Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sea Dogs Notebook

The 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge is coming up and members of Team Canada will head to Toronto on Thursday to prepare for the event. The team will practice on Friday at the MasterCard Centre.

Saint John Sea Dogs captain Jonathan Huberdeau will be playing for Team Canada. Other QMJHL players include Charles Hudon, Xavier Ouellet, Phillip Danault, and Maxime Lagace.

The Canada-Russia Challenge will replace Team Canada’s usual summer evaluation camp. There will be four games with the first two in Russia on Aug. 9 and 10 and the final two in Halifax on Aug. 13 and 14. Tickets are still available for the Halifax games.

According to Hockey Canada’s release today, all four games will carried by TSN and RDS.

The Florida Panthers website had an article on Huberdeau last week. He had some kind words for the Sea Dogs organization, a team he could end up returning to if the NHL goes dark this fall.

“It was a great organization; they have great coaching so it was great to be there,” recalled Huberdeau. “They knew what you had to do to prepare for the NHL, which was great. All my teammates, we had a lot of fun together, it was just great to be there.”

The Hockey Writers also had a piece on Huberdeau in an article about Panther prospects.

“His hands are incredible, allowing him to maneuver the puck between defenders with ease but it’s his vision and creativity that makes him such an offensive wizard,” writes Adam Stafki. “Too put it simply, he is a playmaker in its purest form.”

And in other Panther news, they were ranked first in ESPN's organizational rankings again.

The Ottawa Senators website had an article on former Sea Dogs forward Mike Hoffman. He made his NHL debut with the Sens back in December and, obviously, is looking for a roster spot this year.

"I think I'm right there," Hoffman told the website when asked how close he is to achieving his National Hockey League dream.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sea Dogs Walking Stick For Sale

Found this on Kijiji. $65 will get you this Sea Dogs walking stick.

Beautiful handcrafted Saint John Sea Dogs walking stick for sale. Various hockey themed woodburnings etched into the length of the stick, team logo, Presidents Cup and Memorial Cup victory years and leather lanyard. A one-of-a-kind souvenir of the Sea Dogs! Delivery available in the Saint John area.

More pictures are available here.

This would have come in handy last year when walking through the construction zone that was Station St.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Paliotta: "I'll be back at Vermont in September"

A few weeks ago the Michael Paliotta rumour mill started up again after having a few months off. There were rumours back in the winter that the University of Vermont defenseman might jump ship and join the Saint John Sea Dogs. Those rumours proved not to be true and it doesn’t appear this summer’s report will come true either.

In an interview with the Westport News, Paliotta, a 19-year old Chicago Blackhawks prospects, said that he is still committed to the Hockey East school.

"For me, it doesn't really suit my game very much," he said. "I'm really happy with how things are going at Vermont. There's rumors every couple months that I'm possibly considering going there, but that's all it is, a rumor. I haven't even been in contact with them personally, and I'm not intending to go there. I'll be back at Vermont in September." 
Paliotta also said that getting an education is important to his family. He is majoring in business at Vermont. 
"Obviously, I'm getting a really good education at Vermont," he said. "I love my teammates up at school."

So, there you go. This should shoot down rumours for a few weeks at least.

The d-man is on the world junior radar. He'll be attending Team USA's evaluation camp in August.

Paliotta was selected by the Sea Dogs in the 10th round, 180th overall in the 2010 QMJHL Entry Draft.

The Westport, Connecticut native registered four goals and six assists in 30 games with the Vermont Catamounts last season. Vermont finished last in the Hockey East conference with a record of 3-23-1 and an overall record of 6-27-1.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bad Times For Dillon Donnelly

As we’ve learned over the past year, things are never boring with the Shawinigan Cataractes.

The latest drama involves damaging the replica Memorial Cup. Cataractes defenseman Dillon Donnelly admitted yesterday on Twitter that he is to blame for the damage.

