Sunday, May 31, 2015

Despres, Ducks Eliminated From Playoffs

There will not be a former Saint John Sea Dog playing in this year’s Stanley Cup Final.

Simon Despres and the Anaheim Ducks had their season come to an end last night with a 5-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final.

Despres finished the game with two hits and a -1 rating. His 20:09 minutes of ice time was third most on the team.

The former Sea Dogs defenseman finished the playoffs with one goal and six assists in 16 games, nearly matching is nine points in 17 games total set in last year's AHL post-season.

The Blackhawks will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Four Years Ago

It was four years ago tonight that Simon Despres scored shorthanded, Zack Phillips netted the game-winner, Jonathan Huberdeau secured the victory and Jacob DeSerres had the game of his life in the Saint John net.

It’s hard to believe it has been four years since the Sea Dogs’ 3-1 win over the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, clinching the first Memorial Cup title for Atlantic Canada.

REPORT: There's Still A Chance...

Well, this could change just about everything.

The QMJHL Entry Draft is next Saturday in Sherbrooke. The Sea Dogs will select first overall.

Monday, May 25, 2015 Releases Final Rankings has released their final rankings for the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft.

Toping the list is forward Maxime Comtois of the Chateauguay Grenadiers. Comtois, listed at 6’0” and 176 lbs., had 23 goals and 33 assists in 41 regular season games in the Quebec Midget AAA circuit.

Comtois was also ranked first by QMJHL Central Scouting. has forward Antoine Morand and forward Shane Bowers ranked second and third, respectively. Bowers is the top ranked Atlantic Canadian.

The top 10 of’s rankings can be seen for free. Their excellent draft guide is also available for purchase.

From a Sea Dogs perspective, it’s good to see three forwards toping the rankings. The Dogs certainly need some offensive support and they’ll be able to take their pick with the first overall choice.

Of note, and not surprisingly, Bowers told Mooseheads play-by-play man John Moore that he has not fully committed to the QMJHL yet.

Along with the first overall pick, the Sea Dogs own the ninth and 10th overall picks. The 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft is on June 6 in Sherbrooke.

Danny Flynn's Son Joins Titan Staff

Saint John Sea Dogs games against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan will have an interesting element to them this coming season.

The Titan announced today that Brad Flynn, son of Sea Dogs head coach Danny Flynn, has joined the team as an assistant coach.

First, Brad Flynn will join the team as an assistant coach. Last season, Flynn occupied the same role with the Corpus Christi IceRays in the North American Hockey League (NAHL), after having filled the roles of assistant coach and assistant general manager with the Swan Valley Stampeders in Manitoba for the two prior seasons.  
It is quite an impressive road for the young man, whom during his playing career, most notably played for the University of Southern Maine in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as well as Brock University at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level.

The 2015-16 QMJHL schedule has not yet been released. The Sea Dogs and Titan will likely play each other a ridiculous amount of times, as per usual. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Flynn Named Sea Dogs Head Coach

As expected, Danny Flynn has been named head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs.

The team officially made the announcement this afternoon. Flynn signed a three-year deal with the team, making him head coach through the 2017-18 season. No other contract details were released.

"I wish to thank to the Sea Dogs for this opportunity," said Flynn in a press release. "I'm looking forward to the challenge and excited about the chance to work with this group of players. Saint John is a great hockey town with a first-class facility and knowledgeable fans. I'm anxious to get started and be well-prepared for the start of the season."

Flynn has a ton of coaching experience, most notably as head coach of the Moncton Wildcats from 2007-2013. He won the President Cup in 2010, defeating the Sea Dogs in the final.

This past season, Flynn was an assistant coach with Ted Nolan’s Buffalo Sabres.

"Danny's record speaks for itself," said Sea Dogs general manager Darrell Young. "He has a wide range of experience at different levels of the game, he understands what it takes to help our student-athletes excel, and he's a winner."

The hiring ensures the Sea Dogs have a head coach in place for the QMJHL Entry Draft, which takes place June 6 in Sherbrooke. Saint John will select first overall.

No assistant coaches have been named yet.

Despres Scores Winner In Ducks Win

Simon Despres picked a fine time to score his first career NHL playoff goal.

Despres' goal at 19:05 of the second period proved to be the game winner in the Anaheim Ducks’ victory over the Chicago Blackhawks last night. The Ducks now lead the best-of-seven Western Conference final 2-1.

"I'm not a goal-scorer," Despres told "I just tried to hit the net and get it off as quick as possible."

Despres finished the game with one goal, two shots and two hits in a team high 23:26 of ice time.

The former Sea Dog – the only one left in the hunt for the Stanley Cup – now has one goal and six assists in 12 playoff games this year. He has been solid so far.

