Thursday, September 30, 2010

JURCO FINALLY GOES VIRAL

By Bert Richardson
Station Nation Staff

On Marc h 11, 2010, the Saint John Sea Dogs visited Centre 200 to play the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Several things happened in that game: some man slipped on the ice after the game and was taken off on a stretcher, we lost a bet to the Cape Breton Post and still owe them a seal flipper pie, Sea Dogs captain Mike Thomas did colour commentary on News 88.9, and, most importantly, it was only Saint John’s second shootout loss of the season.

In that shootout, Tomas Jurco did this:



The following day in Sea Dogs post-game notebook, we had highlights of the goal along with a screen shot. JT called it “one the greatest shootout goals ever seen in a Canadian Hockey League game.”

Now, roughly six months later, Jurco’s goal is finally getting recognized.

Thanks in much part to Yahoo! Sports’ junior hockey blog “Buzzing the Net” and then later having the video linked to the popular NHL blog “Puck Daddy”, the video went somewhat viral six months after its prime.

The publicity led to TSN doing on a feature on Jurco yesterday which appeared on the evening broadcast of SportsCentre.



It was solid feature and hopefully several “casual fans” may decide to come out and watch the Slovak continue to develop like we all did last season.

Several people brought to our attention that TSN called Saint John “hardly the epicenter of the junior hockey world.”

It came off sounding kind of rude, but it probably wasn’t intentional (to come off that way). We wouldn’t exactly call it the “epicenter of junior hockey” either, but Saint John has a leg up on many CHL markets. Not to mention the fact that Saint John is one of the frontrunners to host the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

TSN also spelt Gerard Gallant’s name wrong. Apparently this is the biggest gaff in journalism.


They also listed Jurco with 15 points in six games when he actually has nine (six goals and three assists).


Also, TSN used our buddy Chris’ footage from Saturday’s game in Drummondville. This morning, the goal was listed as “trending” on the YouTube home page. The picture on the left is from this morning and picture on the right is from this afternoon. That’s a lot of page views.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

DOGS SLIP TO 8th IN TOP 10

The Saint John Sea Dogs are ranked eighth in the country in this week’s Canadian Hockey League BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 Rankings.

The Sea Dogs are coming off a disappointing 0-1-0-1 week. After falling on the road in Montreal on Friday night, Saint John blew a 5-1 second period lead and eventually lost 7-6 in a shootout at the Marcel Dionne Centre in Drummondville. Before the two loses, the Dogs had started the season with a 4-0-0-0 record.

Saint John should have a much easier week this time around, visiting two below .500 teams in the Halifax Mooseheads and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

In the pre-season Top 10 rankings (the only other list released so far this year) the Sea Dogs were ranked second.

Other Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams to make the list were Drummondville, Quebec, and Bathurst.

The weekly rankings of the CHL’s top 10 teams are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

Here is this week’s BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 Rankings:

1 - Drummondville Voltigeurs (6-0-0-0)
2 - Mississauga St. Michael's Majors (1-0-0-0)
3 - Tri-City Americans (2-0-0-0)
4 - Quebec Remparts (5-0-0-1)
5 - Kitchener Rangers (2-0-0-0)
6 - London Knights (2-0-0-0)
7 - Saskatoon Blades (2-0-0-0)
8 - Saint John Sea Dogs (4-1-0-1)
9 - Red Deer Rebels (2-0-0-0)
10 - Acadie-Bathurst Titan (5-2-0-0)

Honorable Mentions: Oshawa Generals, Brandon Wheat Kings, and Montreal Junior.

Photo Credit: Saint John Sea Dogs website

HOFFMAN SENT DOWN; PETERSEN HAS BIG NIGHT

HOFFMAN SENT TO AHL
After living every players’ dream of playing in Dundas, Ontario, the Ottawa Senators have sent Mike Hoffman to the American Hockey League.

The Senators announced the cut this morning just prior to the Binghamton Senators posting there training camp roster.

Other players re-assigned include goaltenders Mike Brodeur and Barry Brust; defencemen André Benoit, Eric Gryba, Geoff Kinrade and Craig Schira; and forwards Jason Bailey, Erik Condra, Corey Cowick, Kaspars Daugavins, David Dziurzynski, Colin Greening, Jim O’ Brien, Tim Spencer and Roman Wick.

The Senators lost to the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 last night in the annual Kraft Hockeyville game, played in Dundas, Ont. this year. There is no box score of the game available.

Hoffman is expected to play for the baby Senators this season after a solid training camp in Ottawa. Part of Binghamton training camp is being held Newfoundland this year.

PETERSEN BEGINS WITH A BANG
The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins began their pre-season last night, suffering a 7-6 shootout loss against the Syracuse Crunch.

Former Sea Dogs forward Nick Petersen (pictured) quietly had an impressive game, recording three assists on the night.

Marco Cousineau started in net for the Crunch, sporting the same pads as he did in Saint John last season.

Photo Credit: The Wilkes-Blog

DESPRES COULD OPEN SEASON WITH PENS

The ‘Big Horse’ is making a big impression on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“Simon Despres continues to keep himself in the conversation to make the NHL roster,” writes Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburg Post Gazette’s Penguins blog Empty Netters. “Coming into camp, there seemed to be an assumption that he would simply be returned to juniors while Lovejoy, Deryk Engelland, Corey Potter, Andrew Hutchinson and others would battle for the No. 6 and 7 spots. But thanks to a mostly unimpressive effort by those four and Despres' natural talent, he could very well be on the NHL roster come Oct. 7.”

Despres can play in a maximum of nine National Hockey League games in order to keep is junior eligibility. If he plays more than nine, he can't return to Saint John. Because he is only 19, the defenseman cannot play in the American Hockey League.

"We haven't ruled it out," general manager Ray Shero said to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about possibly keeping Despres to open the NHL season. "He's earned this second exhibition game. It wasn't something we had scheduled for him, but he's earned it. That's pretty good."

The Saint John Sea Dog saw just over 16 minutes of ice time in Pittsburgh’s 4-1 pre-season win over the Chicago Blackhawks last night. He was also a +1 in his second pre-season appearance of the year.

"There doesn't seem to be a lot of respect given to his opponents or his teammates, and I mean that in a good way," Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said. "He's ... not just handing the puck over to (Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin) like a young player might do."

Rob Rossi mentions in his article that Despres could be on the same track as Kris Letang back in 2006-07 when the former QMJHL star started the season with the Pens before returning to the Q and dominating.

Rossi added that “the Penguins have no control on how he is used by his QMJHL club. However, assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald will monitor his development and communicate with Saint John officials.”

The Pens play two more pre-season games – one in Chicago and one Detroit – before opening the regular season at home against the Philadelphia Flyers on October 7.

If Despres appears in the Penguins’ lineup for a regular season game, he will be the first Saint John Sea Dog to play in a NHL game.

Photo Credit: Empty Netters

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

DESPRES, HOFFMAN EXPECTED TO PLAY TONIGHT

Simon Despres and Mike Hoffman are expected to play for their respective National Hockey League clubs tonight in pre-season action.

Despres and the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at 8:00 pm at the brand new CONSOL Energy Centre.

Here is the full Penguins lineup per Empty Netters:

Forwards - Mark Letestu, Brett Sterling (above), Chris Kunitz, Dustin Jeffrey, Mike Rupp, Mike Comrie, Maxime Talbot, Craig Adams, Nick Johnson, Eric Tangradi, Arron Asham and Evgeni Malkin

Defensemen - Alex Goligoski, Zbynek Michalek, Deryk Engelland, Ben Lovejoy, Paul Martin, Steve Wagner and Simon Despres

Goaltenders - Brent Johnson and John Curry.
Despres has been solid training camp with the Pens and could get a taste of the NHL before being sent back to the Saint John Sea Dogs.

“From what I saw in the third preseason game, Simon Despres doesn’t so much shoot the puck as he does slingshot the thing at the net,” writes Stoosh of The Pensblog. “What a shot that kid has developed. He needs to be careful so he doesn’t kill some goalie when he goes back to juniors.”