“Breaking the Memorial Cup was an accident,” tweeted the Colorado Avalanche prospect. “I picked it up lost my balance and dropped it, there was no intention to break it, I'm sorry.”

According to Le Nouvelliste’s Steve Turcotte, Donnelly will have to pay to have the trophy fixed, write an apology to the three Canadian Hockey League commissioners and his teammates, and has been suspended by the team until September 3. Yikes.

The most unfortunate part of this saga is that several members of the championship team will not be able to have their day with the Cup. The Canadian Press reports that it is off to Toronto for repairs.

As Buzzing The Net points out, Vincent Arseneau voiced his displeasure about the damage on his Facebook page. Arseneau was scheduled to have the Memorial Cup on August 6.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sea Dogs Notebook

The Detroit Red Wings still haven’t been able to sign Tomas Jurco because of a lack of transfer agreement between the International Ice Hockey Federation and Slovak Ice Hockey Federation. Jurco expects to be playing in the American Hockey League this season.

"I'm expecting myself to play in Grand Rapids this year," he told the Detroit Free Press. "I'll do my best, obviously. I'm going to try to get used to playing men hockey. I hope it won't be problem for me. Maybe I'll get a chance for a couple (NHL) games this year, maybe next year."

In the article published on Sunday, the Free Press also notes that Jurco is still feeling some pain from shoulder injuries he suffered during the Sea Dogs playoff run.

A Winning Habit has an article on Habs prospect Nathan Beaulieu.

“The 6-foot-2 defender brings ample amount of talent to the Habs’ blue line,” writes Bradey Williston. “He is known for his quick feet, confidence, puck moving ability and most importantly his leadership. Beaulieu has A reputation for his determination and has no problem lifting the team up on his shoulder in tight game situations. He loves the offensive side of the game and is a natural power-play quarterback.”

The Rat Trick examined the top prospects of the Florida Panthers who are able to play centre.

“Jonathan Huberdeau is without a doubt the Cats’ top prospect as it stands right now,” writes Kris Eberwein. “Hubby is a centerman and has an amazing eye for the net. In the 2010-11 season with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL Hubby put up an astounding 105 points in just 67 games. Granted, he put up these numbers in Juniors but there’s no doubt that this kind of skill will translate nicely to the NHL.”

Halifax Mooseheads play-by-play man John Moore posted this video of former Sea Dogs captain Alex Grant training in Halifax last week.

Grant is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. He recorded 10 goals and 27 assists in 61 regular season games with the American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He added another seven points in 12 playoff matches.

The first overall pick in the 2005 QMJHL Entry Draft spent three-and-a-half seasons in Saint John from 2005-2009.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Cataractes Had An Eventful Summer

The Shawinigan Cataractes badly damaged a replica of the Memorial Cup over the summer, forcing Quebec Major Junior Hockey League commissioner Gilles Courteau to issue a statement.

"The Memorial Cup was donated in 1919 to honour Canada's war fallen," said Courteau. "It is unfortunate and deplorable to see it in such a state. The damages that were caused will be billed to the team."

The Canadian Hockey League says that this is a replicaAccording to The Canadian Press, “winning teams that want to have the trophy over the off-season must take out $50,000 in insurance against damages.”

Like the Sea Dogs did last year, the Cataractes have been giving the trophy to each player on the team for 24 hours. The Memorial Cup also got banged up touring with the Dogs last year and probably has many, many other times but the media has just never picked up on it like this.

A lot of people are really overreacting to this. The Cup broke. It will be fixed. It will probably be break again. We highly doubt players intentionally tried to bust this thing.

According to the CP, the trophy won’t make a public appearance until September 21 when the Cataractes hold their home opener. Saying that the 2012 Memorial Cup has been eventful, bizarre, and controversial would be an understatement.


L’Echo de Shawinigan: La Coupe Memorial sévèrement endommagée

Photo via L'Echo de Shawinigan

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sea Dogs At NHL Development Camps Update

Former Sea Dogs defenseman Eric Gelinas is taking part in New Jersey Devils rookie camp this week. The camp began on Monday.

