Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Drakkar, Foreurs To Meet In QMJHL Final

For the first time since 2009, a Maritime based Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team will not win the President's Cup.

The Val-d'Or Foreurs fired just 16 shots on Zach Fucale but managed to defeat the Halifax Mooseheads 3-2 in Game 7 to move on to the fourth-round. The Moose, last year's Memorial Cup winners, were unable to score on 17 shots in the third period.

It was certainly an eventful, back-and-forth series that had plenty of momentum shifts. But the Foreurs were able to find some holes in the experienced Moose squad and will be advancing to the QMJHL final for the first time since 2007 when they were swept by the Lewiston Maineiacs.

Val-d'Or will meet the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the league final. The Drakkar also had a back-and-forth seven-game series but, with a 2-1 victory over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada tonight, are moving on. It'll be the second straight season the Drakkar will play in the championship series.

The President's Cup winner will represent the QMJHL at the Memorial Cup in London.

Eichel Signs BU Letter Of Intent

Jack Eichel tweeted tonight that he has signed a letter of intent to play college hockey at Boston University next season.

As Mike McMahon noted on Twitter, the signing shows Eichel's commitment to play NCAA hockey ay BU but, from a Sea Dogs and QMJHL perspective, doesn't change much. He could still jump ship at any time and play junior.

On News 95.7 tonight, Sea Dogs general manager Darrell Young once again said he is open to trading Eichel's rights. Logic says the Memorial Cup hosting Quebec Remparts will have interest.

Notebook: Game 7 City

Tonight will be a night of Game 7s in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The Val-d’Or Foreurs defeated the Halifax Mooseheads 7-5 last night at the Air Creebec Centre to force a Game 7 at the Metro Centre tonight at 8pm. The Foreurs grabbed a quick a 4-0 lead in the first period and managed to hang on for the victory this time.

Moose goaltender Zach Fucale has struggled in this series. Overall, the Moose have allowed 28 goals in the six games played so far.
In the other series, Baie-Comeau forced a Game 7 with a 3-2 overtime win on Sunday in Boisbriand. Game 7 takes place tonight at 8:30pm in Baie-Comeau.

In yesterday’s Telegraph-Journal, Sea Dogs general manager Darrell Young said the team has made two trades already. Obviously, they can’t be announced until the next trade period opens during draft weekend.

Young said that one of the trades is about gaining assets while the other is about bringing in some leadership.

You get the feeling that draft weekend is going to be an unreal event in Sea Dogs land.

Charlie Coyle and the Minnesota Wild forced a Game 7 with a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche last night. Coyle was a +2 with one shot, three hits, and two penalty minutes in 18:02 of ice time.

Game 7 is tomorrow night at 10:30pm AST.

Tomas Jurco’s season with the Detroit Red Wings has come to an end.

Jurco was a healthy scratch again in Detroit’s Game 5 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, eliminating them from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Jurco played in three of Detroit’s five post-season games after recording eight goals and 15 points in 36 regular season contests.

The Red Wings have assigned Jurco to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. The Griffins currently lead their best-of-five first-round playoff series 2-0 over the Abbotsford Heat.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Notebook: Despres Is Bad At Darts

According to Jimmy Fallon’s NHL Superlatives, Simon Despres is the second worst at darts. Big news if true.

The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada will be without Ryan Tesink when they take on the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in Game 5 of their President Cup semi-final series tonight. The series is tied 2-2.

Tesink was suspended one-game for throwing a water bottle in Game 4 on Wednesday night. It’s the second suspension of the post-season for the former Sea Dogs forward after getting a five-game ban for a check-from-behind against Moncton in the first-round.

The Drakkar’s Felix Girard is also suspended for tonight’s tilt because of what the league called “dangerous slashing.” Huge shock to see this series getting nasty.

David Mosher and Truro Bearcats won the MHL’s Kent Cu plast night, defeating the Dieppe Commandos 5-2 to win the series in six games. The Bearcats now move on to the Fred Page Cup, taking place from April 30th-May 4th in Saint Jerome, Quebec.

