Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sea Dogs Notebook

Today, the London Free Press is reporting that “Nathan Beaulieu is now facing two assault charges in connection with a dustup at a house party in Strathroy last weekend, police said.”

Nathan’s father, former Sea Dogs head coach and general manager Jacques Beaulieu, was charged with two counts of assault yesterday.

"There's two victims and (Jacques and Nathan Beaulieu) are each charged with one count of assault against each victim," said Deputy Chief Mark Campbell to the Free Press.

Check out the article for full details. Buzzing The Net and The Canadian Press also have articles about the situation.

Nathan Beaulieu was recalled to the Canadiens last week with Hamilton’s season over. He played in six NHL games in his first season as a pro. The Free Press called him a “superstar” which may be a bit premature.

This is cool:

Corbeil, who played one-and-a-half seasons with Saint John and helped the team win two President Cups and a Memorial Cup, spent the 2012-13 season playing for the Missouri Mavericks of the Central Hockey League. He went 10-9 with a 2.69 GAA and 0.915 SV% in the regular season and 3-1 record with a 2.24 GAA and 0.924 SV% in the playoffs.

Stephen MacAulay is the only remaining former Sea Dog playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs. MacAulay and the Halifax Mooseheads begin their President Cup Final series on Friday night at the Metro Centre against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. That game will air nationally on Sportsnet.

MacAulay has five goals and seven assists in 11 post-season games. He had 13 points in last year’s playoff run with Saint John. The Cole Harbour native is playing in his fourth straight President Cup Final.

Halifax is a perfect 12-0 in the post-season this year. Game 1 of the championship series is Friday and Game 2 is Saturday before the series shifts to Baie-Comeau.

The Florida Panthers did not win last night’s NHL Draft Lottery, but they will be picking second overall in this year’s draft. With Colorado selecting first, there is a good chance that Florida will get to choose either Nathan MacKinnon or Jonathan Drouin. Putting one of those two on a line with Jonathan Huberdeau could be deadly.

Durepos Joins Aigles Bleus

The Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus announced today their first wave of recruits for the 2013-14 Atlantic University Sport season.

Joining the UdeM program is former Saint John Sea Dogs captain Pierre Durepos. The defenseman spent the past four seasons with Saint John, helping the club win three regular season championships, two President Cups, and a Memorial Cup.

Durepos played in just 43 regular season games in 2012-13 because of injury, recording six goals and 25 assists. He added an assist in four playoff games. He was named team captain following the departure of Jonathan Huberdeau.

The Aigles Bleus also announced today that, as basically everyone on the planet expected, Alex and Allain Saulnier will be joining the team. The twins have spent the past four seasons with the Moncton Wildcats.

Moncton finished the 2012-13 AUS season with a 12-10-6 record, placing them sixth in the eight-team league.

Former Sea Dogs captain Charles Bergeron spent five seasons at UdeM from 2007-2012 while another former Dogs captain, Mike Thomas, will begin his AUS playing career this fall at UNB.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Jacques Beaulieu Charged With Assault

Well, this isn’t good.

The London Free Press reports tonight that “Sarnia Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu is charged with two counts of assault in a weekend dust-up at a Strathroy-area home.”

Also, “police are investigating his 20-year-old son Nathan Beaulieu — a top NHL prospect who’s joined the Montreal Canadiens’ looming playoff run — in the same incident just outside the hockey player’s hometown, Windsor lawyer Patrick Ducharme said Monday.”

We're not interested in starting rumours or speculation about this kind of stuff on here, so read the Free Press article for all the details on the investigation.

Jacques Beaulieu was behind the Sea Dogs bench from 2006-2009 while Nathan Beaulieu played the Dogs from 2008-2012. Jacques was fired as head coach and general manager at the end of the 2008-09 season while Nathan stayed with the club and won two President Cup titles and a Memorial Cup.

Today, Jacques Beaulieu was named one of the finalists for the OHL’s Coach of the Year Award. Sarnia finished the regular season with a 35-28-1-4 record, placing them seventh in the Western Conference. They were swept out of the playoffs in the first-round by the Plymouth Whalers.

The Montreal Canadiens recalled Nathan Beaulieu from the AHL last week.

Big Year For Ex-Dogs In NHL

The Saint John Sea Dogs have done a lot in their eight years of existence. So it was only a matter of time before the franchise began to invade the NHL.

In this lockout shortened 48-game season, six former Sea Dogs played at least one game in the National Hockey League. Jonathan Huberdeau spent the entire season with the Florida Panthers while Simon Despres and Charlie Coyle spent the majority of their seasons in the NHL.

The others who got the call to The Show this year - Nathan Beaulieu, Mike Hoffman, and Eric Gelinas - all spent most of their seasons in the American Hockey League. Hoffman has also battled injuries this season.

The stats:

Jonathan HuberdeauFLA4814173118
Charlie CoyleMIN37861428
Simon DespresPIT3325720
Nathan BeaulieuMTL60220
Mike HoffmanOTT30002
Eric GelinasNJ10000

Former Dogs goaltender Robert Mayer also got called up to the Habs this season to fill in as backup but never saw any action. And we can’t forget about Canadiens assistant coach Gerard Gallant who, in his first season with Montreal, helped win a division title.

Gallant and the Habs will face Ottawa in the first-round while Coyle and the Wild take on Chicago and Despres and the Penguins face the Islanders.