“The objective of this is to give an orientation as to what the philosophy is of the organization,” Devils’ President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello told the Devils website. “We had a meeting last night and we talked about a lot of things A to Z, as far as getting accustomed to the trainers, getting accustomed to the locker room, getting accustomed to everything that we do.”

The New York Post wrote yesterday that Gelinas was standing out at the camp.

Gelinas had a good rookie season with the American Hockey League’s Albany Devils, registering 16 goals and 21 assists in 75 games.

Washington Capitals development camp ended on Saturday with a scrimmage. Stanislav Galiev scored the opening goal of the match. Team Red – Galiev’s team – would win 4-3 in overtime.

The Washington Capitals website has the entire game on archive.

Japers’ Rink has plenty of news and links from the final day. Russian Machine Never Breaks has a bunch of photos.

Cousineau Staying In Ducks System

Former Saint John Sea Dogs goaltender Marco Cousineau will be staying in the Anaheim Ducks system for at least another season.

The Ducks announced Monday that Cousineau had signed a one-year deal (accepted qualifying offer) to remain with the club. Per team policy, no financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

Cousineau had an eventful 2011-12 campaign, spending time in the Central Hockey League, American Hockey League, and East Coast Hockey League. In the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch he went 3-2-0 with a 3.32 goals against average and a 0.904 save percentage. In the ECHL with the Elmira Jackals he went 0-1-0 with a 4.08 GAA and a 0.879 SV%. Lastly, in the CHL with the Allen Americans he went 16-4-4 with a 2.53 GAA and a 0.918 SV%.

In 2010-11, Cousineau’s first pro season, he went 21-16-5 with a 3.23 GAA and a 0.898 SV% while playing with the Jackals.

The 22-year old was selected by the Ducks in the third round of the 2008 National Hockey League Draft.

The Sea Dogs acquired Cousineau during the 2009-2010 holiday trading period from the PEI Rocket. He helped the team reach the President’s Cup final for the first time in team history, a final that saw the SEa Dogs fall in six games to the Moncton Wildcats. He had a 15-5-0 record with Saint John in the second half of the regular season and produced a 2.36 GAA and a 0.914 SV%. He went 14-7 with a 2.80 GAA and a .911 SV% in the playoffs.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sea Dogs At NHL Development Camps Update

The Washington Capitals are holding their final scrimmage of development camp this morning. Of course, that scrimmage will feature Sea Dogs forward Stanislav Galiev.

Caps365 has a bunch of video from parts of Caps development camp.

The Examiner has a short article of Galiev. The Sea Dogs apparently play in Quebec City.

At Minnesota Wild development camp, there was a scrimmage held on Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center. Charlie Coyle played with Raphael Bussieres and Johan Larson on Team White while Zack Phillips played with Brett Bulmer and Marshal Everson on Team Green.

Charlie Coyle scored to give Team White a 4-3 lead in the second half. Team White would later tie it and win the shootout. Here are the highlights.

"I just found some open space and he made a nice play to put it right on my tape," Coyle told the Wild website. "I almost bobbled it, but it was a nice play by him, a great look."

Over at Hockey Wilderness, they have some thoughts on the development camp scrimmage.

“This kid has hands,” writes dancchan about Phillips. “I could argue his hands are as talented as Granlund's. Too bad his skating is still quite average, but this kid is very creative and has a good package of offensive talents. Could he be a more dynamic version of Andrew Brunette?”

The Star Tribune has a big time article on Coyle. The article brings up the Sir Charles nickname, a nickname we may or may not be responsible for.

The final scrimmage of camp will be held tomorrow morning. It can be watched live on the Wild website.

Friday, July 13, 2012

VIDEO: Camera On Jurco's Helmet

The Detroit Red Wings did something yesterday that should have been done years ago – put a camera on Tomas Jurco’s head.

Here’s some of the video which also features some of his usual stick moves.

