Monday, February 4, 2013

Sea Dogs Notebook

Charlie Coyle is expected to make his NHL debut tonight when his Minnesota Wild take on the Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona. Here’s Coyle speaking to the media after practice yesterday:

Coyle practiced on a line with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and center Matt Cullen yesterday. He will wear No. 63 with the Wild.

The Sea Dogs have yet another busy week ahead of them. The team will play three games in four days beginning on Thursday. Two of the three contests will be played at Harbour Station.

On Thursday, the Sea Dogs host the PEI Rocket before travelling to Bathurst for a Friday night tilt with the Titan. Then on Sunday, the Dogs host Scott Oke, Kevin Gagne, and Rimouski Oceanic in what could be a first round playoff preview.

Saint John, 19-30-1-0 and losers of six straight, are only five points ahead of the 16th-place Sherbrooke Phoenix with a game in hand.

Last week, the Sea Dogs announced they will be offering a BOGO ticket special.

Fans who purchase a ticket to the Feb. 7 Sea Dogs game versus the PEI Rocket and receive a voucher for a complimentary ticket to the Feb. 14 game against the Shawinigan Cataractes as well.

Fans who have already purchased tickets are also able to take advantage of the great offer. Anyone with a purchased ticket (offer not valid for complimentary tickets, ie. $0.00 value on ticket) can bring their game ticket to Sea Dog Central on Thursday, Feb. 7 and pick up a voucher that can be exchanged at the box office for a free ticket to the contest against the Cataractes.

If fans are unable to claim their voucher at Sea Dogs Central on Feb. 7, vouchers can be claimed with their Feb. 7 ticket at the Sea Dogs office up until 4:30 p.m. Feb. 14.

The Sea Dogs announced Friday that they have partnered with the PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) program again this year and will hold a cereal drive at Thursday’s game.

The team is asking fans to bring donations of nutritious cereal or breakfast bars to the Sea Dogs’ Feb. 7 game against the PEI Rocket. All cereal collected will go to the breakfast programs at seven Community/PALS Schools in the city of Saint John. The only request is that the cereals be healthy and nutritious.

“Community schools allow local businesses to enrich the school experience, and we are proud to get on board with PALS to help build a bright future for young Saint Johners. PALS has a great group of community partners already and we look forward to building this relationship in the future,” said Sea Dogs President Wayne Long. “Our fans always step up to the plate and support our initiatives to give back to our community. This nutritious cereal drive is just another chance for the best fans in junior hockey to show off their generosity.”

The Sea Dogs were named this week’s QMJHL “cold team” in Patrick King’s column at

“The cost of winning consecutive league championships is taking its toll on the young Sea Dogs now,” writes King. “Saint John has just one win in its last 12 games and a losing streak of five. Their last win came in a shootout over Cape Breton on Jan. 19, their only victory after the trade deadline. They’ll need to find a way to accumulate points down the stretch with Sherbrooke, Shawinigan and Cape Breton not too far behind in the playoff race.”

It has not been the greatest few weeks of hockey.

It was announced last week that former Sea Dogs forward Scott Howes has signed with the American Hockey League’s Springfield Falcons. The Falcons are the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Howes, who had been playing with Springfield on a tryout, has three goals in six games. He had 21 goals and 14 assists in 22 games with the Central Hockey League’s Allen Americans earlier this season.

The Toronto native played his overage season with the Sea Dogs, recording 42 goals and 70 points in 59 games in 2007-08. He added 15 goals and 11 helpers in 14 playoff games.

Former Sea Dogs defenseman Kevin Gagne was named the QMJHL’s third star of the month for January. From the league website:

Kevin Gagné, Rimouski Océanic defenseman, has been wowing fans since he was acquired in a trade from the Saint John Sea Dogs. His offensive contribution was phenomenal in January with 6 games of 2 points or more, working towards a report card of 16 points in 10 games, which launched his team towards 8 wins out of a possible 10. Half of his points (8 out of 16) were during Rimouski’s powerplay, at a pace of 34.1% since the New Year. It’s worth noting that 2 of the 3 goals he scored were winning goals this month. His +/-  of +10 since the beginning of the year also denotes his effectiveness, having generated an average of 3.6 shots on goal per game. He is currently the top scorer of the League among defensemen with 52 points in 43 games, on top of being the one who made the most assists (38) among defensemen.

The Oceanic sit second overall in the league with a 35-11-1-4 record.

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