A Good Rookie Season For Huberdeau

It was a solid rookie season for Jonathan Huberdeau.

The former Saint John Sea Dogs captain played in all 48 games for the Florida Panthers in this lockout shortened National Hockey League season, registering 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points.

Huberdeau’s 31 points tie him with Edmonton's Nail Yakupov for most amongst first year players. He led rookies in goals for much of the year but was passed by Yakupov (17) and Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher (15) on Saturday.

This is a good rookie class. Hopefully Huberdeau will - at least - get nominated for the Calder Trophy.

Also impressive is the fact that Huberdeau finished second on the Panthers in scoring, just four points back of team leader Tomas Fleischmann. His 14 goals were tied for second most on the team.

Via the Panthers website, here’s Huberdeau speaking to the media on locker cleanout day:

Florida, who had unlimited injuries this year, finished the season with the worst record in the NHL at 15-27-6. They have a good group of young players moving forward and have a good chance at selecting first overall in this year’s draft. So, that's a positive.

Despite not playing with the Sea Dogs since December, the 19-year old still finished as their leading scorer with 16 goals and 29 assists in 30 games.

Drakkar To Meet Moose In QMJHL Final

The Baie-Comeau Drakkar are heading to the President Cup Final.

With a 4-0 victory tonight in Game 6 of their semi-final matchup with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, the Drakkar win the series 4-2 and advance to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Final where they will meet the Halifax Mooseheds.

Gabryel Paquin-Boudreau, Alexandre Ranger, Félix Girard, and Valentin Zykov all scored for the Drakkar. Philippe Cadorette stopped all 24 shots he faced for the shutout.

It was an eventful series to say the least. Along with the post-game brawl in Game 4 that resulted in several suspensions and fines, four games were decided by one goal and a controversial goal made the league make a video review rule change for next season.

The Drakkar finished second in the league with a 44-19-2-3 record in the regular season. They are 12-2 in this year’s playoffs.

It’s nice to see a small market team reach the President Cup Final. It’s also nice to see two teams meet in the league final that have some history between each other. Nathan MacKinnon was originally drafted by the Drakkar but would not report, forcing the team to trade the star forward to Halifax. Drakkar fans will surely give MacKinnon a nice welcome when he comes to town for Game 3.

Game 1 is Friday night at the Metro Centre. Winner of the series represents the QMJHL in Saskatoon.

Halifax's Stephen MacAulay is the only former Sea Dog remaining in the playoffs with Ryan Tesink and the Armada getting eliminated. With Blainville-Boisbriand's season now over, will we finally get some news on the Tesink trade investigation thing?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

About Last Night

Some stuff about some stuff about some former Sea Dogs…
  • The Baie-Comeau Drakkar took a 3-2 lead in their semi-final series against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada with a 2-1 overtime victory last night. Valentin Zykov scored the winner at 2:55 of OT. This was the first game since the brawl between the two, meaning none of the regular goalies dressed along with a number of other players. Armada third string goaltender Storm Phaneuf got hurt, forcing Marc-Antoine Turcotte, who had never played in the Q, to finish the game. Ryan Tesink is eligible to return if the series goes to a Game 7. Game 6 is tomorrow.
  • The AHL playoffs began last night. Zack Phillips had an assist as the Houston Aeros defeated Tomas Jurco and the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-0 in Game 1 of their first-round series. Phillips also had three shots while Jurco was a -1 with one shot.
  • In the ECHL, Stanislav Galiev had two shots as the Reading Royals defeated the Florida Everblades 3-2 in overtime last night. Their second-round series in now tied 2-2. Galiev has three goals and six assists in nine playoff games.
  • Former Sea Dogs defensemen David MacDonald and Charles-Olivier Roussel both last lost night as the Cincinnati Cyclones fell 4-2 to Gwinnett Gladiators. MacDonald, who played 60 games with Saint John in 2006-07, had two assists, two shots, and a +2 rating. Roussel was a +1 with two shots and two penalty minutes. That second-round series is tied 2-2 as well.
  • Tonight, Jonathan Huberdeau plays his final regular season game of the year with the Florida Panthers. He enters action tonight with 14 goals and 14 assists in 47 games. He is tied with Edmonton’s Nail Yakupv and Ottawa’s Cory Conacher for first in points by a rookie with 28 and tied with Yakupov and Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher for most goals with 14. The Panthers play the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Report: Rocket Staying In PEI

The Guardian newspaper reports that the PEI Rocket/Islanders are staying in Charlottetown.

Trent Birt, the club’s vice-president of operations, emerged from a closed-door meeting with investors shortly after 7 p.m. to announce a tentative agreement had been reached. 
"The consortium we’ve been working on for the last 10 or so days just got the deal done,” Birt said. “We worked around the clock until now to get the deal done.” 
The makeup of the new group was not released.

The paper also reports that the Savards are not part of the new ownership group nor have they discussed the name change to Islanders.

This is great news for PEI hockey fans, obviously, but also great news for everyone in the Maritime Division. The Rocket moving to Quebec would have screwed up the divisional format and schedule.

There were reports that if the team could not be sold locally, it would have been bought and moved to Sorel-Tracy, Que.

Well done, PEI. Well done. We’ll see you in the pre-season.

Sea Dogs Notebook

The Halifax Mooseheads are heading to the President Cup Final.

The Mooseheads advanced to the QMJHL Final for the first time since 2005 with a wild 9-6 win over the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on Thursday night, completing a four-game sweep. Halifax is a perfect 12-0 in this year’s playoffs.