Red Wings development camp ended today in Traverse City, Michigan.

Photo via Red Wings Twitter

Paliotta Rumors Begin Again

The Michael Paliotta rumours suddenly picked up steam again last night thanks to a few tweets from Joe Meloni of CollegeHockeyNews.com.
There were rumours last December that Paliotta, along with Vermont teammate Connor Brickley, would leave the University of Vermont to join the Sea Dogs. The university instantly denied those reports. Neither would go on to join the Sea Dogs.

“Even if they have some interest, I think it's unlikely Paliotta goes,” Meloni added. “Think he would've went last year if he really wanted to. Even if UVM struggles again, Chicago has let a lot of guys stay in school. Can't think of any Blackhawks picks who left NCAA for CHL.”

Things have certainly changed in Saint John since December. They have a new head coach and a new core of players. If ice time was ever an issue Paliotta, a third round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2011 NHL Draft, would get plenty this year with the rebuilding Dogs.

I certainly wouldn't go out and buy a Paliotta Sea Dogs jersey just yet. It makes sense that Saint John's interest has re-emerged because they have plenty of holes to fill in their lineup and we all know Mike Kelly is always working at landing impact players. It's just common sense that the Dogs would be inquiring to see if he wanted to make the shift to junior.

The defenseman from Westport, Connecticut registered four goals and six assists in 30 games with the Vermont Catamounts last season. Vermont finished last in the Hockey East conference with a record of 3-23-1 and an overall record of 6-27-1.

Paliotta was selected by the Sea Dogs in the 10th round, 180th overall in the 2010 QMJHL Entry Draft.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sea Dogs Pre-Season Schedule Confirmed

The Saint John Sea Dogs confirmed their pre-season schedule today. There have been a couple changes to the original schedule that was posted on the league website last month.

First of all, Saint John’s first pre-season contest will be held on Friday, August 17 against the PEI Rocket. Instead of Harbour Station, this game will be played at the qplex in Quispamsis. It’s the second straight season that the Sea Dogs have played at the beautiful facitlity.

The other change is Saint John’s final game of exhibition action. According to the Sea Dogs release, that game will now be played on Sunday, September 16 at 4pm at Harbour Station. That change hasn’t been made on the league website, though.

From the team release:

Tickets for the pre-season game in Quispamsis will go on sale at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 30.  Reserved seating and standing room tickets, priced at $10, will be available at the qplex administration office or by calling 848-5900.  Tickets for the Sea Dogs two pre-season games at Harbour Station will go on sale at the Harbour Station box office on Monday, August 7, beginning at 10 a.m.  These tickets will be $9 each. 

The Sea Dogs will play seven pre-season games this year. Here is the full schedule.

Aug. 17 - PEI @ Saint John - Qplex, Quispamsis - 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 18 - Saint John @ PEI - Pownal Sports Centre - 2 p.m.
Aug. 22 - Saint John @ Acadie-Bathurst - Arena S.A. Dionne, Tracadie - 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 - Saint John @ Moncton - Amherst Stadium - 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 - Moncton @ Saint John - Harbour Station - 7 p.m.            
Sept. 14 - Saint John @ Halifax - Halifax Forum - 7 p.m.
Sept.16 - Halifax @ Saint John - Harbour Station - 4 p.m.

The Sea Dogs begin the regular season on Thursday, September 20 against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at the Station.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sea Dogs Notebook

Interesting stuff over at Hockey Prospectus as they have released their 2012 NHL organizational rankings. Not surprisingly, the Florida Panthers are ranked at No. 1.

“The Panthers system is headlined by stud prospect Jonathan Huberdeau, but it goes on way beyond him,” writes Cory Pronman. “Florida has accumulated not only depth, but talented depth. I felt the top four systems were somewhat interchangeable, but the fact that Florida has so many good prospects and a few high-end ones put them over the top for me.”

Five of the top 10 teams all had prospects playing on the Sea Dogs last year.

