in the Columbus Dispatches Blue Jacket’s blog “Puck-Rakers.”

"A good team makes a good coach, and we had a real good team, some really good players this season," Gallant said. "We won 22 games in a row at one point, and you don't do that without some really talented players.

"But I'd be lying if I told you it wasn't nice to get recognized."

Gallant also spoke about his time in Columbus.

"Did I get the job because of Doug MacLean? I probably did, yeah," Gallant said. "But did I think I could do the job? I definitely did. And I think I did a pretty good job. There was a lot of pressure to win (in 2006-07). We didn't get off to a very good start, and they had a chance to hire Ken Hitchcock or Andy Murray. Those are two pretty big names among coaches.

"Here's how I look at it, though: It was a lot of fun, and I'd do it all over again. In a minute. I loved everything about Columbus -- the fans, the city ... everything. I'd do it all over again, absolutely."

An interesting comment from a fan: “mane ifs we still had that homie weed be winning stanleys glass.”

The blog also believes that the team is based out of “St. John’s.”

SCHUTZ, GERMAN SQUAD COME UP SHORT
Former Sea Dog Felix Schutz and his German squad came up one win short of capturing the countries first medal at the World Hockey Championships since 1934.

The Germans fell 3-1 to Sweden Sunday in the Bronze medal game.

Schutz, a Buffalo Sabers 2006 draft choice, played in 67 games with the American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates this past season. The center put up 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points, 15 lesser points than he obtained last season.

The Erding, Germany native spent one-and-a-half seasons with Saint John, playing in 83 career games while registering 25 goals and 38 assists.

Hockey’s Future recently updated his status within the Sabers organization.

Schutz will be suiting up for Germany at the World Championships, joining teammate Phillip Gogulla. Schutz's offensive numbers regressed this season but he has really displayed his defensive grit as a two-way centerman in his two years so far in Portland. He has a non-stop motor and could be a useful third or fourth-line centerman in Buffalo someday. His entry -level contract is up at the end of the 2010-11 season.

Right now Schutz will be playing out next year in Portland unless he has an unbelievable training camp in Buffalo. His limited offensive upside and size could be his biggest impediment to someday making the Sabres.


STICH GOING BACK TO EUROPE
According the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s official Twitter page, former Sea Dogs defenseman David Stich has signed with HC Liberec, a professional team in his native Czech Republic.

Stich was expected to go pro this past season but was forced to return back to junior. After spending three seasons with the Sea Dogs, the tough-as-nails Stich was traded to the Montreal Junior.

The 20-year old played in 47 games with Montreal, getting six goals and 23 assists while assisting the Junior to a first round playoff exit against the Gatineau Olympiques.

HOFFMAN TO BE SIGNED SOON
Jeff Hicks of the Kitchener Record said in his blog earlier this week he expects Mike Hoffman to be signed “before the NHL Draft.”

Hicks, who writes the Kitchener Rangers blog Ranger Rap, says that Hoffman is just back from a vacation in Punta Cuna.

BEAULIEU BACK IN LONDON
Sea Dogs defenseman Nathan Beaulieu has headed home for the summer and told the London Free Press that the QMJHL Final was a wild experience.

“The Battle of New Brunswick, it was pretty crazy,” Beaulieu said of playing every game in front of at least 6,400 fans. “We lost but we had a lot of 17-, 18-year-olds on the team. We were young.”

Beaulieu also credits Simon Despres for his strong season; a campaign that has him setup to potentially go in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

“He drove me to the rink,” Beaulieu said, “and he really took me under his wing. He was great. He went through it where people would say stupid things to him, but he said you can’t get frustrated.

“You have to listen to them because it’ll help you get better. You can’t get frustrated.”

GALIEV AT THE COMBINE
The 2010 NHL Draft Combine opened yesterday. The 100 best draft-eligible players from North America and Europe will spend May 24-29 in Toronto, going through a vigorous round of physical, medical and psychological tests that could determine where they are chosen.

The list of invitees includes Saint John Russian forward Stanislav Galiev.

"A kid who a team might say, 'What the heck? Let's interview them,' all of a sudden he impresses in the interview," Director of NHL Central Scouting E.J. McGuire told NHL.com. "Some of them coming into the Combine might be on a team's list, but work their way off for some reason, or vice versa."

According to the TSN website, The Sports Network will have coverage of the combine this Friday at 5:00 pm on TSN2.

CLOCK ALMOST DONE
After looking at several photos on Facebook, it is safe to say that the Harbour Station clock retrofit will be completed in the next couple of days.

"The resolution in the screen will be the same as the Bell Centre (in Montreal)," our Twitter friend Warren Beatteay told the Telegraph-Journal on Monday.

"Most of the editing (for graphic displays) on the old screen was done with Microsoft Paint," he said. "Now, we've got two different computers controlling the main screen, plus a new video suite we're installing which will put us at a whole new level."

"You'll be able to pick up the whiskers on any of the Saint John Sea Dogs players' faces," Mike Caddell, general manager of Harbour Station, said.

New high defination cameras have also been purchased, meaning that the entire Sea Dogs in-game experience will change for the better this season.

The screens on the street sign outside the building will also be replaced with HD.

ON THE RADIO
According to Sea Dogs’ Twitter page, CHL Coach of the Year Gerard Gallant will be on CBC Radio One’s (91.3 FM) Information Morning tomorrow at 7:40 am.

FACEBOOK PAGE
Some problems have arisen on the Station Nation Facebook page over the past week. Our rules are simple: talk/debate about hockey – not all this personal junk. Done.

If you have any problems, questions, or concerns plaese email us at stationnation@yahoo.ca.

Monday, May 24, 2010

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SPITS DO IT AGAIN

FINAL: Wheat Kings 1, Spitfires 9

Windsor Spitfires Win Second Straight MasterCard Memorial Cup

PRESS RELEASE
BRANDON, Man. – Adam Henrique and Ryan Ellis each registered three points while the Spitfires recorded 52 shots on goal en route to a convincing 9-1 victory over the host Brandon Wheat Kings to win the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

The Spitfires become just the eighth team in CHL history to win back-to-back titles, and the first team since the Kamloops Blazers in 1994 and 1995.

Adam Henrique opened the scoring at 6:34 with a wrist-shot which he directed between the pads of Jacob De Serres.
Then, with 33 seconds left in the first period, the Spitfires doubled their lead. The Wheat Kings failed to clear the puck causing a turnover in their own zone which opened the door for Eric Wellwood who jumped on a loose puck and beat De Serres top shelf.