Former Sea Dogs forward Stephen MacAulay had three assists in the game to go along with one shot and one hit. MacAulay will play in the President Cup Final for a fourth straight year.

Halifax’s opponent has yet to be determined. In the other semi-final, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and Baie-Comeau Drakkar are tied 2-2. Game 5 is tonight.

Former Sea Dogs defenseman Eric Gelinas made his NHL debut last night with the New Jersey Devils. He helped the Devils defeat Simon Despres and the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2.

Gelinas was a -1, recorded one shot, and one hit in 15:59 of ice-time.

Meanwhile, Despres had one hit in 18:56 of ice time for the Pens.

Gelinas joins Jonathan Huberdeau, Despres, Charlie Coyle, Nathan Beaulieu, and Mike Hoffman as former Sea Dogs to play in the NHL this season.

Three former Sea Dogs helped the Summerside Western Capitals win the MHL’s Kent Cup earlier this week.

“There are no words to describe the feeling,” defenseman Jason Seed told the Journal Pioneer. “It never gets old and it’s amazing to win another championship. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”

“Winning championships is exciting each time you do it. . . It was two good teams going at it, and it was a fun game to play and a fun series,” said Spencer MacDonald.

The Fred Page Cup begins next Wednesday in Truro.

Things are looking good for the PEI Rocket/Islanders franchise as at least one group has made an offer to buy the team and keep it on the Island, The Guardian reports. So that’s good.

Sea Dogs president Wayne Long spoke to The Guardian yesterday about what it could mean if the Rocket/Islanders left PEI.

“To lose the Rocket would be, I think, a pretty severe blow to all of the Atlantic teams,” said Long.

“I don’t think there’s a team in our division that wants to see them leave. Obviously, we compete on the ice, but off the ice I think we all have good relationships and we want to see that team stay right where they are at.”

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eric Gelinas To Make NHL Debut Tonight

Yet another former Saint John Sea Dog will make his NHL debut.

Tonight, defenseman Eric Gelinas will suit up for the New Jersey Devils as they battle the Pittsburgh Penguins at 8:30pm Atlantic in Newark.

“I think we’re excited to see him and what he can do. He has some special talents offensively,” coach Pete DeBoer told The Star-Ledger. “So we’ll get a good look tonight.”

According to The Star-Ledger, “Gelinas, less than two weeks from his 22nd birthday, will play on power play. He will be paired with Peter Harrold.”

Gelinas will wear No. 32 for the Devils.

The offensive defenseman with a booming shot spent the second half of the 2010-11 season with Saint John after being acquired in a trade from the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. He had three goals and 17 assists in 27 games with Saint John and added another five goals and seven assists in 19 playoff games. He helped the Dogs win the 2011 President’s Cup and Memorial Cup.

Gelinas has spent the past two seasons in the American Hockey League with the Albany Devils. In 57 AHL games this year he has six goals and 16 assists.

He was originally drafted by New Jersey in the second-round of the 2009 NHL Draft. Most prospect ranking websites and magazines list him as one of the top prospects in the Devils system.

Via the Devils website, here’s Gelinas speaking.

Tesink Suspended Two Games

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has announced the suspensions and fines for last night’s post-game brawl between the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.

As fate would have it, former Sea Dogs forward Ryan Tesink received one of the harshest suspensions – two games. He’ll miss both Game 5 and 6 of this series, meaning there is a chance his junior career may have ended on Wednesday.

The St. Louis Blues prospect has one goal in four playoff games this year.

Here is the full list of suspensions and fines from a QMJHL press release:

Ryan Tesink, 2 game suspension,
Aaron Hoyles 1 game suspension,
Étienne Marcoux 1 game suspension,
Guillaume Decelles 1 game suspension,
Yassin Cissé 1 game suspension. 
Jérémie Gregoire 1 game suspension,
Bokondji Imama 2 game suspension,
Gabriel Verpaelst 1 game suspension,
Philippe Cadorette 1 game suspension,
Francis Desrosiers 1 game suspension,
Alec Jon Banville 1 game suspension,
Alexandre Ranger 1 game suspension. 
Moreover, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada forward, Cédric Paquette, is fined $1 000 for his inappropriate behaviour at the end of the game. 
Each of the organizations is fined $5 000 and the head coaches, Eric Veilleux and Jean-François Houle are suspended for the next 2 games.

So, like, nobody is playing in tomorrow’s Game 5. Also, all four goaltenders have been suspended.

This brawl has gotten national attention so it’s good to see the league announce suspensions quickly for once. You have to think the sanctions would have been worse if this didn’t happen during a semi-final playoff series.

The best-of-seven series is tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 tomorrow night in Baie-Comeau.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Brawl Ends Drakkar/Armada Game

So this happened at the end of the Drakkar-Armada game tonight.

Goalies were fighting and everything. Also reports of fans fighting in the parking lot. Some old school QMJHL stuff right here.

The fines and suspensions for this will be interesting given that this was during Game 4 of a semi-final playoff series. Fun times.

And oh yeah, the Armada won the game 4-3 and have evened the semi-final series at 2-2. Buckle up.

Better video should be available shortly.

Three Former Dogs Win MHL Title

Three former Saint John Sea Dogs are Kent Cup Champions.

The Summerside Western Capitals scored three times in the third period, giving them a 3-0 Game 5 victory over the Truro Bearcats at Credit Union Place on Wednesday night. The Caps won the Maritime Junior Hockey League Championship Series four games to one.