“The Pens can give him a nine-game tryout once the season starts before sending him back,” he added. “While he’s actually made a pretty strong case to stick with the big club, the problem here is that because of his age, he can only play this year in either the NHL or the QMJHL (he can’t go to Wilkes-Barre until his junior season is over). If he stays here for the whole season, he’s going to be getting third-pairing minutes or sitting in the press box. He’s slated to be one of the top defensemen in the Q this year, and has a legitimate chance to play for Canada’s World Junior squad this year.”

Meanwhile, Mike Hoffman will play in a building not so CONSOL Energy Centre like.

About 1,000 fans are expected to invade the J.L. Grightmire Arena in Dundas, Ontario for Kraft Hockeyville this evening. The Senators will take on the Buffalo Sabres.

Although Hockeyville is sponsored by CBC, the game can been seen across the country on TSN beginning at 8:00 pm.

Here are the Sens offensive lines per OttawaSenators.com:

Jarkko Ruutu-Chris Kelly-Chris Neil
Peter Regin-Zack Smith-Jesse Winchester
Mike Hoffman-Corey Locke-Bobby Butler
Roman Wick-Cody Bass-Ryan Keller

SEA DOGS NOTEBOOK

MORE DRAFT RANKINGS
DanSallows.com is probably the most underrated website in hockey right now. Swallows, a hockey scout, has unreal coverage of NHL prospects with very, very in depth coverage.

Last week, Sallows dove into the 2011 NHL Draft and listed his top 50 prospects. Included on the list, of course, were Jonathan Huberdeau (8th), Tomas Jurco (17th), and Nathan Beaulieu (34th). Surprisingly, rather than Zach Phillips binge placed on the list as the fourth Sea Dog, Ryan Tesink came in at 44th.

“Reminds me a little of Jonathan Toews on the ics, as he plays a very good complete game, and is a dependable two-way forward,” writes Sallows. “He can beat you all over the ice with his determination and smarts. Off to an incredible start with 3 goals and 9 points to go with a +10 rating after his first 4 games with the Sea Dogs.”

TURK ON ‘INSIDE THE Q’
Sea Dogs Head Coach Gerard Gallant was on the QMJHL radio program “Inside the Q” last week and can be heard on the Q website.

NO TIMETABLE FOR SAUVE’S RETURN
According to the QMI News Agency (via the Toronto Sun), there has been no timetable set for Yann Sauve’s return to the ice after being hit by a car in downtown Vancouver during Canucks rookie camp. It was later declared that the former/current Sea Dogs defenseman suffered a concussion.

“He has been riding a stationary bicycle to remain in game shape but has not yet been cleared to skate,” reported the agency last Thursday.

Sauve did not take part in any of Canucks main camp. He is expected to play with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose this season but is eligible to return to Saint John as a 20-year old.

SPORTSNET STUFF
Rogers Sportsnet junior hockey columnist Patrick King returned from his summer vacation, blessing us with an edition of “burning question” around the Canadian Hockey League.

“Which team will win the right to host the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup,” writes King in question two. “Shawinigan, Cape Breton, Halifax and Saint John each filed letters of intent to host the tournament. Each has something working in its favour with Saint John rumoured to have an inside track. The hosting rights will be awarded in April of this season.”

EAGLES GOING ALL OUT
Speaking of the 2012 Memorial Cup bid, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles are going all out with their bid already.

Check out THIS FACEBOOK ALBUM for more pictures.

JURCO FINALLY GETTING NOTICED
Well, it’s about time.

Tomas Jurco’s amazing shootout from last season in Cape Breton is finally getting the attention that it deserves. As a result, there has no doubt been some buzz created over the Sea Dogs’ star sophomore Slovakian (trying saying that five times fast).

The article, posted on Yahoo! Sports’ junior hockey ‘Buzzing The Net’, already has 10 comments, 79 shares on Facebook, and 13 tweets on Twitter.

COUTURIER BEATS DOGS; WINS THIRD STAR OF THE WEEK
Sean Couturier recorded a goal and two assists in Drummondville’s epic 7-6 comeback win over Saint John on Saturday night at Marcel Dionne Centre, helping him earn the Telus third star of the week.

Moncton Wildcat twin brothers Allain and Alex Saulnier were named the first and second star, respectively, this week.

BACK IN BLACK
As we mentioned yesterday, the Halifax Mooseheads will be bringing back their black ‘Halifax’scripted jerseys after a year’s absence on Friday night when they host Saint John. Due to regulations set by Reebok and the CHL, no teams were allowed to wear third jerseys last season.

The first 2,500 fans at the Metro Centre will be given a “Back in Black” Mooseheads t-shirt.

BABY PENS CAMP
Former Sea Dog Nick Petersen appears to be having a solid training camp with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.

“Nick Petersen didn’t stand out in NHL camp, but compared to AHL players today, he looked very skilled,” writes baby Pens reporter Jonathan Bombulie on his blog. “Good hands.”

The Penguins play their first pre-season game tonight against the Syracuse Crunch.

HOWES FIGHTIN’ WITH THOMAS
Former Sea Dogs sniper Scott Howes is looking to once again land a gig in the American Hockey League. After graduating from Saint John as an overager at the end of the 2007-08 season, Howes played in five games with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose before being demoted to the ECHL.

Now, Howes is fighting alongside Sea Dogs captain Mike Thomas for a job on the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons. The Barons held their first scrimmage this afternoon.

Howes played with the East Coast Hockey League’s Victoria Salmon Kings last year, recording 12 goals and 14 assists in 47 games. He also helped score one of best goals of the year in Victoria. Along with it being TSN’s ‘highlight of the night’, the play has over one million views on YouTube.

Monday, September 27, 2010

TALE OF TWO WEEKENDS

Two weekends at the opposite end of the spectrum are ahead for the Saint John Sea Dogs.

After going a disappointing 0-1-0-1 on their mini Quebec road swing, the Sea Dogs could get just what the doctor ordered this weekend.

The 4-1-0-1 Sea Dogs visit the Halifax Mooseheads on Friday night at the Metro Centre. The Mooseheads are coming three straight losses in Quebec and are 2-6-0-0 to start the season.

After finishing the league basement the past two seasons, Halifax is off to a slow start and even lost to the rebuilding Cape Breton Screaming Eagles earlier this year. Things got even worse in Moose Country this afternoon when it was announced that Vancouver Canucks prospect Sawyer Hannay has been suspended for three additional games.

On Friday, the Mooseheads will re-introduced their black Halifax scripted third jersey’s.

Saint John will then head to Cape Breton on Sunday afternoon where they will face the 2-4-0-0 Screaming Eagles.

Then, the opposition will change from pretenders to contenders.

On Friday, October 8th at 7:30 pm at Harbour Station, the Sea Dogs will take on the rival Moncton Wildcats in the first contest between the two since game six of the Presidents Cup Final.

The Wildcats just got a lot better today with news that Brandon Gormley and Kirill Kabanov will be returning from National Hockey League camps to Moncton this week.

The Kabanov gong show from last season could very well carry over to this year. The New York Islanders prospect showed up late for practice twice during training camp in Long Island.

"I spoke to (Islanders General Manager) Garth Snow this morning,” said Wildcats Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Danny Flynn in a release, “he informed me that Kirill Kabanov was reassigned to the Wildcats. For the most part they were very happy with his on ice performance but feel reassignment to Moncton for a full season is the next step in his development."

It was an epic journey for Kabanov last season which involved a battle with the IIHF, a wrist injury, was (sort of) thrown off two teams, stole some peanuts, lost his agent, and then slipped all the way into the third round of this summer’s draft.

Then on Sunday, October 10th at Harbour Station, the Montreal Junior make their only visit to Harbour Station this season. The Junior, who defeated the Sea Dogs last Friday in Verdun, are expected to be one the best teams in the Canadian Hockey League this season.

Montreal’s lineup will also feature Montreal Canadiens 2009 first round pick Louis Leblanc, who was released from the Habs’ training camp roster earlier today.

Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Sunday, September 26, 2010

MacAULAY SENT BACK TO DOGS; NHL CAMP UPDATES

MacAULAY COMING BACK
Stephen MacAulay is heading back to Saint John.