Windsor took a 3-0 advantage 4:34 into the second period with Brent Raedeke in the penalty box for slashing. Taylor Hall let go a powerful wrist-shot from the left face-off dot that found an opening over the goaltender’s shoulder.

The Wheat Kings cut the lead to two less than four minutes later. Matt Calvert recorded his third goal of the MasterCard Memorial Cup on the power play. But it wasn’t long before the Spitfires added to their lead. After a lengthy review from the video replay both, Greg Nemisz’s goal was confirmed, putting Windsor up 4-1.

Zach Kassian and Cam Fowler added markers prior to the end of the second period to put the game out of reach.

Zach Kassian, Adam Henrique and Dale Mitchell recorded goals in the third period.

Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves to record his fourth win of the tournament.

Following the game, Taylor Hall was awarded the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup MVP, his second in as many years. He completed the tournament with 5 goals and 4 assists.

Of note, Cam Fowler became just the 21st player in history to win both a gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship as well as a Memorial Cup title in the same year. His teammate, Ryan Ellis, accomplished the feat last year.

One of the players who also managed to win both titles is former Brandon Wheat King Trevor Kidd who won gold with Canada in 1991 before winning a Memorial Cup with the Spokane Chiefs. Kidd participated in the opening ceremonies prior to the game before a Westman Place crowd of 5,609.


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Sunday, May 23, 2010

MEMORIAL CUP GAME DAY

GAME DAY
What:
2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup Final
Who: Brandon Wheat Kings vs Windsor Spitfires
When: 8:00 pm
Where: Keystone Centre, Brandon, Manitoba

BRANDON WHEAT KINGS
Regular season record:
50-18-1-3 (104 points)
League regular season ranking: Second overall, second in Eastern Conference
Combined regular season and playoff home record: 31-10-0-2
Regular season goal differential: 321-204
Playoff goal differential: 56-51
Playoff record: 9-6
Memorial Cup appearances: Three (1979, 1995 and 1996)
Memorial Cup championships: None
League championships: Two (1979 and 1996)
Preview: Rogers Sportsnet

WINDSOR SPITFIRES
Regular season record:
50-12-1-5 (106 points)
League regular season ranking: Second overall, first in Western Conference
Combined regular season and playoff road record: 29-10-1-3
Regular season goal differential: 331-203
Playoff goal differential: 90-54
Playoff record: 16-3
Memorial Cup appearances: Two (1988 and 2009)
Memorial Cup championships: One (2009)
League championships: Two (2009 and 2010)
Preview: Rogers Sportsnet

The 92nd edition of the Memorial Cup wraps up today in Brandon, Man. as the host Wheat Kings take on the defending champion Windsor Spitfires.

READY FOR A REMATCH
After the Windsor Spitfires dominated the home squad 9-3 in the opening game of the Memorial Cup, the Brandon Wheat Kings will look for revenge tonight.

“Obviously it was quite a goal differential in the first game,” said Wheat Kings’ co-captain Brayden Schenn to MemorialCup.com. “But if you look at it, I think we’re a lot better team from the beginning of the tournament until now. We’re going to have to come out with a good start. That will be a key.”

After getting off to a rough start, the Wheaties shutout the Moncton Wildcats before dropping a decision against the Calgary Hitmen. But Brandon would bounce back in the semi-final, defeating the Hitmen 5-4 in overtime to advance to the Final.

“The guys were really excited about the win last night,” said Wheat Kings’ forward Aaron Lewadniuk Friday. “It’s really exciting and everyone is just looking forward to the opportunity to be able to win it on our home rink here.”

ONE LAST TIME
Win or lose, several players will not play junior hockey ever again. For the Spitfires, a lot of their core players who have been dominant over the past two seasons will not return.

“A lot of these kids are going on to their own careers after Sunday’s game,” said Spitfires’ coach Bob Boughner to MemorialCup.com. “We’ve talked about it a lot. Sunday is going to be mixed emotions I think. Obviously our focus is going to be on trying to win this thing but afterwards there will be a lot of emotions I’m sure.”

THEY’LL BE READY
After cruising through most of the round-robin at this tournament, the Spitfires will not be underestimating the Wheat Kings.

"We're not going to underestimate them," Spitfires defenceman Mark Cundari said after practice Saturday to the Windsor Star. "It's not going to be a walk in the park."

"It's pretty much what they tried to do the first game," Spitfires defenceman Ryan Ellis said. "They've got some big bodies and our job is to get it out as quickly as possible."

LOOKING TO MAKE HISTORY
According to Canoe.ca, Spitfire star forward Taylor Hall could become the first player to win back-to-back Memorial Cup MVP awards.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” said Hall. “That’s pretty special in its own right, too. In saying that, no one on our team can get MVP if we don’t win. That’s not what we’re worried about. It’s an incredible accomplishment and something I’d be proud about, but at the end of the day, I’d rather have the ring.”

Tonight could very well be Hall’s final junior game.

“I’ve kind of thought about that. It could be my last go at it and that’s special. I have a really good opportunity to finish off strong,” said Hall, who is expected to go in the first two picks of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles next month. “All I’ve got to do is work hard for 60 minutes. If I can perform like my team relies on me to do, I’ll be fine.”

“THE HIT”
In the first meeting of these two teams, Travis Hamonic hammered Taylor Hall into the end boards.


JOIN THE CLUB
It’s not like the Wheat Kings goal is impossible. The last two Western Hockey League teams to win the event as host did not win the league title.

"That's something we think about," Brandon defenseman Colby Robak admitted Saturday to Rogers Sportsnet. "Hopefully the hockey gods are in our favour and keep the streak alive."

OTHER STUFF
Full preview from Yahoo! Sports blog Buzzing the Net

Bowling, shopping, waterslides, and mini-golf – welcome to the world of Windsor Spitfire free time. (Canadian Press)

The Spitfires still think about the late Mickey Renaud. (Calgary Herald)

Windsor is on a roll entering the game. (Windsor Star)

MEDIA
Television:
Rogers Sportsnet, RDS, and NHL Network (USA)
Webcast: Sportsnet.ca
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

GALLANT NAMED CHL COACH OF THE YEAR

Saint John Sea Dogs Head Coach Gerard Gallant was named the Canadian Hockey League’s Old Dutch Coach of the Year this afternoon at the league’s awards show in Brandon, Man.

The former Detroit Red Wing tough guy beat Dale Hunter of the London Knights and Mark Holick of the Kootenay Ice to capture the award.