Former Sea Dog Danny Chiasson had an assist in the game. He finished in a tie for top spot in the MHL’s playoff scoring race with 21 points (12 goals and nine assists). The 20-year old had 88 points in 48 regular season games.

The Capitals also feature former Sea Dogs defensemen Spencer MacDonald and Jason Seed. MacDonald, who played 65 regular season games with Saint John in his career, had two goals and eight assists in 13 post-season games. Seed, who played in 22 games with the Dogs this season, had three goals and eight assists in 13 matches.

The Bearcats feature former Dogs Grant West, Dylan McGuigan, and David Mosher.

Summerside now moves on to the Fred Page Cup. They’ll also be hosting this year’s Royal Bank Cup.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Two Sea Dogs Make Final CSS List

Two Saint John Sea Dogs cracked the list of 210 ranked North American skaters – forward Stephen Anderson at No. 127 and defenseman Jurij Repe at No. 205.

Anderson was not ranked in Central Scouting’s mid-season rankings. After a slow first-half, he picked it up offensively in the second-half and finished the season with 12 goals and 15 assists in 63 games. He had just four goals and four assists at the Christmas break. In two playoff games he added an assist.

Repe, Saint John’s top pick in the 2012 CHL Import Draft, was ranked 171st at mid-season. In his first year with the Dogs, the Slovenia native had three goals and eight assists in 38 games. He missed time due to playing in the Division 1 world juniors where he broke his hand.

Other notables who were ranked:

104 – Defenseman Wiley Sherman (Connecticut Hotchkiss School)
115 – Defenseman Maxime Gravel (Rimouski Oceanic)
169 – Defenseman Ryan Segalla (Connecticut Salisbury Prep)

The three have never reported to Saint John. Sherman was selected by the team in the 13th-round of last year’s QMJHL Entry Draft. Gravel was a third-round pick in 2011 and was later traded to the Oceanic where he had 20 points in 48 games this season. Segalla was an eighth-round pick in 2011 but was later lost to the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the expansion draft.

Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin were the top-ranked QMJHL players, coming in at No. 2 and No. 3. Zach Fucale was the top goaltender.

The 2013 NHL Draft in on June 30 in New Jersey.

A QMJHL Playoff Update

The Halifax Mooseheads are a win away from the President’s Cup Final.

The Mooseheads grabbed a 3-0 series lead over the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies with a 3-2 overtime victory last night at Iamgold Arena. Game 4 of the semi-final series is tomorrow night in Rouyn-Noranda.

Jonathan Drouin scored the winner at 16:01 of overtime. It was the second straight game that required overtime in this series. Although all three games have been close.

Konrad Abeltshauser and Stefan Fournier also scored for the Moose while Marcus Power and Francis Perron scored for the Huskies. Former Sea Dogs forward and current Moosehead Stephen MacAulay had an assist, three shots, a hit, and two penalty minutes.

In the other semi-final, the Blainville-Boisbraind Armada finally showed some life as they defeated the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 3-0. The Drakkar still lead that series 2-1 with Game 4 going tonight in Boisbriand.

Former Sea Dogs forward Ryan Tesink, playing in just his third game of this year’s playoffs, scored his first of the post-season in the second period. It was his first goal since January 5. The St. Louis Blues prospect added four shots, four penalty minutes, and a +1 rating in the game.

Xavier Ouellet and Christopher Clapperton also had goals for the Armada. Etienne Marcoux only had to make 17 saves for the shutout victory.

If you haven’t heard, Armada forward and New Jersey Devils prospect Stefan Matteau was cut by the team. Cedrick Henley chirped him on Twitter. The QMJHL playoffs, man.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tesink Makes His Return

For the first time since January 13, Ryan Tesink played a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game.

Tesink, who had been suffering from a knee injury, made his return to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada lineup last night in Baie-Comeau. The Drakkar took Game 1 of the semi-final playoff series, 2-1.

The St. Louis Blues prospect had five shots in the loss along with two hits, one faceoff win, and four minutes in penalties. Most media who watched the game said he looked pretty good out there.

Christian Marti had the Armada’s only goal. Jeremy Gergoire and Valentin Zykov scored for the Drakkar.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is today at 5pm.

The other semi-final that features the Halifax Mooseheads and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies begins tonight at 7pm at the Metro Centre.

  • In the MHL last night, the Truro Bearcats evened the Kent Cup Final at 1-1 with a 4-3 double-overtime victory over the Summerside Western Capitals. Former Sea Dogs Grant West and Jason Seed had goals in the game. Summerside features former Dogs Seed, Spencer MacDonald, and Danny Chiasson while Truro features West, Dylan McGuigan, and David Mosher. Game 3 is tomorrow afternoon in Summerside.
  • In the ECHL, Stanislav Galiev and the Reading Royals lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-final 4-3 to the Florida Everblades. Galiev had a goal, two assists, and four shots.

Friday, April 19, 2013

SN's Third-Round Predictions

From en entertainment standpoint, the second-round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s playoffs were bad. Real bad.

There were three sweeps and a series that went five games. There hasn’t been playoff hockey since last Friday.