The St. Louis Blues have released the Saint John Sea Dogs forward from their training camp roster. MacAulay will rejoin his junior team in Saint John shortly.

Also sent to their junior clubs were defensemen Brett Ponich (Portland) and David Shields (Erie) as well as forwards Cody Beach (Calgary) and Chris DeSousa (London).

Of note, former Quebec Major Junior Hockey League star goaltender Jake Allen was sent to the Blues’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen.

The Sea Dogs forward was selected by St. Louis in the sixth round, 164th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Last season, the Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native played mostly on Saint John’s third and fourth line and recorded eight goals and 13 assists 56 regular season matches. In the post-season, MacAulay added another two goals and eight assists.

MacAulay joined Beach as the only players at main camp who were selected in this past summer’s NHL draft. The gritty forward stayed longer at camp than expected, lasting longer then fellow Sea Dogs forwards Steven Anthony and Stanislav Galiev.

He was scheduled to play in a pre-season game with the club last week but did not appear in the lineup.

STILL AWAY
Simon Despres is now the only Sea Dog still away at an NHL camp. The ‘Big Horse’ was a plus two last night for the Pittsburgh Penguins when they defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“Simon Despres is going to be an absolute force in this league,” writes Daniel Fabrizi of Examiner.com. “Although he may not make the team this year, expect him to be a shoe-in for the squad in 2011-2012. It would be pointless to bring him in as a 7th or 8th defensemen and not have him play. One more dominating year in juniors will give this kid all the confidence he needs to make the next step to the NHL. He's incredibly quick, smart with the puck, gritty as well. At 19 years old, Simon Despres knows and has what it takes to play at a high level in the NHL.”

TO THE FARM
Former Sea Dog Chris DiDomenico was issued to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs after being cut by the Chicago Blackhawks today. The former scoring standout is looking to play his first full season of hockey since 2008-09.

Also sent to the AHL was defenseman Shawn Lalonde.

According to a Blackhawks press release, Chicago’s training camp roster now stands at 35 active players, which includes 21 forwards, 10 defensemen and four goaltenders.

READY TO ROLL
One other Sea Dog is currently away at camp - AHL that is. Mike Thomas is currently in Oklahoma City getting set to partake in Barons training camp after he was cut by the Edmonton Oilers.

Camp begins on September 27 at the Cox Convention Center at 10 am, reports a Barons press release. The camp will be a mix of players already assigned to the Barons by Edmonton along with players who have been invited to training camp as free agents. On ice training camp sessions are open to the public, are free of charge and will begin at 10 a.m. each morning for the first three days of camp.

The Barons will take the ice in the first ever Blue/White Intersquad game September 30 at 7:05 p.m. at the Cox Center.

Thomas is eligible to return to Saint John as a 20-year old if he is not signed by the club.

MR. MAYER GETS THE WIN
Robert Mayer played for the Montreal Canadiens in a pre-season game against the Ottawa Senators on Friday night at the Bell Centre. The Hubs were victorious over the Sens, taking the exhibition match 4-2.

Mayer turned away 18-of-19 shots to get the win after Alex Auld started in net and stopped 11-of-12 shots. Unlike a certain other Canadiens goaltender, he was not booed off the ice.

Photo Credit: Sea Dogs Newsletter

VIDEO: Jurco's Shootout Goal vs Drummondville

Here is Tomas Jurco's shootout goal from the Sea Dogs 7-6 loss in Drummondville last night.

Huge, huge thanks to our friend Chris Phillips of HockeyFights.com for making this video for us.

POSTSCRIPT: Sea Dogs 6, Voltigeurs 7

SEA DOGS – VOLTIGEURS GAME AT A GLANCE
Final Score/SO: Saint John 6, Drummondville 7
Saint John Goals: Danick Gauthier (1), Steven Anthony (2), Jonathan Huberdeau (N/A), Scott Oke (1,2), and Tomas Jurco (6).
Drummondville Goals: Jean-Philippe Mathieu (1), Sean Couturier (7), Marc-Olivier Vachon (3), Julien Tremblay (3), Nicolas Dionne (1), and Jonathan Brunelle (4).
Winning Goaltender: Guillaume Nadeau
Losing Goaltender: Frederic Piche
News 88.9 Top Dog: Scott Oke

THE NUMBERS
Power Play: Voltigeurs: 1/5 , Sea Dogs: 0/3
Shots on Goal: Voltigeurs: 13+12+10+6=41, Sea Dogs: 19+7+6+0=32
Length: 2:40
Attendance: 2,716

SAINT JOHN SCRATCHES
Missing due to National Hockey League camps were defenseman Simon Despres and forward Stephen MacAulay. Despres was a +2 in a pre-season game last night with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Also not in the lineup was Mike Thomas who is currently attending Oklahoma City Barons’ training camp.

WHAT WENT DOWN
A night after suffering their first loss of the season, the Saint John Sea Dogs got off to a quick start in Drummondville in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action on Saturday night.

Danick Gauthier batted home the puck in mid-air at 2:22 to make it 1-0 for the visitors. Just over three minutes, Steven Anthony recorded his second in as many nights to double the Dogs’ lead.

But the Drummondville Voltigeurs would get one back in the first. Superstar Sean Couturier centered the puck for Marc-Oliver Vachon as he crossed the blue line, firing a hard shot that beat Frederic Piche to make it a 2-1 game.

But Saint John continued to fight in the first. Jonathan Huberdeau and Scott Oke added markers to make it a 4-1 Sea Dogs lead heading into intermission.

At 6:28 of the second, Tomas Jurco continued Saint John’s pouring on of offence with his sixth of the year to make it 5-1. But then, the Sea Dogs’ defence took a step back and began giving the Voltigeurs some space to work with. Julien Tremblay, Jonathan Brunelle, and J-C Mathieu all scored to cut Saint John’s lead to just one goal heading into the second intermission.

Scott Oke added his second of the game at 2:06 of the third to make it a two goal game once again. But the Volts would reply with a goal from Couturier to make it a one goal contest again. Drummondville completed the epic comeback at 12:00 when Nicolas Dionne was left alone in front to rip one past Piche and tie it at 6-6.

Drummondville would dominant most of the remaining time in the final frame as well as in overtime. Piche gave the Dogs a chance to win in extra time, making a tremendous glove stop on Vachon.

In the shootout, a 1-1 tie carried over into the fifth round where Ondrej Palat scored to give the Volts the improbable victory over Saint John.

STILL PERFECT
With the win, the Voltigeurs remain a perfect 6-0-0-0 on the young QMJHL season. They are the only remaining team in the Quebec circuit without a loss.

DON’T PANIC JUST YET…
We are six games into the season and after a hot start the Sea Dogs find themselves sputtering a bit at the moment. But fans shouldn’t be worried at all.

Last season, the Dogs started the year with four straight wins as well before losing two consecutive game –and we all know how last season turned out.

DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWN
It was clear that after taking a 5-1 lead in the second period, Saint John's defence didn’t play up to their potential.

“Team defence took a backseat after a strong start,” McKeen’s Hockey magazine scout @rick1042 told us on Twitter. “Careless turnovers and lost battles on the cycle. Coach won't like it.”

A number of Drummondville’s goals came via a cross crease pass or cross ice pass where the shooter was not being covered at all. Simon Despres is obviously a big loss at the moment, but the Sea Dogs have played much better defensively for the most part this year.

Defensemen Tyrone Sock and Nathan Beaulieu were the only Sea Dogs defenders with a minus rating at -1.

THE OKE MAN
Scott Oke recorded his first career QMJHL goal in the first period and followed it up with another in the third frame. He also was given the opportunity to record a not-official-hat-trick when Gerard Gallant gave him an opportunity in the shootout. Oke had his chance denied by a poke check from Volts' net minder Guillaume Nadeau.

SHOOTOUT TROUBLES
The Sea Dogs’ forte last season was in the breakaway challenge, losing only two all year. But last night, Saint John had their problems.

