Saturday, February 18, 2012

No Conspiracy in Villemaire Saga

By Cameron MacEachern

There has been plenty of outrage out of Saint John since the league took two points from the Sea Dogs’ win over Gatineau early in the New Year and awarded them to the Olympiques. Lost in all of the straw man arguments and conspiracy theories being floated by many, however, is the fact that this was absolutely the right decision. And while many have pointed the finger at the QMJHL or the Olympiques, the only party to blame for this result is the Sea Dogs themselves.

Cries of foul play have gone up from Sea Dogs fans on Twitter, this blog, the accompanying Facebook page, and no doubt many other places over this ruling. If you’re unaware of the situation, a complaint was filed by the Olympiques with regards to their 3-2 loss to Saint John on January 4th. They claimed that Maxime Villemaire, who opened the scoring for Saint John, had not signed with the Sea Dogs prior to the game. The Q-League sided with Gatineau and docked two points from the Dogs, giving them to the ‘Piques instead.

The QMJHL certainly doesn’t a pass from me in terms of equal treatment when it comes to Quebec and non-Quebec teams, but there is no grand conspiracy at play here. This is the article of the QMJHL rule book referenced in this ruling:

If a team plays with a player who is not considered qualified by the Commissioner, the win or tied game as well as the corresponding points in the standings shall be deducted and given to the opponent (maximum of two points) per game

It’s tough to deny that this applies to the situation which the Sea Dogs found themselves in. Given that there has been no claim from the Sea Dogs that Villemaire did, in fact, sign prior to the game, there’s approximately zero reason to think that the QMJHL did anything shady to take two points from Saint John. They followed the letter of the law in this instance.

Many have accused Gatineau of being spoil sports for filing the complaint, which may be the most ridiculous statement that’s been made through this debacle. The Olympiques are no different from the Sea Dogs in that they’re looking to pick up every single point in the standings that they can. To expect them to overlook two points that they’re entitled to by the book is absolutely foolish. Those two points could make the difference between a first-round matchup against Victoriaville and one against Rimouski. They aren’t going to pass that up just so they don’t inconvenience the Sea Dogs.

The loss of two points makes things a bit more stressful for the Sea Dogs down the stretch as they look to lock up yet another regular season title, but it’s fitting that the result of this saga hurts Saint John as the blame begins and ends with the club. The Sea Dogs have some of the brightest management in the league; that much is obvious when you look at the success they’ve enjoyed the last few seasons. It’s not like they were unaware of the potential implications of dressing Villemaire for that game before he signed his card. Either it was a huge oversight, or they were banking on word not getting out. It did, and now they have to lie in the bed that they made. No doubt they’re unhappy with the decision, much like the fans are, but I’d wager a guess that they know where the fault lies on this issue, and I’d be surprised if they’d point fingers anywhere but inward.

15 comments:

  1. people like cameron macachern can say what they want about it being the sea dogs fault. it was there fault but i highly doubt had it have been a quebec based team like shawinigan other actions would have likely been taken. the league would have somehow thought of a way to do something else. like a fine or take draft pics

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    1. This is nothing but sour grapes. I am a Sea dogs fan and they made a mistake. Get over it. I'm sure the team has.

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  2. Chris Adams From Saint JohnFebruary 18, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Rules are rules as a Sea Dog fan and someone who participates in a sport where rules are in place applaud the Q for following the rule book. Yes it cost us two points but i would rather win fairly then takin two points which under the rules do not belong to us.

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  3. I don't think you're getting what people are upset about here. Its HOW they found out. Seemed a little sneaky from the start.

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  4. @Anonymous - The implications for violating that rule are clearly spelled out in the rulebook. They followed that rule with the Sea Dogs and there's no reason to believe they'd have done any differently were it a Quebec-based team under these circumstances. To assume otherwise tells me that you have a serious persecution complex about this stuff.

    @Cody - The majority of people I've seen are just saying that Saint John got screwed/league is conspiring, rabble rabble. That aside, I'm not sure what you're referring to as being sneaky since as far as I know there's only been speculation on how the league found out.

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  5. How petty,this is something that all the teams are guilty of. Only difference is that the Seadogs are the reining Memorial Cup Champs and thus a target for all the other teams. I'm sure they will all hate us even more when we repeat as champs this year!

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  6. How can the league say that Villemaire was not signed in league was't he traded from another Q league team?

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    1. I believe you still have to sign a player card before you can play with a new team.

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  7. LMAO get serious Saint-John people...the team made a mistake and the league took actions against it because it was against the rules...period.

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  8. what else do you expect from this league, remember the bid for the memorial cup farce. the league will always be bias towards quebec based teams. this is just another example of it.

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    1. Did you read the article? Because the whole point is that there is nothing about this decision to support what you're saying.

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    2. so did you support the decision on the awarding of the memorial cup to shawinigan?

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    3. No, and I am on record multiple times as saying that Saint John and no one else deserved to host. Can you explain to me how those two things are in any way related?

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    4. pretty obvious, bias against the seadogs, the league did it once already. they had other options but chose the decision that would benifit shawinigan the most. cmon face facts the q is gonna do whats best for memorials cup hosts. think about it they wouldnt even give us the score card of the two cities last year on their decision to pick shawinigan. sorry i believe what i believe.

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    5. There were no other options. The Sea Dogs broke the rules. They were punished according to the rulebook. It's a black and white issue. This is nothing like the Memorial Cup decision. Believe what you want but you're wrong.

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