So, let’s hope the third-round is much better. Tonight, the Baie-Comeau Drakkar begin their series with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and tomorrow the Halifax Mooseheads kick off their matchup with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

Here is what some QMJHL experts are saying about the semi-finals:
And here is what some people who write for a Sea Dogs blog are saying:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Armada: Tesink Ready To Play

The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada have confirmed via the Twitter machine that Ryan Tesink will play tomorrow night. The Armada begin their semi-final playoff series against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar tomorrow evening at 8:30pm Atlantic at the Henry Leonard Centre.

Tesink was traded to the Armada back in January for Saint John’s own 2013 first-round pick. He played six games with the club, recording a goal and three assists, before going down with a knee injury. He has not played since January 13.

So what does this mean regarding the Tesink trade case thing? We really don’t know. But, you have to think this helps Saint John a bit with the injury not being that serious.

Despite not having the Saint John native in their lineup for most of the second half, the Armada finished third overall in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with a 41-19-2-6 record. They then beat the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in five games in the first-round and swept the Val-d’Or Foreurs in the quarter-finals.

This will certainly be the Armada’s toughest test of the playoffs so far and Tesink’s return could make a significant impact. In 41 total QMJHL games this season, the St. Louis Blues prospect has 17 goals and 24 assists.

There is only one other former Sea Dog still playing in this year’s post-season and that is Stephen MacAulay of the Halifax Mooseheads. Their series against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies begins on Saturday at the Metro Centre.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rocket/Islanders Up For Sale

As you’ve probably heard by know, the PEI Rocket/Islanders announced this morning that the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise is indeed for sale.

All this was confirmed at a press conference this morning in Charlottetown. From The Guardian:

Sarge Savard Jr., president and governor of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team, confirmed Wednesday the league has offered to buy the struggling franchise. 
And Serge Savard Jr., Rocket president and governor, said he's taking the money, somewhere around $3.5 million, unless he can find a local buyer or buyers for the team. 
The league contacted the Rocket on Monday with the proposal.

If a local buyer is not found by April 26, the team will then reportedly be heading to Sorel-Tracy, Quebec where it will be owned by a group featuring François Beauchemin, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Marc Denis.

The Rocket averaged 1,805 fans per game this season, third worst in the league. Savard said at today’s press conference that the team lost over $300,000 this past season.

It’s not really shocking to see the Rocket struggling financially. Since moving the Island in 2003, they have made it past the first-round of the playoffs just once. It’s probably for the best that the franchise finds a new owner(s) - but not many fans wanted it to go like this.

There are plenty of questions surrounding this thing, one of the big ones being what happens to the division alignment and schedule if moved. These aren’t fun times in the Maritimes.

It definitely has to hurt for Rocket fans. They are coming off one of their best seasons ever and were excited to see the transition to “Islanders” this summer. Now… this. 

Wednesday Morning Stuff

Some stuff...
  • RDS reports that the PEI Rocket/Islanders are for sale. Apparently a local group has until April 26 to purchase the club from the Savard family or the team may be bought and moved to Sorel, Quebec. 
  • More on the Rocket/Islanders rumours in The Guardian. The Rocket/Islanders had originally planned to unveil their new logo this week but that has been postponed.
  • According to a bunch of Quebec media folks on Twitter, the Remparts will be making a bid to host the 2015 Memorial Cup. They last hosted in 2003. As for the Sea Dogs, they’ve been quite silent about their future plans for some time now.
  • The MHL Final began last night with the Summerside Western Capitals taking on the Truro Bearcats. Former Sea Dogs Danny Chaisson, Spencer MacDonald, Jason Seed, and Grant West all had points in the game. The Caps won 4-3. Game 2 is on Friday night.
  • One year ago: one of the greatest nights in QMJHL history.
  • Wild website had an article on Charlie Coyle last week.
  • At Buzzing The Net, Stephen MacAulay compares the 2011 Sea Dogs to this year’s Mooseheads.
  • If you’re a hockey card collector and are wondering what’s going on with this year’s rookie class, information on that is here.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tesink Getting Closer

Remember Ryan Tesink? Well, he reportedly had a full-contact practice with the Armada today.

Tesink was traded to Blainville-Boisbriand in January in exchange for Saint John’s own first-round pick. He played six games with the Armada - recording a goal and three assists – and then was hit with a knee injury that has kept him out of game action since January 13.

Then the Armada complained to the league saying that the Sea Dogs traded damaged goods. A hearing was held forever ago. Yada Yada Yada. It’s mid-April and we still don’t know what’s going on with any of this.

The Armada have had a fairly easy ride through the playoffs so far, beading the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in five games in the first-round and then swept the Val-d’Or Foreurs in the quarter-finals. They have a big test this round, going up against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.

The Armada-Drakkar semi-final series begins Friday night.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Kevin Gagne Makes Pro Debut

Former Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Kevin Gagne made his professional debut last night.

Gagne recorded three shots and a +1 rating as he helped the Norfolk Admirals defeat the Worcester Sharks 4-3 last night in American Hockey League action.

The Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, signed the soon-to-turn-21-year old defenseman to an amateur tryout agreement on April 2. Gagne signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Ducks back in March.

Norfolk currently sits eighth in the AHL’s Eastern Conference with a 36-30-4-1 record. The Admirals have five games remaining this season including another matchup with the Sharks tonight in Worcester.

Gagne was able to join the Admirals after his Rimouski Oceanic were upset in the first-round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs by the Gatineau Olympiques. He registered a goal and an assist in six post-season games.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Huskies Moving On

Nikita Kucherov picked a great night to burn his former team.