The Philadelphia Flyers were ranked last.

As reported by Ian Saab himself on Twitter, Ian Saab is off to Europe. He’s headed to Austria where he will join EC Red Bull Salzburg.

“Ian Saab is also hoping that his ambitious style will win him a place on the Red Bulls' 1st division team, but to begin with he is only entitled to play on the farm team,” states the team’s website.

As Matthew Wuest notes, former Halifax Mooseheads Sawyer Hannay and Alexandre Grenier have both joined the same team. Both Hannay and Grenier were drafted by the Canucks while Saab attended Vancouver rookie camp last year.

Saab was eligible to return to Saint John as a 20-year old this season but was not guaranteed a roster spot.

The Post-Standard has an article on the Sea Dogs’ newest assistant coach, Ross Yates. He is a former head coach of the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch but was not brought back after the 2009-10 season.

"I'm going to try it out for a year. It's the one league I've never worked in,'' Yates told the newspaper. "I've never had anything to do with juniors, so I'm looking forward to the experience. There will be a little adjustment, for sure. Most of the guys who came to us in Syracuse came right out of juniors. I pretty much know that stage of development. I think that will be an advantage for me.''

Yates says he has had plenty of job offers over the past two years but couldn’t find the right fit.

London Knights goaltender Michael Houser, who backstopped the OHL champs to a round-robin victory over the Sea Dogs at May’s Memorial Cup, was recently signed by Jonathan Huberdeau’s Florida Panthers. The two had a laugh at Panthers development camp last week.

"He scored on me in one of the scrimmages and after, he told me he was thinking about shooting it from outside the blue-line like he did (when he scored on the Knights at the Memorial Cup in Shawinigan), so that was pretty funny," Houser told the London Free Press.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sea Dogs At NHL Development Camps Update

Pittsburgh Penguins development camp kicked off today at Consol Energy Center. Former Sea Dogs defenseman Simon Despres is taking part once again this year.

The Penguins website has a full recap of the day.

“I can see (Despres) as a big-bodied guy that can defend. Putting him next to Kris (Letang), you see a formidable pair,” Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma told the Pens website. “Both can defend, but also have the ability to make a pass and make a play. It’s an intriguing matchup. You see a young guy paired with a guy who was a young guy, who is now mature and at a different point in his game. They’ve had similar paths. Simon is a couple years behind Kris and can lean on that. You see that in the pairing.”

“Simon is a highly talented player. He got great experience last year, coming into rookie camp, in Wilkes-Barre and got to play in the playoffs at the National Hockey League level. Those guys are knocking right on the door,” said Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach John Hynes said, referring to Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Strait and Despres. “They’ve proven themselves through their experiences that they’re ready to take that next step.”

Minnesota Wild development camp is underway as well. Attendees include Charlie Coyle and Zack Phillips.

“The attendees went through some fitness testing yesterday and had a group outing last night before hitting the ice for the first time today,” states the Wild website. “The drills at today’s morning skate were eerily very similar to those that the Wild conduct during the season.”

There will be scrimmages on Thursday and Saturday. Both will be streamed online.

There is still a buzz around the Wild with the addition of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

"It's great they landed those two guys," Coyle told the Pioneer Press. "Obviously, it takes away spots on the team, but that's best for our organization. It makes everyone work harder. It's good, all the way around, for everyone."

The Left Wing Lock had an article on Tomas Jurco the other day. He’s not officially signed by the Detroit Red Wings yet due to the lack of transfer agreement Slovak hockey federation and the NHL.

“The (transfer agreement) between the Slovak Federation and the NHL expired this summer,” Jurco explained. “They have to agree to a new one before I can officially sign. I don’t really know much about it, but they are working on the deal and then I will sign my contract.”

Red Wings development camp goes until Friday. There is a scrimmage being held this evening.

Highmore Still Recovering

Matthew Highmore, the Saint John Sea Dogs’ top pick in last month’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft, is still recovering from shoulder surgery.