It is the first Sea Dog won CHL award in the clubs five-year franchise history.

Gallant, along with Hockey Operations Director Mike Kelly, was hired by the club on April 24, 2009 following the firing of head coach and general manager Jacques Beaulieu.

The two made an immediate impact, drafting the likes of Pierre Durepos, Jonathan Huberdeau, Stanislav Galiev, and Tomas Jurco among others.

Gallant led the Sea Dogs to a franchise first Atlantic Division and regular season title. Saint John finished atop the league with a record of 52-15 for 107 points and a 0.776 winning percentage.

The Sea Dogs set a number of team records including most points (109), most wins (52), and longest winning streak (22 games).

In the post-season, Gallant led his young squad all the way to their first birth in the President’s Cup Final. Despite falling in six games to the Moncton Wildcats, Saint John finished with a strong 14-7 record in the playoffs. The Final series featured “Turk” trying to climb over the median that separated the two team’s benches at the Moncton Coliseum.

The former Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach defeated Danny Flynn of the Wildcats and Mario Duhamel of the Drummondville Voltigeurs to win the QMJHL’s Coach of the Year award in March.

Sea Dogs sniper Mike Hoffman fell short of capturing the two awards he was nominated for. The Ottawa Senators prospect was nominated for both the CCM Player of the Year Award and Husky Sportsman of the Year.

Jordan Eberle and his clutch goal scoring skills captured the Player of the Year honor. The Regina Pat forward was not present to accept his award because he has been participating at the World Hockey Championships in Cologne, Germany.

Jordan Bast of the Western Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors was named Sportsman of the Year.

In other awards, Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers was given the Top Prospect award, Brandon Kozun of the Calgary Hitmen was awarded the Top Scorer trophy, Ryan Hayes of the Whalers was named Humanitarian of the Year, Dominic Jalbert of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens was named the Scholastic Player of the Year, Matt Puempel of the Peterborough Petes was named Rookie of the Year, Jake Allen of the Voltigeurs was named Goaltender of the Year, and David Savard of the Wildcats was named Defenseman of the Year.

DOGS UP FOR THREE CHL AWARDS

Mike Hoffman is looking to add to his large collection of trophies.

The Saint John Sea Dogs center is up for two Canadian Hockey League awards tonight which will be presented at Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium in Brandon, Man. Tickets are only $10.00 to see some of the best and brightest from the three junior leagues.

Hoffman is nominated for the CCM Player of Year and Husky Sportsman of the Year.

The 20-year old who led the Sea Dogs in scoring this past season is up against Canadian junior hero Jordan Eberle of the Regina Pats and top prospect Tyler Seguin from the Plymouth Whalers for Player of the Year honors.

The Sportsman of the Year award nominees are Hoffman, Jordan Bast of the Moose Jaws Warriors, and Ryan Spooner of the Peterborough Petes.

“Mike definitely had an outstanding season for us,” said Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant to the Telegraph-Journal. “He's one of the top players and it's a great accomplishment for him."

Gallant is also up for a national award. The rookie bench boss is up against Mark Holick of the Kootenay Ice and Dale Hunter of the London Knights for Coach of the Year.

Hunter’s assistant in London is former Sea Dogs head coach and general manager Jacques Beaulieu.

"When you have a good team and you do your work in the summertime and your team does real well, then you get recognized as a coach," Gallant said.

The only other player in Sea Dogs franchise history to be nominated for a CHL award was Payton Liske, who fell short of obtaining the Scholastic Player of the Year honor last season.

The ceremony is believed to take place at 3:00 pm local time (5:00 pm AST) according to CHL.ca.

The full list of awards and nominees can be seen below:

Jack Link’s Top Prospect of the Year:
Brett Connolly, Prince George Cougars
Tyler Seguin, Plymouth Whalers
Brandon Gormley, Moncton Wildcats

Husky Sportsman of the Year:
Jason Bast, Moose Jaw Warriors
Ryan Spooner, Peterborough Petes
Mike Hoffman, Saint John Sea Dogs

Chrysler Dodge Top Scorer of the Year:
Brandon Kozun, Calgary Hitmen
Taylor Hall, Windsor Spitfires and Tyler Seguin, Plymouth Whalers
Sean Couturier, Drummondville Voltigeurs

Home Hardware Humanitarian of the Year:
Matt Fraser, Kootenay Ice
Ryan Hayes, Plymouth Whalers
Nick MacNeil, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles

Subway Scholastic Player of the Year:
Adam Lowry, Swift Current Broncos
Erik Gudbranson, Kingston Frontenacs
Dominic Jalbert, Chicoutimi Sagueneens

Old Dutch Coach of the Year:
Mark Holick, Kootenay Ice
Dale Hunter, London Knights
Gerard Gallant, Saint John Sea Dogs

BMO Rookie of the Year:
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Red Deer Rebels
Matt Puempel, Peterborough Petes
Petr Straka, Rimouski Oceanic

Prospects Hockey Goaltender of the Year:
Martin Jones, Calgary Hitmen
Chris Carrozzi, Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors
Jake Allen, Drummondville Voltigeurs

Right Guard Defenceman of the Year:
Tyson Barrie, Kelowna Rockets
Jacob Muzzin, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
David Savard, Moncton Wildcats

CCM Player of the Year:
Jordan Eberle, Regina Pats
Tyler Seguin, Plymouth Whalers
Mike Hoffman, Saint John Sea Dogs
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WHEAT KINGS HEADED TO THE FINAL

FINAL/OT: Wheat Kings 5, Hitmen 4

Fehr Scores in OT and lifts Wheat Kings to MasterCard Memorial Cup Final

PRESS RELEASE
BRANDON, Man. – Jay Fehr scored his third goal of the tournament 3:16 into overtime to send the Brandon Wheat Kings to their first MasterCard Memorial Cup championship game in just over thirty years with a 5-4 win over the Calgary Hitmen.

The intensity level was off the charts in the first few minutes of the opening frame. Bodies were flying everywhere with both teams trying to take over the momentum. Calgary got the first power play opportunity at 13:31 after Darren Bestland went to the penalty box for holding and the Hitmen capitalized. Joel Broda jumped on his own rebound and pushed a backhand shot past a sprawling De Serres.

Less than thirty seconds later, Ian Schultz quieted the hometown crowd by blasting a wrist-shot from the bottom of the face-off circle behind the Wheat Kings’ goaltender. The Hitmen retreated to their dressing room with a comfortable 2-0 lead after the first period.