The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect had three goals and three assists as his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies ended the Quebec Remparts’ season with a 6-1, Game 5 victory on Friday night. The Huskies win the quarater-final playoff series 4-1, advancing to the semi-finals for the first time since 2008.

Jean-Sebastien Dea added two goals for the Huskies while Mathieu Brisebois also scored. Alexandre Belanger only had to make 14 saves for the win.

Quebec, who finished the regular season with the fifth best record in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League at 42-21-3-2, lost the first game of this series 6-1 on home ice and never seemed to recover.

Remparts forward Mikhail Grigorenko, who spent most of the second half playing with the Buffalo Sabres, only had two goals in this five game series. Quebec’s import situation this season was bizarre to say the least.

It’s the second straight year the Remparts have been eliminated in the second-round. In the Patrick Roy era (2005-06 to present) the club has made it to the semi-finals three times and the league final just once.

Rouyn-Noranda, who finished eighth overall in the QMJHL with a 40-24-1-3 record, will play the top-ranked Halifax Mooseheads in the semis. That series is expected to start on Saturday at the Metro Centre.

The other semi-final will feature the Baie-Comeau Drakkar and the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring Sweeps

What a difference a year makes.

In last year’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League quarter-finals, three of the four series went to a Game 7. This year, three of the four have ended in sweeps.

The Halifax Mooseheads, Baie-Comeau Drakkar, and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada are all moving on thanks to four-game sweeps that were completed this evening.

Former Sea Dogs forward Stephen MacAulay had an assist in Halifax’s 5-3 victory in Gatineau, ending the Olympiques’ season. Gabriel Bourret, who also won the Memorial Cup with Saint John in 2011, ended his junior career with Gatineau with a -3 performance.

The Armada advanced with a 2-1 win over the Foreurs in Val-d’Or. Ryan Tesink did not play.

The Drakkar moved on to the semis with a 2-1 victory over the Tigres in Victoriaville. It was a good run for the Tigres who eliminated the Moncton Wildcats in the first-round.

The only series that is providing some decent drama is the Quebec Remparts/Rouyn-Noranda Huskies matchup. The Huskies lead the series 3-1 now thanks to a 5-4 overtime win. They can advance to the semis with a victory in Game 5 on Friday in Rouyn-Noranda.

So, the Drakkar (No. 2 seed) will face the Armada (No. 3 seed) in one semi-final. The Mooseheads (No. 1 seed) will play the winner of the Quebec/Rouyn-Noranda series.

Looking ahead, how awesome would a Baie-Comeau/Halifax final be? All Saint John fans found out last year that Drakkar fans are crazy. Add the Nathan MacKinnon draft drama to that mix? Oh… oh my.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sea Dogs Equipment Sale This Week

The Sea Dogs are having an equipment sale thing this week. From the team:

Over the next 3 days the Saint John Sea Dogs are hosting a hockey equipment sale to liquidate all remaining hockey gear from past seasons. In all, there is over $20,000 in both unused and game worn gear for sale. Items include skates, game used sticks, protective equipment, underwear, skate mats, pants, goalie gear, hockey socks and more!

Hours: Visit the Sea Dogs Locker Room at Harbour Station on: 
Wednesday, April 10th from 12:00 noon - 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 11th from 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Friday, April 12th from 12:00 noon - 8:00 p.m.
More days may be added depending on quantity of items remaining

How to Access the Locker Room: Please enter through the locker room door (single blue door) located on the East End of Harbour Station (same side as the former Hockey Canada building).

**Please note that all sales are final and cash, credit or debit is accepted.

For more information, please contact Sea Dogs Equipment Manager David Kelly at davidkelly@saintjohnseadogs.com

Unlimited stuff. @SeaDogsDK has a bunch of pictures of some of the items that are for sale.

HockeyProspect.com Releases Top 10

HockeyProspect.com released their preliminary rankings of the top 10 prospects for this year’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft today.
Obviously these rankings are based on talent and do not consider what teams are picking where in the top 10. Cape Breton currently has the first overall selection while Shawinigan will pick second followed by Saint John at No. 3.

16-year old defenseman Noah Hanifin, a Massachusetts native, is the top ranked prospect. The website has St. John’s native Nathan Noel as the top Atlantic Canadian available.

Check out HockeyProspect.com for more details. The QMJHL Entry Draft is Saturday, June 8 in Chicoutimi.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sea Dogs Notebook

Valley Expo is April 13-14 at the QPlex.

Former Sea Dog Stephen MacAulay scored again on Saturday night, helping the Halifax Mooseheads win 5-0 and take a 2-0 series lead in their best-of-seven second-round playoff series against the Gatineau Olympiques.

MacAulay now has five goals and an assist in five playoff games this year. His career high in post-season points is 13, set last year.

Ryan Tesink did not play again but the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada did not need him to take a 2-0 series lead over the Val-d’Or Foreurs with a 5-4 win on Saturday. Baie-Comeau also took a 2-0 series lead over Victoriaville with a 6-2 win and Quebec evened their series with Rouyn-Noranda at 1-1 with a 4-2 victory.

Jonathan Huberdeau picked up an assist on Dmitri Kulikov’s game-winner last night, helping the Florida Panthers defeat the Ottawa Senators 2-1.

Huberdeau now has 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points in 39 games with the Panthers. He still leads all NHL rookies in points, two points ahead of Ottawa’s Cory Conacher. Huberdeau’s 13 goals are also the most amongst rookies.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Who Is Still Playing?