Mosher has played in six career games with the Sea Dogs – five in 2012-13 and one this past season. He was held pointless in those games.

Notables on Dieppe’s roster include Justin McDonald and Mathieu Newcomb.

Charlie Coyle and the Minnesota Wild evened their series with the Colorado Avalanche 2-2 with a 2-1 win last night. Coyle scored what proved to be the game-winner at 12:55 of the second on a power play. Coyle now has three goals in four post-season games heading into Game 5 on Saturday night.

Tomas Jurco was a healthy scratch last night and watched his Red Wings lose 3-2 in overtime to the Bruins. Boston leads that series 3-1 heading into Game 5 on Saturday. If you search “Jurco” on Twitter, plenty of people still picked him to score in OT last night. That would have been something.

It was also great to see Joey Hishon in the Avs lineup. He suffered a bad concussion at the 2011 Memorial Cup, a tournament the Sea Dogs would go on to win.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Semi-Finals Are Getting Good

How about those Stanley Cup Playoffs? They’ve been something else, haven’t they? But let me tell ya, the QMJHL’s President Cup semi-finals have suddenly gotten quite good as well.

After dropping the first two games on home ice, the Halifax Mooseheads went into Val-d’Or and stole two games to tie things up at 2-2. The Moose scored five unanswered goals to win Game 3, 6-5, in overtime on Tuesday and hung on for a 5-4 win in regulation time last night.

Halifax’s goaltending situation is an interesting storyline heading into Game 5 Saturday night at the Metro Centre. Zach Fucale was pulled after allowing three goals on four shots in Game 3 and hasn’t played since. Kevin Darveau made 26 saves on Tuesday and 31 last night.

Following Saturday’s Game 5, the series shifts back to Val-‘Or for Game 6 on Monday. Game 7, if needed, would be Tuesday night in Halifax.

In the other semi-final series, Baie-Comeau, like Val-d’Or, has blown their 2-0 series lead. The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada evened the series with wins on home ice on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

Former Sea Dogs forward Ryan Tesink has two assists so far in the series. Game 5 is tomorrow night in Baie-Comeau.

The Drakkar and Mooseheads are looking to reach the President Cup Final for a second straight season. The Foreurs have not been to the Final since 2007 when they lost 4-0 to the Lewiston MAINEiacs. The Armada/Junior/Fog Devils franchise has never made it further than the semi-finals.

If the Mooseheads do not reach the Final, it would mark the first time since 2009 a Maritime team has not played in it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Notebook: Churchill, Caribous Fall In Allan Cup Final

Jason Churchill and the Clarenville Caribous lost 3-2 in overtime in the Allan Cup Final on Sunday to the host Dundas Real McCoys. Churchill made 38 saves in the loss and was named the game’s third star.

According to the St. John’s Telegram, “Churchill finished the tournament with a 1.89 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.”

The Caribous also lost in the Allan Cup final last year. They’ll host the national championship next year.

Churchill played with the Sea Dogs during their inaugural season in 2005-06. The St. John’s native had a record of 14-44 to go along with a 4.16 goals against average and a 0.894 save percentage.

Former Sea Dogs forward Andreas Tsogkas and the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots are Ontario Junior A Hockey League Champions. The Patriots defeated the Aurora Tigers 3-1 in Game 6 of the league final to win the series 4-2.

In 53 regular season games, Tsogkas recorded 31 goals and 26 assists. He added another seven goals and nine assists in 19 playoff games.

The Patriots will now compete for the Central Canada Dudley Hewitt Cup starting April 29 in Wellington Ontario.

Tomas Jurco had four shots and two hits in 14:25 of ice time in Detroit’s 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins yesterday. That series is now tied 1-1 heading to Detroit. Game 3 is on Tuesday night.

Charlie Coyle and the Minnesota Wild will try and contain Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 of that series tonight. The Avs lead the series 2-0.