Tomas Jurco made yet another sick move. He skated into the zone and then began to go in backwards. He cut through the crease area while he turned around so he could get a forehand shot by Nadeau. It wasn’t as nice as the goal he had Cape Breton last season (which, thanks to Nathan White at Yahoo! Sports, is finally getting the attention it deserves) but it was defiantly another unique move. If you find video anywhere of the move, shoot us an e-mail to stationnation@yahoo.ca.

Even more jaw dropping then Jurco’s move was the fact that Jonathan Huberdeau was stopped on his opportunity. We believe that was Huberdeau’s first ever shootout miss in the QMJHL (Q site is busted so we can’t be sure).

Also missing for Saint John were – in order – Scott Oke, Michael Kirkpatrick, and Zach Phillips.

QUICK HITS
Steven Anthony now has two goals in two games since returning from Vancouver Canucks camp… this game featured five of the top prospects for the upcoming 2011 NHL Entry Draft in Sean Couturier, Jonathan Huberdeau, Tomas Jurco, Zach Phillips, and Nathan Beaulieu. The five combined to score three of 12 goals in the game… Frederic Piche sported some new equipment and mask for the first time (pictured above)… it was Saint John’s first extra time game of the year… the Sea Dogs go 0-1-0-1 on their mini Quebec road swing. They dropped to 1-1-0-0 on their five game road stretch which continues next weekend... this was the first of three meetings between the two... to relive the game, check out the SN Live Blog replay.
OUT OF TOWN
From The Canadian Press:

Elsewhere in the QMJHL it was Montreal 6 Val-d'Or 2, Moncton 5 Chicoutimi 4 (SO), Rouyn-Noranda 3 Victoriaville 1, P.E.I. 3 Cape Breton 1, Lewiston 2 Acadie-Bathurst 1 and Quebec 4 Halifax 1.

NEXT GAME
Saint John heads to Halifax on Friday to face the Mooseheads at 7:00 pm at the Metro Centre.

Photo credits: Mathieu Bibeau

DOGS COLLAPSE IN DRUMMONDVILLE

SN RECAP
FINAL/SO: Sea Dogs 6, Voltigeurs 7

DRUMMONDVILLE, Que – It looked like the Saint John Sea Dogs would cruise to an easy win over the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Saturday night.

But that changed quickly.

A 5-1 lead in the second period was blown by the Sea Dogs as the Voltigeurs climbed all the way back to a 7-6 shootout win in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action at the Marcel Dionne Centre.

After taking a 4-1 lead into the middle frame, it looked as though Saint John would continue to dominate the game. But slowly, Drummondville picked apart the Dogs’ defensive game, completing the comeback in the later stages of the third period.

Jean-Philippe Mathieu, Sean Couturier, Marc-Olivier Vachon, Julien Tremblay, Nicolas Dionne, and Jonathan Brunelle all scored for the victors. Guillaume Nadeau picked up the win in goal stopping 25 of 30 shots he faced. Dominic Graham allowed goal on the two he faced.

Saint John had goals from Jonathan Huberdeau, Tomas Jurco, Steven Anthony, and Danick Gauthier who all had single markers while Scott Oke added a pair. Frederic Piche made 35 saves in net in his first loss of the season.

FIRST PERIOD
The scoring got going at 2:22 of the first period. An odd bounce in front of the goal forced Danick Gauthier to bat the puck out of the air to beat Nadeau. The goal went under review, but it was ruled to be a legit marker.

The Voltigeurs almost tied the game a few minutes later with a long shot but it hit the outside of the post.

The Sea Dogs doubled their lead at 5:30 following a brutal turnover at the Voltigeurs' blue line. The play allowed Saint John to enter the zone on a three-on-none, where Danick Gauthier fed Steven Anthony down low. The Vancouver Canucks prospect beat Nadeau from an impossible angle and made it a 2-0 game.

After a Drummondville timeout, Saint John kept the pressure on. Nathan Beaulieu tried to center for Anthony but he had his stick tied up at the last minute. Then, Jonathan Huberdeau made a great move to get around his man but was denied by a huge pad stop by Nadeau.

At the other end, Julien Temblay was the victim of a huge pad save by Frederic Piche.

At 7:52, Michael Kirkpatrick headed off to the penalty box. Drummondville had some great chances but they could not score.

The Volts found the scoreboard at 12:59. Sean Couturier made a nice pass to a streaking Marc-Olivier Vachon as he entered the zone. He fired a shot by Piche to make it 2-1.

Drummondville fell asleep at 15:48 when they simply centered the puck after dishing it out of the corner. Huberdeau was there, easily beating Nadeau with a quick shot to make it 3-1.

After the goal, Nadeau would be replaced by Dominic Graham in the Voltigeurs crease.

At 17:53, a clean faceoff win resulted in Scott Oke partaking in a breakaway. Oke went to the backhand and beat a fallen Graham to make it 4-1 Dogs lead after 20 minutes.

Shots in the opening frame were 19-12 Sea Dogs.

SECOND PERIOD
Nadeau returned to the Voltigeurs crease to start the middle frame.

Anthony headed to the sin bin at 2:27 of the second for holding after he took down Tremblay. The Volts had some good pressure and opportunities but they could not find the back of the cage.

Saint John made it a 5-1 game at 6:28. Stanislav Galiev held on to the puck and performed a wraparound move. He quickly centered for Tomas Jurco, who deposited the puck into the cage to extend the Dogs’ lead.

But Drummondville would strike back. Tremblay had the puck at a sharp angle and fired a shot on goal but had it blocked. He found his own rebound and tried again, beating Piche five-hole with a pile of traffic in front of the net at 9:31.

Huberdeau was sent off for elbowing at 9:51 – and it would be a costly penalty.

On the power play, a pass from behind the net found Jonathan Brunelle in front. He went upstairs over a fallen Piche at a sharp angle to make it a 5-3 Sea Dogs lead. The Saint John bench was not happy with the play as Pierre Durepos had his stick hacked out of his hands in front of the net.

At 15:33, Durepos was sent to the penalty box after he hit Couturier behind the net. But, the penalty was quickly cancelled out when Vachon was sent off for tripping at 16:33.

With Durepos out of the box, Saint John went to the power play – but it was Drummondville who would find the back of the net. On a two-on-one play, a centering pass was picked up by Jean-Philippe Mathieu who beat Piche through to five hole to make it a one goal Saint John lead.

Tremblay headed off at 19:49 for tripping, giving the Dogs a power play to end the frame. Beaulieu and Huberdeau both had good chances, but they could not beat Nadeau.

Shots in the second were 12-7 Drummondville.

THIRD PERIOD
The Sea Dogs wasted no time in the third period to build their lead back. At 2:06, Danick Gauthier fed Oke with a cross crease pass. The rookie buried his chance, making it 6-4 Saint John.

Not long after at 3:00, a shot from just inside the point produced a big rebound by Piche. Couturier was there at the side of the goal to pick up the garbage and restore the one goal affair.

Following some intense pressure by the Voltigeurs, Christian Morin was forced to serve a hooking penalty at 6:13. Vachon had the best of the Volts’ many chances, getting two shots off on Piche.

Drummondville’s comeback was complete at 12:00. A centering pass from the corner found a wide open Nicolas Dionne in front. Piche had no chance to make the shot as Dionne scored with a one timer to tie the game at 6-6.

A late penalty taken by Anthony Randazza gave Saint John a chance to take their lead back. Gabriel Bourret and Zach Phillips both had good chances but could not score.

It was all Drummondville in the final few minutes, but the game would remain tied and required overtime.

Shots in the third were 10-6 Drummondville.

OVERTIME
Vachon had the only good chance in overtime. He was alone in front but Piche made the save-of-the-night with the leather to send the game to a shootout.

Shots in extra time were 6-0.

SHOOTOUT
Alexandre Comtois gave the Volts a 1-0 lead in the shootout with a move to the forehand. But Jurco would tie the affair by skating backwards towards the goal and then cutting through the lip of the crease and beating Nadeau with a forehand shot.

After three scoreless rounds, Ondrej Palat beat Piche with a deke to the backhand. That put all the pressure on Zach Phillips who had to score. He wouldn’t - giving Drummondville an incredible comeback victory.