Only three former Saint John Sea Dogs remain in the hunt for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s President’s Cup.

Stephen MacAulay of the Halifax Mooseheads, Gabriel Bourret of the Gatineau Olympiques, and Ryan Tesink of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada all remain in action. The QMJHL’s quarter-final playoff matches began last night.

As expected, Tesink did not play for Armada. He has not played since January 13 due to a knee injury.

“I’m rehabbing and trying to get back to 100 per cent,” Tesink told the Telegraph-Journal (paywall). “We’re taking it day by day. The important thing is a full recovery.”

The Armada easily got by the Val-d’Or Foreurs in Game 1 of their series last night, winning 10-1.

Bourret and MacAulay are facing each other in this round after the Olympiques pulled off a big upset over the Rimouski Oceanic in the first-round.

MacAulay opened the scoring in Game 1 last night, connecting at 2:23 of the first while shorthanded for his fourth of the post-season. Bourret got a game misconduct at 14:21 of the first for slashing and the Moose scored twice on the power play to lead 4-0 after one. They added three more to win 7-0.

In other action, Rouyn-Noranada surprised Quebec with a 6-1 win at the Colisee and Baie-Comeau edged Victoriaville 5-3.

Some other stuff:
  • Sea Dogs play-by-play man Tim Roszell called last night’s Mooseheads game on News 95.7 with John Moore away. Roszell is also calling tonight’s Game 2 from the Metro Centre.
  • 50/50 total pot was over $40,000 at the Metro Centre last night. Attendance was 9,895, about 600 short of a sell-out.
  • If you missed our second-round playoff predictions, they are here.
  • OHL Draft is today. The OHL is weird. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

SN's Second Round Predictions

Even with the Saint John Sea Dogs eliminated, several Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams are still playing. Weird, I know.

The second-round of the President’s Cup playoffs begin this evening. After an exciting first-round that featured some upsets, the quarter-finals look a bit different than what many expected. Here’s who is playing who (regular season finish in brackets):

Gatineau Olympiques (13) vs Halifax Mooseheads (1)
Victoriaville Tigres (11) vs Baie-Comeau Drakkar (2)
Val-d’Or Foreurs (10) vs Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (3)
Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (8) vs Quebec Remparts (5)

Here are some second-round playoff predictions and thoughts from some solid websites.

And here are some second-round playoff predictions and thoughts from people who write for a Sea Dogs blog.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Screaming Eagles Win Something

For the first time in a long time, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles finally had something go their way.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League held their draft lottery today to see whether the Screaming Eagles or Shawinigan Cataractes would select first overall in this year’s Entry Draft. Cape Breton, who has finished well below .500 for the past three seasons, won the lottery.

The Screaming Eagles finished dead last in the regular season this year with a 14-46-3-5 record.

The Saint John Sea Dogs, who finished 16th overall, will pick third overall in the draft unless the league somehow screws that all up with the Ryan Tesink thing.

The Scouting Report has a couple articles on some of the top prospects for this year’s draft. The consensus seems to be that forward Nathan Noel, a St. John’s native who played at Shattuck St. Mary’s this season, is the top Atlantic Canadian available. The Hockey News' Future Watch magazine said that Noel has not made a decision on which route to take - junior or college. So...

Saint John also owns Rimouski’s first-round pick thanks to the Kevin Gagne trade. Here are all of Saint John’s draft picks, via the French boards:


The QMJHL Entry Draft is June 8 in Chicoutimi. 

Gagne Named League's Best Defenseman

Former Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Kevin Gagne has been named the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Defenseman of the Year for the 2012-13 season.

Gagne was named the Émile “Butch” Bouchard Trophy winner last night in Montreal at the league’s annual Golden Puck Awards ceremony. Former Sea Dogs defenseman Simon Despres won the award in 2011.

Gagne was also named a first team all-star.

It’s been an eventful few days for Gagne. The club Saint John traded him to in December, the Rimouski Oceanic, were upset in the first-round of the President’s Cup playoffs by the Gatineau Olympiques despite finishing fourth overall in the regular season. With his QMJHL career complete, Gagne signed an Amateur Tryout Contract with the American Hockey League’s Norfolk Admirals.

Gagne signed an entry-level contract with the Admirals’ parent team, the Anaheim Ducks, earlier this year.

It was quite an overage campaign for the Edmundston native. He had 11 goals and 23 assists in 31 games with Saint John before being dealt in December. In 31 games with the Oceanic he recorded six goals and 31 assists. He added another goal and an assist in six playoff games.

Gagne finished second in league scoring by defensemen with 71 points, third in goals with 17, and led the circuit in helpers with 54.

Originally drafted by Saint John in the second-round of the 2008 QMJHL Entry Draft, Gagne spent four-and-a-half seasons with the Sea Dogs, helping the club win three straight regular season titles, back-to-back President’s Cups, and a Memorial Cup.

Here are all the award winners:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Gagne Signs ATO With Norfolk

With the Rimouski Oceanic eliminated, the American Hockey League’s Norfolk Admirals announced yesterday that they have signed former Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Kevin Gagne to an Amateur Tryout Contract.

The Admirals' NHL parent club, the Anaheim Ducks, signed Gagne to a three-year, entry-level contract on March 6.