“It’s just a matter of recovery,” said Matthew’s father, Dave Highmore, to Metro Halifax. “No question (he’ll be back) early in the regular season. We just don’t know if it’s going to be the start of the season or two weeks later.”

Highmore was left off Team Atlantic’s under-17 evaluation camp roster. He can still make the team though with a solid first half with the Sea Dogs. The tournament doesn’t take place until December.

Metro’s Matthew Wuest writes that Highmore “is unlikely to be ready for a full dose of upper-body training until mid-August.” Saint John begins their pre-season play on Friday, August 17 against the PEI Rocket at Harbour Station. They open the regular season at home on September 20 against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

The Sea Dogs were aware of Highmore’s shoulder issue (EDIT: they were aware. Apologies for earlier typo). At the draft, the 16-year old from Dartmouth couldn’t shake hands with his dominant right. Obviously, the Sea Dogs don’t believe his shoulder will cause many problems in the future.

The forward, selected eighth overall in the QMJHL Entry Draft, registered 13 goals and 13 assists in 25 games with the Dartmouth Major Midgets last season. He added another 11 points in 16 playoff games.

Stuff From Day 1 Of Capitals Camp

A few things from yesterday’s day one of Washington Capitals development camp.

Here’s Stanislav Galiev speaking to the media.

Russian Machine Never Breaks has some photos from yesterday’s events.

The Washington Times has a big time article on Galiev.

103.5 WTOP also has an article on Galiev.

Check out Japers’ Rink later today for more coverage. The camp continues today and goes until Saturday.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Is This The New 3rd Jeresy?

Check out the jersey Sea Dogs president Wayne Long was wearing on Saturday afternoon at the Five Hole for Food event. Is this the Sea Dogs’ new third jersey?

It features both the QMJHL and Reebok logos on the front and the CHL logo on the bottom as any official jersey would. If it’s not a third jersey, this is really strange.

These photos appear on the Five Hole for Food Facebook page. And no, there is no great picture of the front of the jersey. 

Note: click above image to enlarge

Yates Named Assistant Coach

Ross Yates has been named the Saint John Sea Dogs’ newest assistant coach.

Yates, 53, has a plethora of coaching experience, most notably with the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch where he was behind the bench as an assistant and head coach for 10 seasons.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to add Ross to our staff from an outstanding group of candidates,” said Sea Dogs General Manager and Head Coach Mike Kelly in a release.

“The development of our players is the number one priority in Saint John and we feel Ross will definitely add to that cause."

Prior to his coaching career, he played professionally for several years in North America and Europe. From the Sea Dogs release:

As a player, Yates established strong roots in the Maritimes, spending five years with Mount Allison University of then AUAA.  In his final year at Mount Allison, he recorded 72 points (16 goals and 56 assists) in just 21 regular season games.  His 56 assists in a single season remains an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) record. 
Following the 1981 AUAA season, Yates joined the Binghamton Whalers of the AHL.  In his second full year with the Whalers in 1982-1983, Yates enjoyed a career season, capturing the league’s top scorer award (41 goals and 84 assists for 125 total points).  He was also named the league’s most valuable player, earned the AHL’s top sportsmanship award and was named The Hockey News minor league player of the year. 
Yates made his NHL debut with the Hartford Whalers in 1983-1984 and collected one goal and one assist in seven games before heading overseas to continue his playing career.

This seems like a solid move. He has plenty of coaching experience and should only benefit a team already with a quality staff.

In related news, Yates’ Wikipedia page has already been updated.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sea Dogs Notebook

Moncton Wildcats head coach and director of hockey operations Danny Flynn doesn’t expect the Sea Dogs to completely fall off the rails this season even though their lineup will look dramatically different.

"They've got a winning culture there," Flynn told Sportsnet.ca this week. "I still think they're going to be a very competitive team. I certainly wouldn't write them off at this point. You don't have that much winning happen inside your room and you forget how to win."