Saint John went 0/3 on the power play while Drummondville was 1/5.

NOTES: See Sea Dogs Postscript tomorrow for a full wrap on a wild night in Drummondville.

NEXT GAME: On Friday night the Sea Dogs travel to Halifax to face the Herd.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

LIVE BLOG: Sea Dogs vs Voltigeurs

PRE-GAME: Saint John Sea Dogs vs Drummondville Voltigeurs

GAME DAY

WHO: Saint John Sea Dogs vs Drummondville Voltigeurs
WHEN: Tonight, 8:00 pm AST
WHERE: Marcel Dionne Centre

(Ed. Note: The new QMJHL website is being a bigger piece of junk than usual this afternoon. Our apologies as some info is unavailable.)

VISITING TEAM: Saint John Sea Dogs
Record: 4-1-0-0
Last Game: 4-1 loss at Montreal last night
Leading Scorer: Jonathan Huberdeau: 5GP-4G-5A-9Pts; Ryan Tesink: 5GP-3G-6A-9Pts; Michael Kirkpatrick: 5GP-2G-7A-9Pts
Notes: Saint John will be without forward Stephen MacAulay and defenseman Simon Despres due to their participation at National Hockey League training camps. Sea Dogs captain Mike Thomas will also miss the game because he is taking part in an American Hockey League training camp… returning to the lineup last night from NHL camps were Stanislav Galiev and Steven Anthony… the Sea Dogs are coming off an average performance where they lost 4-1 to the Montreal Junior last evening. Steven Anthony had the lone goal for the visitors in the late stages of the first period. Karel St. Laurent played well in goal despite the loss, facing 36 shots on the night. A few odd bounces and defensive miscues didn’t help the cause… after starting the season 4-0-0-0, the Sea Dogs are coming off their first loss of the year… the Sea Dogs defeated the Volts 4-3 in a shootout in their only meeting at the Marcel Dionne Centre last year. It was one of the toughest wins during the team’s epic 22-game winning streak… Saint John has three fighting majors on the season. Jonathan Huberdeau dropped the gloves in last night’s game… Ryan Tesink sits third in rookie scoring with three goals and six assists in five games played… Saint John has outscored their opponents 24-12 in five games… Saint John is 1-1-0-0 on the road so far this season… Frederic Piche will likely start in net with the Volts being his former team. The goaltender is 2-0 so far this season with a 1.00 goals against average and a 0.957 save percentage. He is coming off a 17 save shutout in PEI last Sunday… Saint John has the 10th ranked power play with a rating of 0.240%...

HOME TEAM: Drummondville Voltigeurs
Record: 5-0-0-0
Last Game: 8-3 win at Gatineau last night
Leading Scorer: Sean Couturier: 5GP-6G-2A-8Pts
Notes: At 5-0-0-0, the Voltigeurs are the lone remaining team with a perfect record to open the season. Saint John was the only other undefeated team entering action last night but fell in Montreal… the Volts are coming off an 8-3 in Gatineau last evening. Sean Couturier had two goals and an assist while Jonathan Brunelle also had two goals… all eyes will be on Sean Couturier this season. Just about every hockey publication has the offensive forward going in the top two or three of the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft. This will be the first time this season that he will get to play against other top prospects Jonathan Huberdeau, Tomas Jurco, Zach Phillips, and Nathan Beaulieu… the Volts have taken the fewest amount of penalty minutes of any team this season. They have served just 55 minutes in the sin bin… after being known for their goal scoring the past two seasons, Drummondville is tied for fifth in goals scored with 21… Drummondville is 3-0-0-0 at home so far this season… they have the third ranked power play in the circuit with a rating of 0.375%... the Volts were eliminated from playoff contention in the semi-finals last year against Moncton… Drummondville allowed their first power play goal against last night. The Volts have only allowed one goal against while they are shorthanded in 15 chances. That is rating of 0.933%.

GOAL HORN


FUN FACTS
  • The Voltigeurs website is one of the few sites in the CHL Network being used to its full potential. It has an ad for the video game "Guitar Hero" on the page.
  • 10 of the 20 famous Drummondville natives on Wikipedia are listed as professional hockey players.
  • A 2006 Canadian Cenus study showed that Drummondville has a population of 67,392.
ARENA INFO
Venue: Marcel Dionne Centre
Seating Capacity: 4,000 (3,038 seated)
Year Built: 1963
QMJHL Arena Guide

MEDIA GUIDE
Radio (Sea Dogs): News 88.9 FM
Live Web Feed: Telus
Television: None
Live Blog: Station Nation
Post-Game Coverage: Station Nation, L’Express

TWITTER
Follow Station Nation on Twitter at www.twitter.com/station_nation for in-game updates, scores, stats, and live coverage during tonight’s game.

AFTER THE BUZZER
The Sea Dogs take six days off before travelling to Halifax next Friday.

Photo Credit: Voltigeurs Facebook page

SEA DOGS FALL FOR FIRST TIME THIS SEASON

SN RECAP
FINAL: Sea Dogs 1, Junior 4

VERDUN, Que – An unfortunate bounce and two breakaway goals led to the demise of the Saint John Sea Dogs’ hopes of staying perfect in their 2010-11 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League campaign.

The Montreal Junior defeated the Sea Dogs 4-1 on Friday night at the Verdun Auditorium. Saint John falls to 4-1-0-0 on the season, ending their four game winning streak to open the season.

Steven Anthony scored the lone Saint John goal in the final minute of the first period. Goaltender Karel St. Laurent had a strong night, allowing four goals on 36 shots. Two of the goals came via breakaway while one other came after a strange bounce off the backboards.

Scoring for Montreal was David Rose, Trevor Parkes, Jean-Christophe Laflamme, and Philippe Fontaine.

Goaltender Etienne Marcoux stopped 24 of 25 shots in the home team’s crease.

Also, the Sea Dogs dropped to 0-4 all-time at the Verdun Auditorium.

FIRST PERIOD
Following some back-and-forth play, Xavier Ouellet chipped the puck off the glass in the Saint John zone and caught the Sea Dogs’ defense off guard. David Rose found the puck just inside the blue line and skated in alone, beating St. Laurent upstairs to make it 1-0 Junior at 4:47.

Montreal would keep the pressure going, but St. Laurent made some big pad saves to keep the deficit at just one goal.

Following a scrum above the crease, Aidan Kelly and Nicholas Chouinard headed off to serve roughing penalties. Then Trevor Parkes tripped Jason Cameron, giving the Dogs a four-on-three power play at 7:05.

Jonathan Huberdeau had a chance at the side of the net but the puck squirted away. It would be the only solid Saint John scoring chance.

Montreal almost had a great opportunity to double their lead but St. Laurent and the Saint John defense managed to recover in front from a lurking Philippe Fountaine.

Rose headed off to box for tripping at 12:24. But while shorthanded, a Saint John pass was intercepted by Parkes. The Detroit Red Wings prospect went in on a breakaway and beat St. Laurent with a backhand shot to make it a 2-0 lead for the home side at 13:30.

Huberdeau and Matt Provost engaged in a spirited fight behind the Saint John net at 13:46. Provost would pick up an extra instigator and misconduct on the play.

Francis Meilleur was sent to the box at 19:02 after leveling Cameron from behind. Steven Anthony, fresh off Vancouver Canucks training camp, sent a shot through the crease but stayed out during the man advantage.

At 19:46, Tomas Jurco hit the post but the puck came out to Anthony in front. The Halifax native riffled the puck top shelf by Etienne Marcoux to make it 2-1 heading into intermission.

Shots in the first were 12-9 Junior.

SECOND PERIOD
In the second, Saint John had a good scoring chance when Stanislav Galiev fed Jurco on a two-on-one. But Marcoux stood tall in his crease and stopped the flying rubber with his glove.

Rose had another great chance in front moments later. He one timed a pass that he received from behind the net but St. Laurent stopped him with the pad. Then, Montreal had another good chance in close but Nathan Beaulieu was able to push the pressure away.