For the first time in some time, the Halifax Mooseheads find themselves in a large hole in a playoff series. The Moose lost both games this past weekend to the Val-d’Or Foreurs, meaning they are down 2-0 in the series heading into Game 3 and 4 this week at the Air Creebec Centre.

If the Mooseheads lose this series, it would mark the first time since 2009 a Maritime team has not played in or won the President Cup (Moncton -2010, Saint John - 2011 and 2012, Halifax - 2013).

In the other semi-final series, Baie-Comeau leads Blainville-Boisbriand 2-0.

Despite spending most of the second half in the NHL, Mike Hoffman still finished eighth in AHL regular season scoring with 30 goals and 37 assists for 67 points in 51 games. His 1.3 points per game average is the same as AHL leading scorer Travis Morin.

Sea Dogs season tickets are on sale now. Details on that can be found on the Sea Dogs website.

Photo: QMJHL

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday News & Notes

Our boy CJ profiles Sea Dogs defenseman Olivier LeBlanc.

Some other news and notes:

  • Former Sea Dogs goaltender Jason Churchill made 34 saves to help the Clarenville Caribous defeat the Bentley Generals 5-1 in the Allan Cup semi-final last night. Clarenville will now play host Dundas the in championship game today at 4pm. The game will be broadcast on TSN2.
  • Charlie Coyle scored his first career playoff goal in Minnesota’s 5-4 overtime Game 1 loss to Colorado. He had two assists in five post-season games with the Wild last year.
  • Tomas Jurco had one shot and two hits in 12:27 of ice time last night, helping the Detroit Red Wings upset the Boston Bruins 1-0 and take a 1-0 series lead.
  • As the Lewiston Sun Journal reports, Eric Gelinas holds a unique place in Lewiston hockey history. Gelinas is currently with the AHL’s Albany Devils.
  • More details on the QMJHL’s Gatorade Excellence Challenge have been released. The event will showcase the top draft eligible players from Atlantic Canada and Quebec. It takes place May 1-4 in Boisbriand.
  • Nathan Noel was one of the final cuts from the Canada’s under-18 team. Fellow QMJHL rookies Nicolas Roy and Jeremy Roy were also cut.
  • Jonathan Huberdeau was officially named to Canada’s World Championship team on Thursday. Additions will still be made to the roster but here’s a look at the first group who will be heading over.
  • Here’s video of Gerard Gallant getting inducted into the QMJHL Hall of Fame.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Semi-Final Predictions

The President Cup semi-finals begin tonight. Here are our predictions:

Baie Comeau (1) vs Blainville-Boisbriand (5)
Kevin Chambers: The Drakkar are rolling at the right time and the team is buying into Eric Veilleux's game plan. The Armada were fortunate to get both Martel and Clapperton back as quickly as they did and also got Tesink back after his suspension ended. The Armada cannot try to run and gun with the Drakkar or they will get buried quickly. This will certainly be the toughest matchup for the Drakkar thus far.
Drakkar 4 - Armada 2

Jamie Tozer: Drakkar are coming off a sweep while the Armada are coming off a seven-game series win against a strong Rimouski squad. Even though they got some key players back, you have to wonder how much Blainville-Boisbriand will have left in the tank for this series. But even if they were fully charged, I still like the Drakkar in this one.
Drakkar 4 – Armada 1

Halifax Mooseheads (2) vs Va D'or (3)
Kevin: Halifax really hasn't faced a true test until now. Gatineau was good but struggled defensively and the goaltending was clearly in Halifax's favour in that series. The Foreurs had a tougher road, having to go through a good Voltigeurs team. They also have the league's MVP and top defenseman. Halifax will want to stay out of the box against this this team – but then again, this would be good advice for both teams.  I’m sticking with my President Cup prediction…
Foreurs 4 - Mooseheads 3

Jamie: Battle of the green jerseys. All eyes are going to be on the big Mantha vs Drouin matchup, meaning this series could come down to who has more depth. This could definitely be a tough test for the Moose. I’m sticking with my President Cup Final prediction as well, so…
Mooseheads 4 – Foreurs 2

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Huberdeau Added To Canada Roster

According to TSN, former Sea Dogs captain Jonathan Huberdeau has been added to Team Canada's roster for the upcoming IIHF World Championship.