Alexander Urbom cut the lead in half at 1:35 with his first goal of the MasterCard Memorial Cup to get the crowd going at Westman Place. Calgary regained their two-goal advantage after Tyler Fiddler broke into the offensive zone and blasted a hard slap-shot beyond Jacob De Serres at the midway mark. But it didn’t take long for the Wheat Kings to battle back. Matt Calvert registered his second goal of the tournament just two minutes later.

Travis Hamonic added a power play marker with ten seconds left to play in the second period to tie it up at three. The Wheat Kings outshot the Hitmen 15-4 in the second frame.

The fans at Westman Place exploded into cheer at 5:09 of the third period as Brandon took a 4-3 lead thanks to a blast off the stick of Colby Robak. But Misha Fisenko forced overtime scoring at 14:48 of the third period.

Jay Fehr sent the Wheat Kings to the MasterCard Memorial Cup championship game 3:16 into overtime.

Brayden Schenn was named the game’s first star. Martin Jones received second star honours while Fehr, the hero on this night, got the nod for the game’s third star.

The Brandon Wheat Kings will battle the Windsor Spitfires in the championship game of the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup on Rogers Sportsnet and RDS which kicks off on Sunday at 6 pm (CDT). The game can also be seen live on Sportsnet.ca and on the NHL Network in the U.S.

MAYER NAMED CO-MVP FOR POST-SEASON PLAY

PRINCETON, N.J. - Cincinnati goaltenders Jeremy Smith and former Saint John Sea Dog Robert Mayer were named co-Most Valuable Players of the 2010 Kelly Cup Playoffs last night.

Mayer made 22 saves as the Cincinnati Cyclones captured the East Coast Hockey League’s Kellt Cup.

“Some people counted us out, but we didn’t,” Mayer said after the game to Cincinnati.com.

Smith appeared in 17 playoff games, posting a record of 9-8 with one shutout, a 2.67 goals-against average and a save percentage of .907.

Mayer appeared in nine games with a 6-1 record, three shutouts, a 1.54 goals-against average and a save percentage of .938. He played all five games of the Finals going 4-1 with one shutout, a 1.68 goals-against average and a save percentage of .933.

"I think you have to believe. If we didn't believe, we didn't do it," Mayer said to NHL.com about coming back for a 3-0 series deficit in the semi-final. "We thought we could wear them down. The bounces started to go our way."

"For me, it's the same thing. It doesn't matter if it's the playoffs," he said. "So far, it's been pretty successful. You get excited -- nervous, too. I don't really think about it. I just think about winning the game."

This is the fourth straight year that a goaltender has won the Kelly Cup Most Valuable Player Award as Smith and Mayer join Idaho's Steve Silverthorn (2007), Cincinnati's Cedrick Desjardins (2008) and South Carolina's James Reimer.

-With files from ECHL.com

MAYER HELPS CYCLONES CLAIM KELLY CUP

PRESS RELEASE
CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Cincinnati Cyclones used a 22 save performance from Robert Mayer to collect a 2-1 win over the Idaho Steelheads on Friday night at U.S. Bank Arena. An ECHL playoff record crowd of 13,483 was on hand for the contest. The total passes the 12,722 that witnessed the game six win for the Cyclones against Las Vegas in the 2008 Kelly Cup Final.

This was the fifth game of the 2010 Kelly Cup Finals featuring the American Conference champion Cincinnati Cyclones and the National Conference winner Idaho Steelheads. With the victory, the Cyclones clinch their second Kelly Cup title in three years. Cincinnati wins this final round in the USA Collision Centers postseason, four games to one over the Steelheads.

The Cyclones scored the lone goal of the first period when Dustin Sproat slipped his eleventh goal of the postseason past Rejean Beauchemin at 8:44. Brett Motherwell and Ian McKenzie had the assists. McKenzie grabbed a loose puck in the Cincinnati end and fed it ahead on the right wing side to Motherwell who carried it into the Idaho end. Eluding a defender, Motherwell went to the right post and slipped the puck cross ice as Beauchemin committed to his shot. Sproat grabbed the puck on the left wing side and slipped it into the vacant net for the goal that tied him for the league lead. The shots on goal favored the Cyclones, 7-4, in the period.

The teams exchanged goals in the second period. Idaho tied the game at 5:51 when Matt McKnight netted his fifth goal from Brandan Kushniruk and Cody Lampl. Cincinnati would regain the lead at 10:23 when Jason Jozsa got to a puck at the right point. Jozsa’s shot on goal was tipped in front by Brett Robinson and the rookie’s ninth goal of the playoffs gave the club a 2-1 lead. The shots favored Idaho, 12-5, in the period.

There was no scoring in the third period and the shots favored Idaho, 7-4, in the period and 23-16 for the game.

Robert Mayer collected the win, his sixth of the playoffs with a 22 save effort. Rejean Beauchemin took the loss, turning away 14 shots. Idaho was zero for two on the power play, while the Cyclones were zero for two with the man-advantage.

The crowd of 13,483 was the largest of the 2010 Kelly Cup postseason, surpassing the 5678 set last night. It was the largest crowd in Cyclones and ECHL playoff history and the club is now averaging 4232 fans per postseason contest, third-best in the Kelly Cup playoffs. The Cyclones have already set a team record for combined attendance between the regular season and playoffs, attracting 190,708 fans.

Tonight’s game was also the 24th Kelly Cup playoff game, surpassing the club record of 22 postseason games played by the 2008 championship team and is one more than South Carolina (23) had in its title run a year ago. Between the regular season and playoffs, the Cyclones have played 96 games.

The Cyclones posted a 44-25-3 record in the regular season and entered the postseason as the fifth placed team in the American Conference. Cincinnati upset fourth-seeded and defending Kelly Cup champion South Carolina in the opening round. The best of five series went the full five contests—the last three being decided in overtime, all at Charleston. In the semifinals, the Cyclones went a full seven games before knocking off Charlotte—the regular season American Conference champion. Cincinnati claimed the American Conference championship after rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the series with Reading and winning the final four games to advance.

Idaho had the ECHL’s best regular season record with a 48-17-7 mark and took the Brabham Cup. The Steelheads enjoyed a first round bye and then swept Utah in four games before dispatching Stockton in six games. Idaho is looking to become the first team in ECHL history to record three Kelly Cup championships in a seven year span.

Friday, May 21, 2010

CHL MOVES INTO THE PRESENT

The Canadian Hockey League made major strides today by announcing new technological initiatives.

The biggest news from the CHL’s press conference today, being held in Brandon, Man. at the MasterCard Memorial Cup, was the announcement that the league will be completely revamping all 60 team’s websites.