The Junior made it a 3-1 game after a bad bounce behind the goal. St. Laurent stepped to the side of his crease and tried to bank the puck around the end boards. But the disc hit a bump and slipped out in front where Jean-Christophe Laflamme scored into the empty cage at 7:19.

Aidan Kelly headed off at 11:15 for slashing but the Sea Dogs produced an excellent penalty kill to end the threat.

After yet another unfortunate bounce, the puck found its way into the Saint John crease where a mad scramble ensued. St. Laurent had the puck underneath him at the goal line and, after a short review, it was declared no goal.

Saint John had a solid scoring opportunity to end the frame. A pass from the point hit Zach Phillips’ tape down low but the forward couldn’t handle the pass. By the time the Fredericton native could fire the puck, Marcoux was prepared to make the stop in the Junior crease.

Shots in the middle stanza were 10-6 Montreal.

THIRD PERIOD
In the third, Fontaine finished off a cross crease pass from Denis Kindl at 2:26 to give Montreal a commanding 4-1 lead.

While the goal was still being announced, Anthony ripped a wrist shot that beat Marcoux up high. But, unfortunately for the Sea Dogs, the officials' whistle signaled an offside that could not be heard over the announcement.

The Sea Dogs slowly started to gain some pressure in the middle parts of the third. Galiev made a nice move to get in close but couldn’t get a good shot off. Then, Beaulieu threw the puck in the crease down low but Marcoux was there to keep it out.

St. Laurent showed he still had confidence in his game later on by coming out to challenge a point shot.

The Sea Dogs would go to the power play at 13:35. Their only good scoring opportunity came when a Beaulieu point shot produced a big rebound for Michael Kirkpatrick. The Sea Dogs captain tossed the puck on the net but Marcoux was there to make the stop.

St. Laurent made the best save of the year so far in the later stages of the frame. After a cross crease pass, the Sea Dogs net minder dove above the blue paint and batted the puck down with his paddle. The Junior thought they had scored, the fans thought they had scored, and the person blowing the goal though it was good. The goal would be reviewed and it was awarded as a no goal.

At 17:56, Galiev was hauled down on a partial break, giving him a penalty shot chance. The Washington Capitals prospect appeared to be undecided on what to do and fired the puck and fired it way wide of the goal.

Shots in the final frame were 14-10 Montreal.

Saint John was 1/4 on the power play while the Junior were 0/1.

BOX SCORE
Saint John Sea Dogs 1 at Montreal Juniors 4 - Status: Final
Friday, September 24, 2010 - Auditorium - Verdun

Saint John 1 0 0 - 1
Montréal 2 1 1 - 4

1st Period-1, Montréal, Rose 3 (Ouellet), 4:47. 2, Montréal, Parkes 1 (Ouellet, Lefebvre), 13:30 (SH). 3, Saint John, Anthony 1 (Kirkpatrick, Jurco), 19:46 (PP). Penalties-Kelly Snb (roughing), 6:24; Chouinard Mtl (roughing), 6:24; Parkes Mtl (tripping), 7:05; Rose Mtl (tripping), 12:24; Huberdeau Snb (interference of a player or a goaltender, fighting), 13:46; Provost Mtl (instigator, fighting, instigator - misconduct), 13:46; Meilleur Mtl (checking from behind), 19:02.

2nd Period-4, Montréal, Laflamme 1 (Ouellet, Anderson), 7:19. Penalties-Kelly Snb (slashing), 11:15.

3rd Period-5, Montréal, Fontaine 2 (Kindl, Rose), 2:26. Penalties-Aubry Mtl (tripping), 13:35; Sock Snb (roughing), 16:08; Tesink Snb (roughing), 16:08; Fontaine Mtl (roughing), 16:08; Rose Mtl (roughing), 16:08; Narbonne Mtl (hooking), 16:28.

Shots on Goal-Saint John 24. Montréal 36.
Power Play Opportunities-Saint John 1 / 4; Montréal 0 / 1.
Goalies-Saint John, St-Laurent 2-0-0-0 (36 shots-32 saves). Montréal, Marcoux 0-1-1-0 (24 shots-23 saves).
A-2,412
Referees-Frédéric Leblanc (28), Eric Charron (2).
Linesmen-Guillaume Labonté (81), Benoit Vigeant-Sansoucy (85).

NEXT GAME
The Sea Dogs travel to Drummondville on Saturday to face the Voltigeurs at 8:00 pm.

Friday, September 24, 2010

LIVE BLOG: Sea Dogs vs Junior

KNOW THE ENEMY: Q&A with Hockey Points' Nick

Instead of rambling on about some obscure stat we accidently stumbled across for a pre-game, we’ve decided to try and inform Saint John Sea Dogs fans more on the opposing team. So, what better way to do this then catching up with followers of that particular team.

In the first of what we hope are many to come, Station Nation presents “know the enemy.”

For the first edition, I caught up with Nick from the Montreal Junior blog Hockey Points. Having been a season ticket holder since the Junior arrived on the Montreal scene in 2008, Nick knows his stuff. He does a great job over Hockey Points on keeping readers informed with in depth information. It’s defiantly worth checking out.

The Junior are going to be a strong team this year and most pre-season predictions have them battling it out with Saint John for top spot in the league. The Sea Dogs and Junior meet tonight at the Verdun Auditorium at 8:05pm.

Here are some of Nick’s thoughts about the Junior.

Station Nation: The Hockey News selected the Montreal Junior to finish second overall in the QMJHL this season. Would you say that is a fairly accurate prediction?

Nick: THN's rankings are fairly accurate. Truth be told, on paper, the Juniors are good enough to finish 1st overall. But any good team needs good chemistry, something the Juniors have not yet had the opportunity to display due to 7 of their players attending NHL training camps. I see them finishing 1st in the Telus West Division and anywhere from 1st to 4th overall in the league.

SN: What, in your view, will be the Junior’s strengths and weaknesses this year?

Nick: Strength: Defense. With Roussel, Landry, Meilleur and Ouellet the Juniors could have the best top four defenseman unit in the league. Narbonne, Provost, Micallef and Belanger provide the team with depth at the position with Narbonne specifically being the one to watch. He has very strong decision making skills.

Weakness: Penalties. Although this may sound strange, the Juniors may find themselves in the penalty box more than needed. Why is that? Well let's just say it starts with Louis Leblanc. Physically, he's a target for other teams and because there's no Mike Thomas type player on Montreal 's roster, every player feels responsible to defend Leblanc. We saw this during the pre-season. A defenseman punches Leblanc after the whistle and then two Montreal players rush that defenseman, gloves dropped. Unless the Juniors get their fists under control or acquire a goon, this problem could lead to the team taking too many unnecessary penalties at the wrong times.

SN: Can Louis Leblanc live up to expectations while playing in the city of the team that drafted him? In what you have seen of him this season, can he thrive in the Canadian Hockey League?

Nick: Leblanc has the talent and drive to score 100+ points in 55-60 games (he'll probably miss anywhere from 8-13 season games due to his participation at the Habs camp this fall and most probably Canada's National Junior Team this winter). Somewhat surprisingly, he seems comfortable facing the challenge of playing in the city of Montreal . He knows the spotlight will be on him all season long. My assumption is that after playing in a few pre-season games with the Habs, Leblanc will fee even more at ease playing in the Q. He already has 5 points in 2 games played under his belt.

SN: Obviously, all the media attention is on Louis Leblanc. But who else should opposing fans watch out for when their team plays Montreal ?

Nick: Aside from Leblanc, there's plenty of underrated talent on Montreal ’s team this year. The Juniors have 6 additional NHL affiliated players; RW, Philippe Lefebvre (MTL), C, Louis-Marc Aurby (DET), RW, Trevor Parkes (DET), D, Charles-Olivier Roussel (NAS), D, Charles Landry (TBL) and G, Jean-Francois Berube (LAK). But when you look even deeper, there's more. If you're looking at 20 year old players; Jeremy Gouchie (C), Nicolas Chouinard (RW) and Francis Meilleur (D) are up there as one of the best groups of 20 year olds in the league. The duet of European players is average at the very least; C, Denis Kindl and LW, Janos Hari. In terms of draft eligible players, defenseman Xavier Ouellet is expected to have a huge season and should be drafted during the first 3 rounds of next June's NHL entry draft. My personal favourite unsung heroes on the team are defenseman Jonathan Narbonne and forward David Rose. Narbonne is a smart player who makes simple and decisions about 99% of the time. He’s a very reliable player. Rose provides the Juniors with additional offensive depth. He has terrific hands and has improved his skating versus last season, making him a valuable player on this team. During his first 4 games Rose registered 5 points.