The Wildcats should have a good team this year and hopefully won’t be as boring as the 2011-12 Wildcats. Flynn says Halifax will be the team to beat and he is correct.

The Wildcats and Sea Dogs meet twice during the pre-season. They meet for the first time in the regular season on Wednesday, September 26 at Harbour Station.

Sea Dogs defenseman Ian Saab tweeted this past week that he is heading to Europe.
Saab is eligible to return to Saint John as a 20-year old player but, at the moment, he’s probably the fourth or fifth best overager the Sea Dogs have.

The Sea Dogs acquired the defenseman through the Lewiston Maineiacs (RIP) Expansion Draft last year. Saab recorded nine points in 52 regular season games and three in 12 playoff matches. He provided toughness but often got into penalty trouble.

Former Sea Dog enforcer Brett Gallant will return to the American Hockey League’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers next season, reports the Summerside Journal Pioneer.

The Journal Pioneer reports that Gallant has signed a one-year contract with the New York Islanders’ AHL affiliate.

“I had a good year until I got hurt in January,” he told to the paper. “I had a good experience playing in the games I did, and I hope to build on that this year.”

Gallant, who spent parts of three seasons with Saint John, had two goals, an assist, and 80 penalty minutes in 25 games with Bridgeport last year.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sea Dogs At Development Camps Update

Florida Panthers development camp came to an end yesterday. Litter Box Cats and the Panthers website has all your coverage, including some solid video work.

“Wow that was a great camp, enjoyed every moment,” Jonathan Huberdeau tweeted yesterday. “Thanks to all the fans that came out.”
To nobody’s surprise, Huberdeau scored a beautiful goal during a shootout drill.

By all accounts, Huberdeau had the camp that was expected of him. Unless there is a long lockout, it’s looking like he’ll be in the NHL this season.

Tampa Bay Lightning development camp has been going on all week and ends today. Taking part in the camp is Danick Gauthier who the Lightning signed as a free agent a few months ago.

The Lightning are holding a three-on-three tournament which began yesterday and ends today. According to the Lightning website, Gauthier recorded two goals yesterday.

Detroit Red Wings development camp begins today and ends next Friday. There will scrimmages next Tuesday and Friday.

41 players will take part in the camp. Tomas Jurco will be one of them. The Detroit Free Press names him one of the players to watch at this year’s camp along with Halifax’s Martin Frk.

Pittsburgh Penguins development camp begins on Tuesday and runs until Saturday, July 14 at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Former Sea Dogs defenseman Simon Despres will be taking part once again this season.

“Despres, 20, split his first professional season between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL),” states the Penguins website. “He made his NHL debut on Dec. 1 at Washington and went on to appear in 18 regular-season games for Pittsburgh, totaling four points (1G-3A) and a plus-5 rating. The 6-foot-4, 219-pound Despres also played in three games for the Penguins during the 2012 playoffs. Despres was voted a starter for the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic, although he had to miss the game due to injury.”

Friday, July 6, 2012

Galiev In DC And Has A Nice Car

Washington Capitals development camp doesn’t start until Monday but Stanislav Galiev is already in town.

Capitals PR man @brguerrero tweeted that Galiev was the first player on a fresh sheet of ice at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the team’s practice facility and the site of this year’s development camp. The ice melted last week during the massive power outage in and around the DC area.

Development camp begins this Monday and runs until Saturday, July 14. Our friends at Japers’ Rink will keep you up to date with coverage and news links.

Also, Galiev tweeted that he bought his first car today.
Not bad, not bad at all. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Five Hole for Food Returns Saturday

Five Hole for Food is returning to Saint John on Saturday. Last year’s event was a huge success and hopefully this year’s will be even better.

This year’s event will take place on Smythe Street (beside Harbour Passage Trail) from 3pm to 7pm.