"On behalf of the Canadian Hockey League we are very excited to launch the CHL’s new online network next season," said CHL President David Branch. "This initiative will enable us to expand our network to reach new fans, while creating new and exciting content across the entire CHL."

Along with every team in the Western, Ontario, and Quebec league getting new websites, each league’s homepage will also be updated.

According to several tweets, the new pages will be similar to the NHL’s and MLB’s, where every team has the same layout but with different features.

The news is much needed for several sites across the CHL. Many teams’ websites are lacking important information or have a horrid layout.

"We are thrilled to be working with the CHL to build the largest online sports network in Canada," said David Watkins, MRX’s Vice President of Business Development. "We have already started working with the leagues and teams to ensure that the website features they want are provided, with the mutual goal of generating traffic while encouraging fans to explore the entire network on a regular basis."

The news that the CHL was generating new websites was leaked this past week by the PEI Rocket’s newsletter.

“The redesign will provide a more streamlined set of websites with improved navigation, consistent advertising opportunities with national and league sponsor recognition, standard schedule and ticket locations on every site, along with the ability for leagues and teams to easily share news and video features for fans across the entire CHL to enjoy,” read a CHL press release.

With the Rocket leaking the news of the plans and creating a YouTube page in the past few weeks, there very well could be a video channel setup for every team in the league for next season.

In other CHL news, the league finally made it official that they will indeed be featured in EA Sports’ NHL ‘11 next season.

“The CHL is very excited to partner with an industry leader like EA SPORTS to create a brand new way for CHL fans to associate with their favorite CHL teams and players while playing one of the best sports games in the world,” said Branch. “This opportunity also provides EA SPORTS fans around the world the ability to learn more about the next wave of NHL stars as they compete in the best development league in the world.”

“It’s exciting to have the CHL integrated into our game for the first time,” said Jordan Edelstein, VP of Marketing, EA SPORTS. “Their inclusion will make NHL 11 the most definitive and complete hockey experience available.”

The licensing agreement between EA SPORTS and the CHL allows the following to be included in NHL 11:
  • Ability to play with all 60 teams that make up the CHL
  • Names and Likenesses of players that are on the rosters of a CHL team
  • MasterCard Memorial Cup
  • CHL new RBK Edge Jersey design in NHL 11
  • WHL, OHL and QMJHL logos and league structures

The CHL integration in NHL 11 will tie to several modes in the game, including Be A Pro, Be A GM, Tournament Mode, Season Mode and Playoff Mode.

NHL 11 will be available for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system with an MSRP of $59.99. It is developed by EA Canada in Burnaby, B.C. The game has not yet been rated by the ESRB or PEGI.

Many league officials and players chimed in over the exciting news.

“Me personally? Never,” said Taylor Hall to the Toronto Sun when asked how many times he’s played as ‘Hall’ on an NHL video game

“But throughout the Memorial Cup, I’ve got a really good record against my teammates in NHL10,” he added.

“It’s going to be an extra opportunity for our fans across the CHL to know more about our players through the new video game with EA Sports,” QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau said.

-With files from the Canadian Hockey League

MEMORIAL CUP GAME DAY

GAME DAY
What:
2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup: Semi-Finals
Who: Brandon Wheat Kings vs Calgary Hitmem
When: 9:00 pm
Where: Keystone Centre, Brandon, Manitoba

BRANDON WHEAT KINGS
Regular season record:
50-18-1-3 (104 points)
League regular season ranking: Second overall, second in Eastern Conference
Combined regular season and playoff home record: 31-10-0-2
Regular season goal differential: 321-204
Playoff goal differential: 56-51
Playoff record: 9-6
Memorial Cup appearances: Three (1979, 1995 and 1996)
Memorial Cup championships: None
League championships: Two (1979 and 1996)
Preview: Rogers Sportsnet

CALGARY HITMEN
Regular season record:
52-17-1-2 (107 points)
League regular season ranking: First overall, first in Eastern Conference
Combined regular season and playoff road record: 33-12-1-0
Regular season goal differential: 269-177
Playoff goal differential: 96-56
Playoff record: 16-7
Memorial Cup appearances: 1999
Memorial Cup championships: None
League championships: 1999, 2010
Preview: Rogers Sportsnet

In a rematch of Wednesday’s final round-robin game, the Calgary Hitmen face the Brandon Wheat Kings tonight with the winner advancing to Sunday’s Memorial Cup Final.


READY FOR A REMATCH
The two teams met in the WHL’s Eastern Conference final and again on Wednesday in the final round robin game of the tournament so it’s safe to say that they know each other well and don’t really like each other very much.

“I think we know what we’re getting into and they know what they’re getting into,” said Hitmen co-captain Michael Stone. “We’re two teams that don’t like each other and I wouldn’t see it going any differently than it has before.”

“Obviously you never want to lose to a team like we have the last couple of times,” said Wheat Kings’ defenceman Travis Hamonic. “It’s kind of frustrating at times but we just have to put everything behind us right now. It’s a Game 7 mentality for both teams. The winner moves on and the loser goes home and starts their summer training. We don’t want that right now.” (MemorialCup.com)

LIVE BLOG
Join Yahoo! Sports Jr. Hockey Editor Sunaya Sapurji and Buzzing the Net blogger Neate Sager live from the MasterCard Memorial Cup as they blog from the semifinal tonight at 9:00 pm.

KOZUN IS BACK IN
Like a lot of other hockey players, Brandon Kozun doesn’t enjoy watching the game a whole lot. Kozun has been unable to play his role as a sniper in the Memorial Cup because of an ankle injury. That is expected to change tonight.

“I’m very excited,” Kozun said. “I’m ready to go and I’ve got a lot of built up energy ready. I’ve wanted to get out there the last two (games). It’s tough for me. I kind of shake the entire game and get a little nervous. It’s tough to watch on the sidelines and it’s going to be nice to be out there.”

“I think if you watched that practice you could see how excited I am,” Kozun said. “It felt really good. There’s not much I can’t do right now. It’s nice to get back on the ice. I felt really comfortable out there.” (MemorialCup.com)

TIME TO STEP UP
Brandon Wheat Kings net minder Jacob De Serres has had an odd Cup run. But with his team’s season on the line, the past will be the last thing on his mind.

“I’m looking forward to it,” De Serres said after practice Thursday. “I’m ready to go.”

He admitted his tournament start was not been ideal.

“I wanted to do so well, so bad, I caught myself trying to do too much,” the six-foot-two, 180-pound De Serres said. “I need to battle harder.