SN: The Sea Dogs and St. John’s Fog Devils entered the league together in 2005-06 as expansion teams. In 2008-09, the Foggies played their first season in Verdun as the Montreal Junior. A number of junior teams have failed in the Montreal market, but the Junior appear to be staying healthy. What is it that the Junior are doing – or need to do - to market the team and continue to be successful off the ice?

Nick: Since day 1, the Juniors have focused on reaching out to the community. Two and a half years later, this hasn't changed. They are very active with a large number of minor hockey associations and school boards. The kids attend the games and participate while they’re at the arena. There isn't an intermission that goes by without a "mini match" or "relay race" which includes youngsters buzzing around the ice. This is what they'll need to keep as a strong foundation in order to grow long term. In terms of growth potential, the attendance lacks in the 18-35 age demographic. Many people in this age group are too busy jumping on and off of the Montreal Canadiens' bandwagon. Don't get me started....

SN: Yahoo! Sports recently named the Verdun Auditorium one of the five worst rinks in the CHL. From a fans perspective, what is it that is so bad about the arena? Also, the Sea Dogs have never won a game there, is it a difficult building to play in for opposing teams?

Nick: Well, everything in the article is true however I personally love the Auditorium and wouldn't rank it as a bottom 5 out of 60 CHL rinks. It was built in 1936, I believe, and is one of the remaining classic barn type arenas in Montreal . There's something refreshing about sitting in that rink, sipping on a beer and watch the Juniors play. The team and city has dumped a good amount of cash into the building since moving there in 2008. There are reports of the Juniors eventually building a new home elsewhere in Montreal . You get over the double seat benches pretty fast and the outside of the building isn't something you notice during the games.

(Ed. Note: We’d like to thank Nick for taking the time to answer our questions.)

PRE-GAME: Saint John Sea Dogs vs Montreal Junior

GAME DAY

WHO: Saint John Sea Dogs vs Montreal Junior
WHEN: Tonight, 8:05 pm AST
WHERE: Verdun Auditorium

VISITING TEAM: Saint John Sea Dogs
Record: 4-0-0-0 (1st in Maritimes Division)
Last Game: 5-0 win at PEI on Sunday
Leading Scorer: Jonathan Huberdeau: 4GP-4G-5A-9Pts; Ryan Tesink: 4GP-3G-6A-9Pts
Notes: Saint John will be without forward Stephen MacAulay and defenseman Simon Despres due to their participation at National Hockey League training camps. Sea Dogs captain Mike Thomas will also miss the game because he is taking part in an American Hockey League training camp… Stanislav Galiev will make his season debut tonight after taking part in Washington Capitals training camp… Steven Anthony will also make his regular season debut after the Vancouver Canucks sent the forward back to Saint John… the Sea Dogs join the Drummondville Voltigeurs as the only two teams without a loss so far this season… Saint John is coming off a dominant 5-0 win against the PEI Rocket in Charlottetown on Sunday night. Zach Phillips recorded a hat trick in the match… this is the second game of a five game stretch of road games for the Dogs. They finish up their first Quebec road swing of the year tomorrow evening in Drummondville… if Saint John pulls off a victory tonight, they will set a franchise record for consecutive wins to open a season with five… the Dogs have outscored their opponents 23-8 so far this season… so far, Saint John has kept their goaltending duo in a rotation. If the rotation stays true, 20-year old net minder Karel St. Laurent would start in goal. Frederic Piche is coming a 17 save shutout win against the Rocket… Tomas Jurco’s five goals have him in a tie for the league goal scoring lead… Jonathan Huberdeau, Michael Kirkpatrick, Ryan Tesnink, and Christian Morin all sit one through four at the top of the league’s plus/minus ratings… Tesink sits first in rookie scoring with nine points in four games… Huberdeau and Tesink lead the league in insurance goals with two.

HOME TEAM: Montreal Junior
Record: 1-1-2-0 (5th in Telus West Division)
Last Game: 4-3 loss at Drummondville on Sunday
Leading Scorer: Xavier Ouellet: 4GP-1G-6A-7Pts
Notes: 24 Hours Montreal reports that Philippe Lefebvre (Canadiens), Trevor Parkes (Red Wings), Louis - Marc Aubry (Red Wings) and defenseman Charles -Olivier Roussel (Predators) are all expected to play for the Junior after being away at NHL Training Camps… still away at camp is star forward and Montreal Canadiens prospect Louis Leblanc and their starting net minder, Jean-Francois Berube… The Hockey News picked the Junior to finish second overall in the QMJHL behind Saint John. The publication also projected Montreal to finish sixth in the Canadian Hockey League standings… Montreal finished tied with Val-d’Or for the best record in the QMJHL pre-season at 4-0-0-1… the Junior are coming an overtime loss against the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Sean Couturier ended the game in overtime… Xavier Ouellet appeared on the cover of the QMJHL media guide with Saint John’s Jonathan Huberdeau and Couturier… Montreal won the season series against Saint John last year 2-1… according to HockeyFights.com, the Junior are the only team in the QMJHL without a fighting major this season… Trevor Parkes recently signed a contract with the Detroit Red Wings after he went undrafted in June… Philippe Lefebvre leads the Junior with four goals scored in just two games played this season… the Junior have the seventh ranked penalty kill with a rating of 0.812%.

HOT ROSES
From the Montreal Junior blog Hockey Points:

David Rose is on fire this season. He has already registered 2 goals and 3 assists in 4 games played. Rose's skating has definitely improved since last season. He is generating more speed from his stride and is skating to the right areas on the ice in order to create more room for himself when he has the puck. Last season Rose scored 18 points in 32 games played.
BRUTAL ENDING
This goal ended the Montreal Junior’s playoff run last year, eliminating them in overtime of game seven of the first round against Gatineau. Brutal.


The Olympiques went on to lose in four straight to Saint John in the second round.

ARENA INFO
Venue: Verdun Auditorium
Seating Capacity: 3,795
Year Built: 1939
QMJHL Arena Guide

MEDIA GUIDE
Radio (Sea Dogs): News 88.9 FM
Live Web Feed: Telus
Television: None
Live Blog: Station Nation
Post-Game Coverage: Station Nation, Telegraph-Journal, 24 Heurs

TWITTER
Follow Station Nation on Twitter at www.twitter.com/station_nation for in-game updates, scores, stats, and live coverage during tonight’s game.

AFTER THE BUZZER
The Sea Dogs travel to Drummondville to face the Voltigeurs tomorrow night at 8:00 pm.

Photo Credit: The Pensblog

Thursday, September 23, 2010

ROSTER MOVES MADE HEADING INTO ROAD SWING

The Saint John Sea Dogs have made a number of moves heading into their weekend road contests against the Montreal Junior on Friday and Drummondville Voltigeurs on Saturday.

According to the team’s official Twitter page, the Sea Dogs have designated forwards Dyaln McGuigan, Devon Oliver-Dares, and Jordan Mock for assignment.

The moves were likely made to make room for Stanislav Galiev and Steven Anthony, who have just returned from National Hockey League Training Camps.

McGuigan, claimed off waivers from the Halifax Mooseheads last week, recorded just one shot on goal in three games with the Sea Dogs. He saw very limited ice time and played on Saint John’s bottom two lines.

The left winger played with QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads and Truro Bearcats of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League last season. The 5’10”, 191 lb. winger appeared in exactly a dozen games with the Herd (0G-0A-0P-11PIM) as well as the Bearcats (0G-1A-1P-9PIM) last year.

He will return to the Bearcats.