Five Hole for Food is an annual coast to coast tour playing hockey to support food banks across Canada. 
We set up a rink in the heart of each city and invite anyone and everyone to come out to play hockey to fight hunger. Bring your stick, bring a can of food, and have fun. 100% of the proceeds go to the local food bank in each city. 
We're playing road hockey in Saint John to benefit the Community Food Basket of Saint John and we hope you'll join us! 
Things to bring:
1. A food or money donation
2. A hockey stick

Here’s video from last year’s tour stop.

For more information, visit the Five Hole for Food website.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Leblanc Gets Under-17 Camp Invite

Saint John Sea Dogs first-round pick Olivier Leblanc is among 40 players invited to Team Quebec’s under-17 camp. The camp began today in Sherbrooke and goes until Sunday.

The 22 players selected for the team will represent Quebec at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in December.

Lebanc is on Team Blue at the camp which includes Daniel Audette, the first overall pick in June’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft.

The Sea Dogs selected Leblanc, a 16-year old defenseman, with the 11th overall pick in the 2012 QMJHL Entry Draft.

According to Elite Prospects, Leblanc registered three goals and 12 assists in 40 games with Séminaire St-François Blizzard of the Quebec AAA ranks last year.

Leblanc is expected to make the Sea Dogs this season and should see a decent amount of ice time since, y’know, this year’s team isn’t exactly loaded with depth. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tallon: Huberdeau Ready For The NHL

Florida Panthers development camp kicked off today and their general manager said what most of us are well aware of – Jonathan Huberdeau has nothing left to prove at the junior hockey level.

“Two or three of our kids will be in the lineup – Huberdeau can score,'' Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told the media, via the Miami Herald.

“Now is the time to get him to the next level. We have to improve his overall strength, timing and get him playing with bigger, stronger men. If he plays another year in junior, that's really not going to help his progress.''

Huberdeau’s slim frame is the only thing holding him back. He certainly has the skill to be at the NHL level and probably could have played with Florida last year if he was bigger. He’d put up unlimited points if he was returned to the Sea Dogs this year and that isn’t going to do much for his development.

Huberdeau spoke to the media as well. Video via George Richards of the Herald.

Panthers camp continues tomorrow morning.

Interweb roundup after the jump.

Sea Dogs Notebook

The Sea Dogs website – and all other team websites – finally have their 2012-13 schedule in easy-to-read form. That can be found here.

The Sea Dogs begin the pre-season on August 17 at home against PEI and the regular season on September 20 at home against Bathurst.

Florida Panthers development camp begins today. Of course, Sea Dogs captain Jonathan Huberdeau, the third overall pick in last year’s NHL Draft, will be getting plenty of attention.

Because of his age, it’s the NHL or back to Saint John for Huberdeau next season.

“Expect last year’s No. 3 pick Jonathan Huberdeau to be on the Panthers this season because he is just 19 and has nothing else to prove in juniors,” writes the Sun Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov in a blog post. “The new cap may be $70 million but the Panthers spend to their allotted budget which means they probably have about $20 million available but will only spend about half that. Remember they only have about 3-4 roster spots available this year with Tyson Strachan slated to be up with the big guys. Huberdeau takes up another spot.”

“Huberdeau could very well be the future of the franchise if he can keep up the pace and I fully expect to see him on the ice in South Florida next season,” writes Kris Eberwein of Yahoo!.

According to the Panthers website, the first practice of camp is this afternoon at 2pm Atlantic.

Thought this was an interesting tweet from Huberdeau.
This happened in February.

Racine was traded to Moncton at the QMJHL Entry Draft.

Hockey’s Future has named Tomas Jurco the Highest Risk/Reward Prospect in the Detroit Red Wings system.

“His three-year stint in major junior hockey has come to an end but with such creative skill, not a ton of defensive wherewithal and an international transfer agreement still to hurdle over, Jurco is nearly the dictionary definition of a boom or bust prospect,” writes Mike Farkas. “Provided the contract situation works itself out naturally, Jurco will ply his trade with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins – his first taste of North American professional hockey.”