TSN also reports that forwards Cody Hodgson of the Buffalo Sabres and Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets along with defenceman Jason Garrison of the Vancouver Canucks accepted invitations to play in the tournament which begins May 9 in Belarus.

This will be Huberdeau's first time playing for Canada's national men's team. The last time he represented Canada was at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship.

The Florida Panthers forward recorded nine goals and 19 assists in 69 games this past season.

Canada begins the tournament at 10:30 am AST on May 9 against France. All games will be on TSN.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Armada Eliminate Oceanic In Craziest Game Ever

The President Cup semi-finals are finally set.

In one of the craziest playoff games in the history of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada defeated the Rimouski Oceanic 8-7 in overtime of Game 7 to win the quarter-final series.

The Oceanic led 4-0 after one but the Armada eventually climbed all the way back and had a 6-5 lead midway through the third. Rimouski then scored twice to lead 7-6 late in the frame. But Nikita Jevpalovs tied the game with just three minutes to play to send the match into overtime.

At 12:59 of OT, Jevpalovs scored again to send the Armada into the semis and eliminate the Oceanic.

Former Sea Dogs forward Ryan Tesink scored twice in this game. He now has six goals and three assists in eight post-season games this year.

Blainville-Boisbriand will now face the regular season champion Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the semis. That series will presumably start on Friday in Baie-Comeau. It has the potential to be decent.

In the other series, the Halifax Mooseheads will take on the Val-d’Or Foreurs. That series begins on Friday at the Metro Centre.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wishing DK All The Best

Best of luck to Sea Dogs equipment manager David Kelly with his surgery and recovery.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday News & Notes

Via HockeyFights.com, Brett Gallant dropped the gloves and faced Montreal’s George Parros last night at the Bell Centre.

Some other news and notes…

  • In pleasantly surprising news, Bathurst was named one of the host cities for the 2014 Subway Super Series. The CHL announced yesterday that the KC Irving Regional Centre will host Game 5 of the series on November 18 while Rimouski will host Game 6 on November 20. The series has been flipped this year (finally!) and will start in the WHL.
  • Former Sea Dog Mike Hoffman was named to the AHL’s first All-Star team yesterday. Despite being with the Ottawa Senators for the past few weeks, Hoffman still sits seventh in AHL scoring with 30 goals and 67 points in 51 games with the Binghamton Senators.
  • St. Stephen’s new MHL team will be called the “Aces.” You can follow them on Twitter @AcesJrHockey.
  • The rosters for the 2014 Gatorade Excellence Challenge, which showcases the top QMJHL draft prospects from the Atlantic Provinces and Quebec, have been announced. This year’s event takes place May 1 to 4 in Boisbriand.
  • Willy Palov of the Chronicle Herald has a good take on the Sea Dogs picking first overall in this year's draft.
  • USA Today article on Jack Eichel and his desire to go first overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.
  • Game 5 of the Halifax-Gatineau playoff series is on Sportsnet tonight at 8pm. The Mooseheads lead the series 3-1. Elsewhere, Baie-Comeau has advanced thanks to a sweep of Rouyn-Noranda, Drummondville and Val-d’Or are tied 2-2, and Rimouski and Blainville-Boisbriand are also tied 2-2.
  • If you somehow have not seen this pre-game light show at last weekend’s Mooseheads games at the Metro Centre, check it out here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Top Prospects

By Kevin Chambers
SN Staff

While much of the QMJHL continues their chase for the President Cup and a trip to the MasterCard Memorial Cup, the Saint John Sea Dogs have switched their focus to the 2014 Entry Draft which takes place on May 31 in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

After winning the draft lottery last week the Sea Dogs now own the first overall selection in the draft, making them a perfect 4-0 in the lottery selection process. There is plenty of talent in this draft class but, with no clear cut top prospect, we reached out to our friends at HockeyProspect.com to provide us a little insight into what we might expect from a few of these players that seem likely choices for the Sea Dogs. We won’t be listing all the details for all the top prospects, but these are the ones we feel have the best chance to be drafted by the Sea Dogs with the top pick on draft day.

