The Shawinigan Cataractes and Edmonton Oil Kings kicked off the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup on Friday night at Bionest Centre and all eyes will be on the Saint John Sea Dogs and London Knights tomorrow night.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions take on the Ontario Hockey League champions on Saturday night at 8pm Atlantic. The game can be seen Sportsnet and heard on News 88.9.
The Pipeline Show previews the offensive side of the Memorial Cup. The Sea Dogs have quite a few weapons, giving them the most lethal offense at this year’s tournament. Gerard Gallant also speaks about Jonathan Huberdeau’s playoff production where he had just 21 points in 15 games.
"To be honest with you, with Jonathan, the first two rounds of the playoffs we played teams that were rebuilding for next season and we had some lopsided scores," the coach began, "Jonathan's the type of kid that doesn't want to embarrass people and he's going to play the game the way it's supposed to be played. He didn't get near as many points as he could have got in the first round because he didn't need them. In the third and the fourth round he played very well for us, he's been a good all around player; he's doing a lot more penalty kill for us than he did last year."
Huberdeau definitely does more than just put up points.
QMI Agency has an article on the Sea Dogs’ dominance this season. Are they feeling the pressure heading into the Memorial Cup?
"There's no pressure on anyone," Huberdeau said. "We just go out and play and have fun. We added (Coyle) there, and he's a big guy who frees up space for his linemates. Things have been clicking for us and we're looking to continue that here."
If you haven’t heard, the Sea Dogs are looking to become just the ninth team in history to win back-to-back Memorial Cups.
"It would be real special and that's our goal, but it's also the goal for the other three teams," said Sea Dogs associate coach and director of hockey operations Mike Kelly told the Windsor Star.
"There's no doubt, it's a nice challenge."
Kelly also talks about how he and head coach Gerard Gallant run things in Saint John, saying they both work with the on- and off-ice stuff.
The Chronicle Herald’s Willy Palov continues to pump out the columns. Today, he writes that the QMJHL will be represented well by the Sea Dogs and Cataractes. He considers Saint John the favourite.
“Of course, the margin for error in such a short tournament is always razor-thin so none of that may matter once the action gets rolling,” writes Palov. “But when I weigh all the elements heading into the event, I find it hard to come up with an argument for anyone other than Saint John winning it all.”
FACTS AND FIGURES
If you are into facts, stats, and stuff The HockeyWriters, Even Strength, and the National Post have you covered. Poor Shawinigan, still without a championship after all these years.
In the latest edition of “The Quiz” on the NHL on TSN, Bob McKenzie, Marc Crawford, and Aaron Ward were asked which team has the best chance to defeat Saint John. McKenzie and Crawford both picked Edmonton while Ward picked London.
Alex Walling of TSN writes about the Sea Dogs and Cataractes, saying QMJHL teams don’t win the Memorial Cup often – especially in back-to-back years.
“The last time the Quebec league posted back-to-back winners was with Granby in 1996 and Hull in 1997. In the last 32 years, the Q has won the title seven times so you can see, it doesn't happen often for this league,” writes Walling. “The WHL leads with 14 titles and the OHL has had 10 winners in the same timeframe.”
The Pictou County newspaper “The News” has an article on Sea Dogs defenseman Jordan Moore.
“This is way up there in my career moments,” said Moore about the Memorial Cup. “It’s a little different because I joined the team later, but this is one of the first major championships I’ve been a part of. I don’t think anything I’ve ever won in minor hockey compares to the Presidents Cup (QMJHL league championship).”
Moore played in two regular season games and four playoff contests with Saint John. He did not record a point.
Metro Halifax has an article on Stephen MacAulay.
“It would mean so much … I was drafted here at 15 and played here right from Day 1,” MacAulay said about the possibility of winning back-to-back Memorial Cups. “They’ve given me everything I’ve got in my hockey career and I just want to, myself and the veteran guys, want to say thank you to the organization for everything they’ve done for us.”
Lastly, here’s Open Ice Hockey’s Memorial Cup preview in video form.