Oliver-Dares made a strong case to stay with the Sea Dogs after being cut by the team originally. Although he failed to record a point in four contests, the right winger provided some much needed grit and sandpaper to a team with so many skilled players.

He was ejected from Sunday’s game in Prince Edward Island following a fight where his jersey came off.

With the 54th overall pick of the 2010 QMJHL Entry Draft, Saint John selected the Dartmouth Subway forward. Oliver-Dares played in 30 regular season games with the Subways last year, registering 18 goals and 33 assists. He added five assists in seven playoff games.

Oliver-Dares competed in one MJAHL game last year, recording no points with the Bridgewater Lumberjacks.

The forward is expected to rejoin Dartmouth.

Jordan Mock was recalled by the Sea Dogs on opening weekend. He played in one game with the Sea Dogs (a 5-0 win in PEI on Sunday) and recorded no points and two shots on goal. He was also a +1.

Mock played with the Bearcats as well last season. He recorded 17 goals and 29 assists in 48 games in the Maritime Junior Hockey League.

He is expected to return to Turo.

Still away at NHL camps are Stephen MacAulay and Simon Despres. Mike Thomas is currently partaking in an American Hockey League training camp.

Photo Credit: David Connell

MORIN APPEARS TO BE THE ODD MAN OUT

The St. Thomas Tommies website confirms news that was reported in Wednesday’s Telegraph-Journal.

The newspaper reported that Saint John Sea Dogs overage defenseman Christian Morin had been enrolled at St. Thomas University where he will play Atlantic University Hockey in the provincial capital.

“Christian joins the team after starting the season with the Saint John Seadogs,” states the Tommies website. “A solid stay home blue liner that skates well is a perfect fit for the Tommies as they look to improve defensively. A great character player Christain was a key pick-up for the Seadogs in 09-10 as they went all the way to the league final vs the Moncton Wildcats.”

Teams are allowed to carry only three 20-year old players on their active roster. Currently, Morin joins center Michael Kirkpatrick and goaltender Karel St. Laurent as the Sea Dogs’ three overage players. But, if captain Mike Thomas returns from an Oklahoma City Barons tryout, Saint John will have four.

The Sea Dogs hockey operations department seems content with letting him go.

"He's going to be with us this weekend and he's going to play the two games,'' Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant said of Morin to the Telegraph-Journal. "I think he would really like to be here (for the whole season), but he understands the situation. We're playing it day by day and then we'll see what happens.

"We've been up front and honest with him and he's been real good with us, so that's all we can ask. Time will take care of it. He's a good kid.''

Acquired from Val-d’Or at the holiday trading period last winter, Morin recorded two goals and two assists in 26 games with Saint John. Morin was a vital part of the Sea Dogs’ defense core, playing a shut down role on the backend.

He also helped turn around one of the worst penalty kills in the first half of the Quebec league last year to a respectable level in the second half.

So far this season, the Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native has no points in four games this season.

It is defiantly a tough decision for Sea Dogs management.

If Morin does pursue his scholastic endeavors this year, he will joined by a number of former QMJHL standouts. New recruits by St. Thomas this year include former Moncton Wildcat Randy Cameron, former Halifax Moosehead Yuri Cheremetiev, and Ryan Tesink’s older brother Brad.

Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ANTHONY HEADING BACK TO DOGS

The Saint John Sea Dogs will have one more missing puzzle piece in their lineup this weekend.

After playing in last night’s pre-season game for the Vancouver Canucks, Steven Anthony has been issued back to his junior club in Saint John.

Also demoted by the Canucks following the game was Marco Rosa (AHL Manitoba), PEI Rocket defenseman Adam Polasek, and Lewiston MAINEiac Pierre-Olivier Morin (released), reports The Province.

In last night’s 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames, Anthony saw 14 minutes and 31 seconds of ice time. He recorded four shots on goal, and a -1 plus/minus rating.

Anthony, like Stanislav Galiev with the Washington Capitals, participated in the Canucks summer camp before taking part in the team’s rookie camp. He was later promoted to the Canucks main camp.

Last season, the Halifax native recorded 18 goals and 23 assists in 61 regular season games. His career high in points in 48, and Anthony will attempt to try and rekindle the offensive flare he had prior to arriving on the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scene.

Anthony was selected by the Canucks in the seventh round, 187th overall in the 2009 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

The Sea Dogs’ Twitter page states that he is on his way back to Saint John. The 4-0-0-0 Dogs take their show to Verdun and Drummondville this weekend.

In other NHL camp news, former Sea Dog Mike Hoffman saw 14 minutes and 11 seconds of ice time in the Ottawa Senators 5-0 blowout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre last evening. He recorded one shot on goal and was a +1.

Simon Despres will not be playing in tonight’s Pittsburgh Penguins pre-season tilt against the Detroit Red Wings. The Sea Dogs defenseman is expected to get a long look by the Pens as camp.

Tonight will mark the first NHL pre-season game played at the new CONSOL Energy Centre in Pittsburgh.

Stephen MacAulay is still at St. Louis Blues camp while Mike Thomas will take part in the Oklahoma City Barons' training camp.

Photo credit: Vancouver Canucks

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

GALIEV SENT BACK TO JUNIOR BY CAPS

Bad news for Stanislav Galiev is good news for the Saint John Sea Dogs.

Today, the Washington Capitals released the Sea Dogs forward from their Training Camp roster, reports the Sea Dogs’ official Twitter page. The Russian sophomore is expected to suit up for Saint John this weekend.

The Dogs, 4-0 to start the year, play the Montreal Junior on Friday night and then travel to Drummondville on Saturday to face the Voltigeurs. Galiev will not make his home debut until October 8 when the Sea Dogs host the hated Moncton Wildcats.

Galiev had a solid showing this summer at Capitals development camp. He recently participated in Washington’s rookie camp before advancing to the team’s main training camp.

After being selected first overall in the 2009 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, Galiev registered 15 goals and 45 assists in 67 regular season appearances. In the post-season, he added another eight goals and 11 assists in Saint John’s 21 game march to the President’s Cup Final.

This past summer, the Caps selected the flashy forward 86th overall at the National Hockey League Entry Draft.

Although he played wing for the Sea Dogs last season, the Capitals coaching staff have been playing him at center during training camp.

In other NHL camp news, Steven Anthony is expected to play for the Vancouver Canucks tonight in a pre-season contest against the Calgary Flames.

Mike Hoffman is also listed on the Ottawa Senators lineup for their exhibition matchup in Toronto.

SEA DOGS NOTEBOOK

HOWES IT GOING
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.

TURK ON THE EXPECTATIONS
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."

SCHEMBRI TRADED
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.

2012 CUP STUFF
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.”

BURKE WAS IN TOWN
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.

GRANT UPDATE
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.

GALIEV READY TO PLAY
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"

SN FACEBOOK PAGE
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

Monday, September 20, 2010

THOMAS EARNS AHL TRYOUT

Mike Thomas is showing the Edmonton Oilers that he deserves a professional contract.

The National Hockey League club announced today that the Saint John Sea Dogs captain has been cut from his tryout with the club but assigned to the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League for a tryout. If all goes well for the New Maryland native, the club will sign him to a professional contract for the upcoming season.

Thomas is eligible to return to Saint John for an overage campaign. If he is signed within the Oilers organization, it is highly unlikely that he returns.

Also assigned to Oklahoma City for a tryout was Jesse Gimblett and James Livingston.

Thomas was impressive during Oilers rookie camp, earning an invite to main camp last week. The tough forward was offered a free agent invite to camp this past summer after captaining the Sea Dogs to a regular season title and a berth in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s President’s Cup Final.

Thomas recorded nine goals and 11 assists in 51 regular season games last year in what was a suspension filled season. In the playoffs, he added four goals and three assists.

Last year, the only New Brunswick born captain in Sea Dogs history took part in Philadelphia Flyers rookie camp on a free agent invite.

If Thomas returns to Saint John, he will become the first player in franchise history to play five full seasons with the club.

Last week, Station Nation's JT took part in a question and answer session over at the Oilers blog "The Copper & Blue."