The top ranked player by HockeyProspect.com is Chad Krys - an American defenseman. He has committed to the US Under-18 NTDP which means he’s very unlikely to report to any QMJHL team for at least two years if at all. The No. 2 ranked player is a defenseman out of Quebec, Samuel Girard, who played for the Elites de Jonquiere in QMAAA this past season. The No. 3 ranked player is the top ranked forward in the draft, Pascal Laberge, who also played in the Quebec AAA ranks and is currently playing in the QMAAA final for the Châteauguay Grenadiers. For these two young prospects we reached out to Jean-Francois Dore (@jeffdore), a scout based out of Quebec that has seen plenty of these two kids.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gallant Fights In NHL Debut

Brett Gallant picked up his first NHL fighting major less than 10 minutes into his NHL debut on Tuesday night.

Gallant dropped the gloves with Matt Kassian at 9:59 of the first period. This came just after the two served two minutes each for unsportsmanlike conduct. Here’s the fight via HockeyFights.com:

Here’s Gallant speaking to MSG at intermission:

Gallant also recorded one shot and three hits in 6:02 of ice time in the New York Islanders’ 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Mike Hoffman was a scratch for the Sens.

In other NHL news…

  • How about Charlie Coyle? The Minnesota Wild forward has five goals and five assists in his last nine games. He had the only goal in the Wild’s 1-0 win in Winnipeg on Monday.
  • Jonathan Huberdeau made his return to the Florida Panthers lineup on this night. It was his first game since March 16 due to a concussion. Huberdeau had a goal in the game - his first since January 20.

Gallant Expected To Make NHL Debut Tonight

According to the Twitter machine, former Sea Dogs forward/fighter/fan favourite Brett Gallant is expected to make his NHL debut tonight with the New York Islanders.

Gallant was called up the Isles yesterday. New York hosts Mike Hoffman and the Ottawa Senators tonight at 8pm in a game you can watch on Sportsnet East.

Gallant has been with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the past four seasons. According to the Isles website, “Gallant, 25, leads the Sound Tigers with 245 penalty minutes, the fourth highest total in the AHL. The Summerside, PEI, native also has two points (one goal, one assist) in 56 games this season.”

According to the Connecticut Post, “he set a Bridgeport team record Sunday with his 66th career fighting major; he had 26 last year.”

Gallant spent parts of three seasons with the Sea Dogs from the 2005-06 campaign to 2007-08.

Three Dogs Make Final Draft Rankings

Defenseman Olivier LeBlanc was the highest ranked Sea Dog, coming in at No. 126. Forwards Matthew Highmore and Spencer Smallman were ranked 155th and 173rd, respectively.

LeBlanc was Saint John’s highest scoring defenseman this past season, recording seven goals and 33 points in 56 games. Highmore played in all 68 games and recorded 19 goals and 50 points while Smallman finished with 12 goals and 35 points in 66 games.

Forward Juraj Siska, who was drafted by the Sea Dogs in last year’s CHL Import Draft but never played due to injury, was listed at the bottom of the rankings with a “limited viewing” ranking.

Kingston forward Samuel Bennett was the top ranked skater amongst North Americans. Halifax’s Nikolaj Ehlers was the top ranked QMJHL player, coming in at 13th.

The NHL Draft takes place June 27-28 in Philadelphia. 