Gagne, who the Sea Dogs traded to Rimouski in December, had six goals and 31 assists 31 regular season games with the Oceanic in the second half. He added a goal and an assist in six playoff games as the Gatineau Olympiques upset the Oceanic in the first-round.

The 20-year old spent four-and-a-half seasons with Saint John, helping the Sea Dogs win three regular season titles, two President’s Cups, and a Memorial Cup.

Gagne is nominated for the QMJHL’s best defenseman award. The annual Golden Puck Awards take place tonight in Montreal.

As for the Admirals, they currently sit ninth in the AHL’s Eastern Conference with a 33-30-4-1 record. Their next game is on Friday against the Binghamton Senators.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wildcats Eyeing UNB's MacDougall?

By Ray Harris | @CanadasPredsFans

The Moncton Wildcats have removed Danny Flynn from behind the bench after a first round playoff loss to les Tigres de Victoriaville. Flynn has been in the Wildcats system for many successes, including the 2006 and 2010 President’s cup victories, where he was an associate coach and head coach (respectively).

But after a respectable 6th place finish for the Wildcats this year, they suffered an embarrassing playoff collapse to 11th place Victoriaville, who had 14 less regular season points. Moncton went 1-1 at home in the series before dropping three straight in Victoriaville. This is the third consecutive year that Moncton falls in the first round, but the first time that they fall while holding home ice advantage.

Speculation about Flynn’s replacement leads us two hours down Highway 2 to Fredericton, where University of New Brunswick head coach Gardiner MacDougall is coming fresh off another CIS championship. MacDougall’s team only lost 5 regular season games (out of 28 in the AUS season), which placed him top in the AUS. UNB finished the season with a 9-1-0 run.

MacDougall has been with UNB for 11 years now, and has a shelf-load of achievements during his stay. Along with five National Championships, he has the most wins in an AUS season, when the team went 31-1-1 in 2008. In 2011 he topped that record bringing the Varsity Reds to a CIS best 27-1 record, which included 26 consecutive wins – giving him a perfect record going into the last game of the year. He has also been named coach of the year for various regions and conferences, the most notable being the 2010 CIS coach of the year award.

The AUS to QMJHL is a big jump though, both in terms of players and scheduling. The Q features over two times as many games, plus an additional extensive playoff schedule. All of this comes with a large increase in travel. MacDougall will need to brush up on his “francais” as he would be spending far more time in Quebec if he takes on this role. That alone could be enough to entice any AUS coach away from the position.

Behind the bench will see further challenges, including a step down in maturity level, but perhaps a step up in commitment. Players will range from 16 – 19, compared to his university roster where players generally start at 21, with more playing experience. Another component is the important role of fighting in the CHL, whereas it is completely forbidden in CIS. As a Coach, adjusting to fighting in the game after it being all but banished for the last 6 years would be an interesting transition.

University hockey also has the benefit of hand picking their players and enticing them with scholarship packages, as opposed to the mostly democratic draft in the Q. Oh, and not only drafting, but let’s not forget about the trading process which is completely foreign to the CIS. But luckily Flynn is staying on as director of hockey operations, and he will be able to help MacDougall (or whomever) along the way.  

It is a daring move to recruit a coach from the AUS to come start fresh in the QMJHL. The differences are overwhelming. Flynn spent time in the OHL, NHL and, briefly, the AUS, before settling in Moncton.

Rocket Eliminated Forever; 2nd Round Set

It seemed somewhat appropriate that the team known as the “PEI Rocket” saw their season and history end, once again, in the first-round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.

The Rocket have called PEI home since the 2003-04 season and only once – their first season – did they make it past the first-round. They've missed the post-season entirely twice and were eliminated in the opening round seven times. Given their history, it’s for the best that next season they will change their name to the “PEI Islanders.”

PEI saw their season come to an end this year with a triple-overtime loss to the Val-d’Or Foreurs in Game 6 last night. Yan Pavel Laplante had all three Rocket goals but it wasn’t enough as Cedrick Henley scored 1:03 into the third extra frame to give the Foreurs a 4-3 victory and a 4-2 series win.

Shots in the game were 63-58 in favour of PEI. There were only three penalties called in the entire game.

With the Rocket done, the Halifax Mooseheads are the only Maritime team remaining in this year’s playoffs. Here’s who is playing who in the second-round:

Gatineau Olympiques (13) vs Halifax Mooseheads (1)
Victoriaville Tigres (11) vs Baie-Comeau Drakkar (2)
Val-d’Or Foreurs (10) vs Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (3)
Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (8) vs Quebec Remparts (5)

This was one of the best first-rounds the league has seen recently with three upsets and only two series’ ending in sweeps. Let’s hope that carries over into the quarter-finals.

Photo: Foreurs Facebook page

Monday, April 1, 2013

Danny Flynn Done As Wildcats Coach

Robert Irving, President of the Moncton Wildcats, announced today that Danny Flynn will transition on a full-time basis into the role of Director, Hockey Operations for the Moncton Wildcats, and will no longer continue with his previous coaching responsibilities. 
The organization would like to thank Danny for his past contribution and for his continued support in the future. 
The search for a new Head Coach will begin immediately, and it is the Wildcats anticipation to fill this position within the next several months. 
The Moncton Wildcats are committed to a winning hockey program, which our fans have come to expect and we will continue to operate the hockey club on this basis.

Boom goes the dynamite.

Not that surprising. It’ll be interesting to see who the Wildcats bring in as head coach because, as we all know, Irving certainly has the funds to bring in a big name.