“I feel very confident going in.” (Montreal Gazette)

SPITS FEELING GOOD
Despite head coach Bob Boughner’s best efforts, the Windsor Spitfires hit the hotel waterslide on the teams off day Wednesday.

In what Taylor Hall called a “16-man luge,” the players hit the twisting slide led by Zack Kassian.

“I was the first one down and got hit in the back,” Kassian said.

Hall said it was quite the gathering.

“I think at one point, the slide was bending a bit,” Hall said.

Boughner didn’t seem too upset they ignored his wishes.

“I’m glad they had fun,” he said. (Montreal Gazette)

GLENNIE RETURNS
Wheat Kings forward Scott Glennie also practiced Friday morning and will be available for Friday's game. Glennie missed the second and third periods of Wednesday's round robin game.

"It was just basically a little banged up and I guess it was just a decision from the trainer and Kelly (McCrimmon) not to play me the rest of the game," Glennie said.

When asked if he wanted to get back in the game, he said: "Rest is a good thing. Quite honestly, it's a big game today and just to rest up for the rest of the game was necessary." (Rogers Sportsnet)

OTHER STUFF
Full preview from Yahoo! Sports blog “Buzzing The Net.”

Is it even possible for Bob Boughner to be fired by the Spitfires? (Toronto Sun)

The Hitmen are sick of the Windsor Spitfires love fest. (CBC)

The top five goals at the 2010 Memorial Cup…. so far. (Buzzing the Net)

MEDIA
Television:
Rogers Sportsnet, RDS, and NHL Network (USA)
Webcast: Sportsnet.ca
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"THIS IS THE BEST SCHEDULE THAT WE'VE EVER HAD"

Today, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced the regular season schedule for the circuits 42nd season. The 2010-2011 campaign begins at the Moncton Coliseum on September 9 when the President's Cup Champion Moncton Wildcats host the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

612 games will be played by the 18 teams in the league, each playing 68 each. The busiest days of the week this year will be Fridays (188 games) and Saturdays (150 games).

Approximately 81% of the games will be played on week-ends or during the Christmas Holiday break in order to maximize the players' academics, according to the QMJHL website.

The defending regular season champion Saint John Sea Dogs kick things off on Friday, September 10 against the PEI Rocket at Harbour Station. The Dogs will then host the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles the following Saturday. Their first road trip will be on Sunday, September 19 when the squad travels across the always evil Confederation Bridge to play the Rocket.

This season will mark the first time in three years that Saint John has opened the campaign up at home. Their first two seasons started on home ice but have been on the road for the past three season's. The Sea Dogs are 3-2 all-time in season opening games.

Saint John will end the season on Sunday, March 20 at home against PEI.

Saint John has 20 coveted Friday/Saturday home games this season, an improvement of five over last year’s total.

Also of note, all Sea Dogs Sunday home games will start at 3:00 pm this year pending approval from the league in June. The Port City team has publically said that they wished to have Sunday home games start earlier but were not allowed to because of league rules. Saint John could have held earlier start times for the past five years but some games still would have been held at 4:00 pm because of travel rules.

“This is the best schedule we’ve ever had,” said Team President Wayne Long to saintjohnseadogs.com. “We’ve got ten Friday night home games and ten Saturday night home games, which is great for us as well as our fans. We made a lot of progress as an organization, both on and off the ice, during the 09-10 campaign, and we look forward to carrying that momentum into season number six.”

The full schedule can be seen below:

Friday, Sept. 10 – 7:30pm vs. P.E.I. Rocket
Saturday, Sept. 11 – 7:00pm vs. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Saturday, Sept. 18 – 7:00pm vs. Halifax Mooseheads
Sunday, Sept. 19 – 4:00pm @ P.E.I. Rocket
Friday, Sept. 24 – 8:05pm @ Montreal Juniors
Saturday, Sept. 25 – 8:00pm @ Drummondville Voltigeurs
Friday, Oct. 1 – 7:00pm @ Halifax Mooseheads
Sunday, Oct. 3 – 4:00pm @ Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Friday, Oct. 8 – 7:30pm vs. Moncton Wildcats
Sunday, Oct. 10 – 3:00pm vs. Montreal Juniors
Tuesday, Oct. 12 – 7:00pm vs. Rimouski Oceanic
Saturday, Oct. 16 – 7:00pm vs. Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Sunday, Oct. 17 – 3:00pm vs. Victoriaville Tigres
Friday, Oct. 22 – 7:30pm @ Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Saturday, Oct. 23 – 7:00pm @ Halifax Mooseheads
Wednesday, Oct. 27 – 8:00pm @ Val-d’Or Foreurs
Friday, Oct. 29 – 8:30pm @ Val-d’Or Foreurs
Saturday, Oct. 30 – 8:30pm @ Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Sunday, Oct. 31 – 5:00pm @ Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Friday, Nov. 5 – 7:30pm vs. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Saturday, Nov. 6 – 7:00pm vs. Chicoutimi Sagueneens
Wednesday, Nov. 10 – 7:00pm vs. P.E.I. Rocket
Saturday, Nov. 13 – 7:00pm vs. Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Sunday, Nov. 14 – 3:00pm vs. Quebec Remparts
Saturday, Nov. 20 – 7:00pm @ Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Sunday, Nov. 21 – 4:00pm @ Moncton Wildcats
Friday, Nov. 26 – 7:30pm vs. Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Sunday, Nov. 28 – 3:00pm vs. Halifax Mooseheads
Friday, Dec. 3 – 7:30pm vs. Lewiston MAINEiacs
Saturday, Dec. 4 – 7:00pm vs. Gatineau Olympiques
Tuesday, Dec. 7 – 7:00pm @ P.E.I. Rocket
Friday, Dec. 10 – 8:00pm @ Lewiston MAINEiacs
Sunday, Dec. 12 – 3:00pm vs. Halifax Mooseheads
Friday, Dec. 17 – 7:00pm @ Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Saturday, Dec. 18 – 7:00pm @ Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Tuesday, Dec. 28 – 7:00pm @ P.E.I. Rocket
Thursday, Dec. 30 – 7:30pm @ Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Friday, Dec. 31 – 7:30pm vs. Moncton Wildcats
Sunday, Jan. 2 – 2:00pm @ Moncton Wildcats
Tuesday, Jan. 4 – 7:00pm vs. Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Saturday, Jan. 8 – 7:00pm @ Halifax Mooseheads
Tuesday, Jan. 11 – 7:00pm vs. P.E.I. Rocket
Friday, Jan. 14 – 7:30pm vs. Drummondville Voltigeurs
Saturday, Jan. 15 – 7:00pm vs. Drummondville Voltigeurs
Friday, Jan. 21 – 8:30pm @ Baie-Comeau Drakkar
Saturday, Jan. 22 – 5:00pm @ Chicoutimi Sagueneens
Sunday, Jan. 23 – 5:00pm @ Quebec Remparts
Thursday, Jan. 27 – 7:00pm @ Moncton Wildcats
Saturday, Jan. 29 – 7:00pm vs. Baie-Comeau Drakkar
Sunday, Jan. 30 – 3:00pm vs. Baie-Comeau Drakkar
Wednesday, Feb. 2 – 7:00pm vs. Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Friday, Feb. 4 – 7:30pm @ Moncton Wildcats
Saturday, Feb. 5 – 7:00pm @ Halifax Mooseheads
Friday, Feb. 11 – 7:00pm @ P.E.I. Rocket
Sunday, Feb. 13 – 3:00pm vs. Moncton Wildcats
Friday, Feb. 18 – 7:30pm vs. Val-d’Or Foreurs
Saturday, Feb. 19 – 7:00pm vs. Shawinigan Cataractes
Tuesday, Feb. 22 – 7:00pm vs. Halifax Mooseheads
Friday, Feb. 25 – 8:30pm @ Gatineau Olympiques
Saturday, Feb. 26 – 5:00pm @ Victoriaville Tigres
Sunday, Feb. 27 – 5:00pm @ Shawinigan Cataractes
Friday, March 4 – 7:30pm vs. Moncton Wildcats
Saturday, March 5 – 7:00pm vs. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Thursday, March 10 – 8:30pm @ Rimouski Oceanic
Friday, March 11 – 7:30pm @ Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Sunday, March 13 – 4:00pm @ Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Friday, March 18 – 7:30pm vs. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Sunday, March 20 – 3:00pm vs. P.E.I. Rocket