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday News & Notes

Here are some random news and notes:

  • With Jonathan Bernier hurt, former Sea Dogs goaltender and current Ryerson Ram Troy Passingham took part in Toronto Maple Leafs practice on Friday. Last season with the OUA’s Rams, Passingham went 11-7 with a 2.95 GAA and .915 SV%.
  • Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon spoke to John Moore about Jonathan Huberdeau’s 2013-14 NHL season.
  • Speaking of Huberdeau, the former Sea Dogs captain hasn’t played since March 16th due to a concussion but, by the sounds of it, is close to returning. He has eight goals and 19 assists in 66 games with the Panthers.
  • Quebec based scout Anthony Stella tweeted that Ross Yates and a couple Sea Dogs scouts were seen watching Pascal Laberge, one of the top players available for the upcoming QMJHL Entry Draft, play this past weekend.
  • Less than two months until draft day.
  • In the President Cup Playoffs, Baie-Comeau, Halifax, and Rimouski all have 2-0 series leads. Val-d’Or and Drummondville are tied 1-1. The playoffs resume on Tuesday.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Noel Invited To Under-18 Camp

Nathan Noel has received an invitation to attend Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team training camp which will take place April 5-8 at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto.

According to the release, “the camp in Toronto will serve as part of Canada’s preparations for the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, which will be held April 17-27 in Lapeenranta and Imatra, Finland. Canada is the defending champion at the world championship, having won its third gold medal last year in Sochi, Russia.”

The release adds that “Hockey Canada has invited select under-age players that will travel to Finland, and play in pre-competition games to get added experience playing international competition before returning to Canada prior to the start of the world championship.”

The roster includes three goaltenders, six defenseman, and 13 forwards. Six players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League were invited: goalies Julio Billia and Mason McDonald, defenseman Jeremy Roy, and forwards Noel, Nicolas Roy, and Clark Bishop.

In 63 games with the Sea Dogs this season, Noel, the third overall pick in the 2013 QMJHL Entry Draft, recorded 16 goals and 23 assists. He also had two goals and four assists in five games with Team Atlantic at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Friday, April 4, 2014

SN's 2nd Round Predictions

Did you know the second round of the President Cup Playoffs began last night? Well they did. Here are our predictions for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s quarter-finals.

Baie Comeau Drakkar (1) vs Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (10)
Kevin Chambers: The Drakkar had little trouble dispatching the Shawinigan Cataractes in four straight games but should face a tough test in the Huskies. Both teams are capable of scoring goals in bunches. The biggest difference in this series will be the depth and goaltending of the Drakkar.
Drakkar 4 - Huskies 1

Jamie Tozer – Baie Comeau is my pick to win the league this year so I will pick them to win this series. It is the logical choice. A confident Huskies team should give the Drakkar a good test, though. It seems like in the recent past it’s been the second-round that causes good teams some difficulties. Drakkar in 5.

Halifax Mooseheads (2) vs Gatineau Olympiques (8)
Kevin: This should be a closer series than some might think. Halifax has plenty of offensive weapons but Gatineau has no shortage of firepower either. The difference in this series may just come down to the defense and goaltending both of which favour the Mooseheads.
Mooseheads 4 - Olympiques 2

Jamie: This has the potential to be a close series, especially with Gatineau being Gatineau. Should be a good challenge for the Moose and, if things go there way, get them well prepared for the rest of the playoffs. Mooseheads in 5.

Krys Commits To NTDP

USA Hockey's National Team Development Program announced yesterday that defenseman Chad Krys will join the U.S. National Under-17 Team for the 2014-15 season.

Krys, a Connecticut native, is viewed as the best player available for the upcoming 2014 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft. He’s been ranked No. 1 by HockeyProspect.com in their last few rankings.

Krys skated in 27 games for the New Jersey Rockets 19U team. The defenseman scored one goal in one exhibition game and accumulated 30 points (8-22) in 26 regular season contests.

The Saint John Sea Dogs won yesterday’s draft lottery and will pick first overall. Unless they can get Krys to commit to Saint John before the draft, it’s probably unlikely they use the top pick on him. Krys will likely be taken somewhere in the draft but, at this point, it’s hard to say if he’ll ever play in the league.

The 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft is on Saturday, May 31 in Sherbrooke.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Remparts Named Memorial Cup Host

If you haven’t heard, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League awarded Quebec City the 2015 Memorial Cup tournament today.

The Remparts and Chicoutimi Sagueneens were the only teams to bid on the tournament. The selection committee chose Quebecbased on the fact that their bid had all the elements from top to bottom to convince us that they would present an excellent 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup: great hockey team, good organizing committee and superior installations.”

Today’s decision could potentially be huge for the Saint John Sea Dogs. This certainly makes the Remparts an even more attractive destination for players next season. They’ve been able to attract plenty of top talent in the past and you have to wonder if they may try and land Jack Eichel, the American forward who is one of the top prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft.

The Sea Dogs currently hold Eichel’s rights, and although it would be awesome to see him playing in a Saint John jersey, the assets the team would get in return for trading him would be greatly beneficial in the team’s quest to peak in 2017. No matter where Eichel ends up playing next season he is likely in the NHL come the 2015-16 campaign.

But, y'know, maybe Eichel will fulfill his commitment to Boston University and spend the entire season there and none of this speculation will even matter. We shall see.

In related news, the Sagueneens said they are uncertain on whether or not they will bid on the 2017 Memorial Cup. The 2015 tournament will be the third straight time the QMJHL has awarded the tournament to a Quebec city so there will probably be some added pressure on the league to give it to a Maritime city come 2017. 

Sea Dogs Will Pick First Overall

The Saint John Sea Dogs didn’t win a lot of games this past season but they got a huge victory today.

The Sea Dogs won today’s draft lottery over the Sherbrooke Phoenix, winning the right to pick first overall in the 2014 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft this May.

"As an organization, we are excited to have the first pick overall," said Sea Dogs General Manager Darrell Young in a release. "This gives us greater flexibility, and there are a few high-end offensive players to choose from."

This will be the fourth time the team has held the first overall pick, having previously pick first in 2005 (Alex Grant), 2006 (Yann Sauve), and 2007 (Simon Despres).

The 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft will also be the second straight year that the Sea Dogs have picked in the top three having taken Nathan Noel third overall last year.

The Dogs may have been able to get the player they wanted with the second overall pick but, as Young notes, this creates some flexibility for the team and they could possibly trade down if they feel its appropriate. Exciting times are ahead.

The 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft is on May 31 in Sherbrooke.

Gallant Inducted Into Hall

Last night at the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Golden Puck Awards, former Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant was inducted into the league’s Hall of Fame.

As a league press release notes, Gallant “is the only member in QMJHL history to win the President Cup four times in his combined roles of player (2) and head coach (2). As a hockey player with Sherbrooke in 1982 and then in 1983 with Verdun, Gallant would taste the joy of the championship series.”

Also from the league release:

In 2009-10, he made a comeback in the QMJHL, this time as head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs (New Brunswick). The team won three consecutive regular season titles. In addition, Gallant’s team won the grand final of the playoffs in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, the Sea Dogs won the Memorial Cup as Gallant could count on a talented brigade including Jonathan Huberdeau, Stanislav Galiev, Jacob DeSerres, Nathan Beaulieu and Simon Després. 
Therefore Gerard Gallant has maintained in the regular season, the best career winning percentage for a coach in the QMJHL (.791). Unsurprisingly, he twice won the Ron-Lapointe Trophy, awarded to the coach of the year, at the end of the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.

Gallant, of course, is currently an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens. The QMJHL website has an article on him here.

Jean-Luc Phaneuf, Norman Caisse, and Patrice Brisebois were also inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Today, the host city for the 2015 Memorial Cup will be announced. That is between Quebec City and Chicoutimi. Also, the team that will select first overall in the QMJHL Entry Draft will be determined. That is between Saint John and Sherbrooke and will take place around 12:45 PM AST.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Coin Flip Is Coming

According to Sea Dogs President Wayne Long, the coin flip/draw thing between the Saint John Sea Dogs and Sherbrooke Phoenix which will determine who selects first overall in the upcoming QMJHL Entry Draft will take place tomorrow.

The Sea Dogs have had good luck in the coin flip in the past, picking first overall in 2005, 2006, and 2007. This will be the second straight season that the team picks in the top three.

The QMJHL Entry Draft takes place on May 31st in Sherbrooke.