Station Nation is currently working on a total breakdown of the schedule.

To view the team’s 2010 pre-season schedule, click HERE.

Season tickets to the Sea Dogs’ 2010-11 campaign are now available for purchase. The deadline to take advantage of the team’s payment plan option is Tuesday, June 1. Sea Dogs season ticket holders enjoy several benefits such as a discount on team merchandise, priority access to playoff seats, and an invitation to exclusive events such as a season-opening barbeque with coaches and players. More information on full season, flex, and flex combo ticketing packages can be obtained by calling the Sea Dogs office at (506) 657-DOGS (3647).

-With files from saintjohnseadogs.com

Thursday, May 20, 2010

SEASON SCHEDULE TO BE RELEASED FRIDAY

According to the Saint John Sea Dogs’ official Twitter page, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will release their 2010-2011 regular season schedule Friday.

The QMJHL released the 2010 pre-season schedule yesterday.

The schedule will feature 68 games for all 18 teams in the Quebec circuit. The league announced in February that the divisions would be realigned for this season, creating a Maritime, Telus West, and Telus East division for the upcoming campaign.

At the same time, the scheduling format was adjusted to the following:

TELUS West
6 games against each opponent within the division: 30 games
4 games against each opponent in the TELUS East division: 24 games
2 games against each opponent in the Maritimes division: 12 games
1 game, in rotation, against two opponents in the Maritimes division: 2 games
Exception: Val-d’Or and Rouyn-Noranda will play each other eight times.

TELUS East
6 games against each opponent within the division: 30 games
4 games against each opponent in the TELUS West division: 24 games
2 games against each opponent in the Maritimes division: 12 games
1 game, in rotation, against two opponents in the Maritimes division: 2 games
Exception: Baie-Comeau and Chicoutimi will play each other eight times.

Maritimes
8 games against each opponent within the division: 40 games
2 games against each opponent in the TELUS East division: 12 games
2 games against each opponent in the TELUS West division: 12 games
1 game against four opponents of the TELUS East and TELUS West divisions, in rotation over a six-year period: 4 games.

Traditionally, the league champion opens up the regular season on home ice the day prior to the rest of the league beginning their fresh seasons.

The Sea Dogs have opened the year on the road for the past three seasons. The last two were both at the KC Irving Regional Centre in Bathurst.

S.N. 2009-10 REPORT CARD

BY STATION NATION STAFF

Well, that was quite a season.

After 21 playoff games and 68 regular season games, it is time to issue the Station Nation Season Report Card as school gets out for summer.

Players come and players go, but the ones that stuck around this season certainly showed that the Saint John Sea Dogs are doing their jobs by producing solid hockey players. Many players improved as the year went on, some stayed the same, while others took a nose dive.

Below, in no particular order, are our thoughts on the Sea Dogs of 2009-2010. There will be a brief summary followed by a grade and a preview of what each player may be like next year.

GOALTENDERS

Marco Cousineau
– By far the biggest trade by the Sea Dogs at the holiday trading session. Cousineau lived up to his billing, making some huge saves at huge times. His performance in game four of the President’s Cup Final was stuff of legend.

Grade: A+

Next Season: He’s going pro somewhere. Anaheim didn’t have a designated AHL team this season.

Karel St. Laurent – His regular season stats may show that he had a solid year as backup goaltender, but St. Laurent battled hard with consistency. There were often two Sea Dogs teams: the one that played in front of Cousineau/Gelinas and the one that played in front of St. Laurent. The lanky backstop showed signs of brilliance at times, but at other moments struggled to stop a beach ball.

Grade: B-

Next Season: The Sea Dogs will have to make a decision on their goaltending before the draft. St. Laurent may not be in those plans.

DEFENSEMAN
Yann Sauve – Inconsistent. At times Sauve showed why he was drafted first overall in the 2006 QMJHL Entry Draft. But at other times, the Vancouver Canucks draft pick really struggled in his own end. Also had a few brutal playoff games.

Grade: B

Next Season: Most think he is going to go pro but the Canucks are very confused when it comes to player development. It should be noted that Mike Hoffman, Nicholas Petersen, and Nicola Riopel all returned as overagers last year.

Simon Despres – The Pittsburgh Penguins first round pick had another strong campaign. This season, the Big Horse finally began to show some more of his offensive abilities along with his stellar play in his own end. Placed a few memorable open ice hits on opposing players.

Grade: A-

Next Season: He’ll be back on the blue line and will looked upon to lead a young – but developed defense core.

Gabriel Bourret – A bit of a surprise to even make the club, Bourret played some key minutes as a rookie this season. Played most of the year as the extra defenseman but did well with limited playing time.

Grade: B

Next Season: Could be a regular on the blue line if some things align.

Kevin Gagne – “The short one” was a fan favorite again this year because of his speedy and determined play. The former Rothsay Netherwood standout showed once again he can play against the best – and the biggest in the league. We wish he could win some more battles in the corner, though.

Grade: B

Next Season: Gagne will hopefully be fully recovered from his playoff long knee injury. It will be his third year as a Sea Dog and should be logging some big minutes.

Pierre Durepos – We didn’t really notice Durepos on the ice much this season – which we consider to be a good thing for a defenseman. The young New Brunswicker was always steady and never seemed be too panic under pressure. He is also a fan of Station Nation which is a positive.

Grade: B+

Next Season: He’ll be back doing what he does best – playing with balloons that float down to ice level.

Nathan Beaulieu – Break out season for Beaulieu. The 17-year old left fans with no doubt in their minds that his father Jacques made the right move by drafting him two years ago. He had some great goals and great fights but needs to improve on his roots in the defensive zone.

Grade: A

Next Season: Could be his best yet with scouts watching the projected early round NHL draft prospect.

Christian Morin – He was the gritty defenseman that every team needs. Morin, acquired during the trading period without much fanfare, proved to be a key part of the penalty kill turnaround. Blocked a lot of shots and got hit in the face about 30 times in the playoffs.

Grade: A

Next Season: Could be back as a 20-year old but a developed and young defensive core stands in his way.

FORWARDS

Mike Hoffman – This guy is legit. Easily the most skilled player to play in a Sea Dogs uniform in their five year history. He makes it look so easy, making fools of opposing defenseman. Very fast and has the ability to score any time he has the puck.

Grade: A+

Next Season: Likely headed to the Baby Sens of the AHL. Reports out of Ottawa say that the Senators will be signing him shortly.

Nicolas Petersen – Had a strong start, a strong finish, and did well everywhere in between. Petersen lived up to expectations and was excellent all season on the big line with Hoffman and Stanislav Galiev. Scoring the biggest goal in franchise history (OT goal in Game 4 vs Moncton) doesn’t hurt his cause.

Grade: A+

Next Season: Likely off to somewhere within the Penguins organization.

Stephen MacAulay – MacAulay proved his worth this season with his hard working play. He quietly put up some solid offensive numbers while not playing on a line that he designed to score goals. Most scouting agencies have him ranked to go in the late rounds of this year’s draft.

Grade: B+

Next Season: Hopefully will continue to develop from last season’s success.

Nicholas Pard – Despite breaking his foot in the playoffs and getting in a scrap at a Sean Kingston concert, Pard had an impressive season. We were impressed all season (especially in the second half) with his defensive play on the penalty kill.

Grade: A-

Next Season: In a situation similar to Alexandre Leduc’s last year. He could stick as a 20-year old if the Dogs think it is the right move.

Steven Anthony – It looked liked Anthony might finally have a breakout season, but a nagging groin injury put an end to that. After a hot start, the Canucks draft pick never really found his game again and could not defeat his old nemesis: consistency.

Grade: B-

Next Season: His name has already been thrown around in trade rumors.

Mike Thomas – Captain, warrior, and the QMJHL’s poster boy for violence in hockey. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a DVD of all his suspensions played in training camps across the league to show “what not to do.” He can still score big goals and fight with the best of them when he is not in detention.

Grade: B+

Next Season: Just like Brett Gallant, his roll is slowly being pinched out by the QMJHL. It will certainly be interesting to see if he sticks as an overager.

Danick Gauthier – Become a legend in the QMJHL Final by scoring several big goals. A gritty forward that isn’t afraid to take or place a big hit. He could hear his name called at the draft in June.

Grade: B+

Next Season: He will be back.

Aidan Kelly – Didn’t play much but did his role under limited ice time. Could be a third to fourth liner next season.

Grade: B

Next Season: He could be a regular in the lineup next year with a strong training camp.

Will Johnston – What a beast. Johnston showed that he can do more than just fight in the playoffs and has some okay offensive skills. His fight with Kalin Paul of the Screaming Eagles was a season highlight.

Grade: B-

Next Season: We’ll be stunned if he is back next season.

Chuckie Schembri – Showed some offensive skills in the playoffs by notching two goals and worked well while playing on the fourth line. He had a wild year in the QMJHL after being kicked off the Mooseheads during training camp.

Grade: B

Next Season: Like Johnston, we’ll be shocked to see him back.

Zack Phillips – He was certainly worth the price at the entry draft. Like many rookies, Phillips stuttered a bit to start the year but quickly turned it up. The Fredericton native showed signs of brilliance at times and will be a key part in the Sea Dogs’ 2012 Memorial Cup run.

Grade: B+

Next Season: Will be looked upon to play a more offensive roll with Hoffman and Petersen gone.

Stanislav Galiev – Depending on who you ask, Galiev had either an excellent rookie campaign or a disappointing first year. He is a solid skater and certainly has some offensive skills that could make him a force next year. Could play smarter at times on odd man rushes.

Grade: A-

Next Season: Could have a breakout year with the confidence of being affiliated with a NHL team.

Tomas Jurco – Set a Sea Dogs record for goals in a single season by a rookie. Jurco had a solid campaign, capped off by his jaw dropping shootout moves. Played in the shadows of Hoffman, Petersen, and Galiev for most of the year but is another key piece in the quest for 2012 glory.

Grade: B+

Next Season: Should be getting more ice time next year. With chicken pox not standing in his way, Jurco could break out.

Jonathan Huberdeau – Another shootout artist that lived up to expectations this year. He was said to be a “franchise player” entering the draft last year and could certainly lay the foundation for that next season. The boy lives to score goals.

Grade: B+

Next Season: In only his second year, he will be looked upon to help generate some offense.

Michael Kirkpatrick – The Sea Dogs veteran once again played out of the spotlight this season. Kirkpatrick, who led the league in playoff scoring, got off to a frustrating start but slowly turned his season around while playing on the second line. Showed that he can be a play maker as well as a goal scorer.

Grade: A+

Next Season: If Kirkpatrick does not turn pro, he could easily rip up the league. If the captain position is vacant, “Captain Kirk” could become reality.

NOTES: Olivier Ouellet quit school and was not given a report card… we could not speak about Marc-Antoine Gelinas without breaking out in tears… Benjamin Lecomte was forgotten… Tyrone Sock played, like, five minutes all year… Alexandre Leduc was also forgotten.