This is the third trip to the post-season for Despres who was held pointless in his previous two trips with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Game four of the series is tomorrow night at 9 p.m. in Chicago.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Rimouski Wins President Cup

Michael Joly’s goal at 2:13 of the second overtime period won the Rimouski Oceanic the President Cup last night.

The Oceanic won the 2015 QMJHL championship in seven games, erasing 2-0 and 3-2 series deficits. The final three games of the series were all decided in overtime with Monday’s championship game being the most dramatic.

The most intriguing part of the series was the success the road team had. The road team had won every game of the series until Rimouski’s victory last night.

This is the third President Cup title in Oceanic history and the first since the Sidney Crosby led 2004-05 team.

With Quebec hosting this year’s Memorial Cup, both the Remparts and Oceanic will appear in the tournament. Quebec opens up the tournament on Friday against the WHL champion Kelowna Rockets. Rimouski plays OHL champion Oshawa on Saturday.

The Remparts won the 2006 Memorial Cup after losing the league championship to the Moncton Wildcats. Can Quebec do it again?

Quebec’s roster includes former Sea Dogs forward Marcus Cuomo who finished the playoffs with two goals and an assist in seven games. He played in three President Cup final games.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Coyle Wins Bronze At Worlds

Charlie Coyle’s second period goal helped Team USA win a bronze medal at the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship today.

Coyle’s goal came near the midway point of the game, a game that saw the US defeat the host Czechs 3-0. The US had to settle for today’s bronze medal game after losing to Russia in the semifinals.

The former Sea Dogs forward had a very good tournament, registering three goals and two assists in five games. Coyle joined the team after the Minnesota Wild were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Sea Dogs draft pick Jack Eichel was also part of the US squad, recording two goals and five assists in 10 games.

Tomas Jurco also participated in the tournament, playing with Slovakia. He had one assist in five games.

In today’s gold medal match, Canada defeated Russia 6-1.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Memorial Cup Participants Finalized

The four teams that will participate in the 2015 Memorial Cup in Quebec City have been confirmed.

The Oshawa Generals become the final team to book their ticket to the tournament, defeating Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters last night to win the OHL championship.

The Kelowna Rockets won the WHL title earlier this week. The Rimouski Oceanic and Quebec Remparts have already earned spots as well.

Here is the full schedule for this year’s tournament:

Friday, May 22: Kelowna vs Quebec
Saturday, May 23: Rimouski vs Oshawa
Sunday, May 24: Quebec vs Oshawa
Monday, May 25: Rimouski vs Kelowna
Tuesday, May 26: Oshawa vs Kelowna
Wednesday, May 27: Quebec vs Rimouski
Thursday, May 28: Tie-breaker game
Friday, May 29: Semifinal game
Sunday, May 31: Championship game

In the QMJHL final, neither team has yet to win a home game. Quebec took a 3-2 series lead with a 3-2 victory in Rimouski last night. Game six is on Sunday afternoon in Quebec City.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Alumdate: Despres Still In Cup Hunt

One former Sea Dog remains in the hunt for the Stanley Cup.

Simon Despres and the Anaheim Ducks begin their Western Conference final series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Despres has had a strong post-season so far, recording five assists in nine games with the Ducks. During his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Despres was held pointless in six playoff games.

In other former Sea Dog news…
  • Stanislav Galiev and the Hershey Bears had their season come to an end on Friday night, losing game six of the Eastern Conference semifinal 6-3 to the Hartford Wolf Pack. After posting 45 points 67 regular season AHL games, Galiev registered just one goal in five playoff games. Friday’s game was Galiev’s only match of the series because of an upper body injury suffered in the first round. 
  • At the World Hockey Championship, Charlie Coyle and the United States will take on Russia in the semifinals on Saturday. Coyle had a goal and an assist in the USA’s 3-1 quarterfinal victory over Switzerland. Canada plays the Czech Republic in the other semifinal.
  • Former Sea Dogs forward Steven Anthony has committed to play at the University of Windsor next season. Anthony spent four seasons in Saint John, recording 163 points in 244 games, placing him seventh in franchise scoring. He helped the Sea Dogs win the 2011 Memorial Cup. A seventh-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks in 2009, Anthony spent his professional career in the ECHL and CHL. 
  • Remember that big hit Erik Karlsson delivered on Nathan Beaulieu in the first round of the NHL playoffs? It was unveiled today that Beaulieu suffered a fractured sternum on the play.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Report: Flynn To Be Named Dogs Coach

RDS’ Stephane Leroux is reporting that Danny Flynn will be the new head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs.

Leroux reports that an announcement will be made in the coming days. The team has not confirmed the report.

Flynn has plenty of QMJHL experience under his belt, coaching the Moncton Wildcats from 2007 to 2013. That experience includes a President Cup championship in 2010 where the Wildcats defeated the Sea Dogs in the final.

The Wildcats released Flynn of his coaching duties in April of 2013. Moncton was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs each year following their 2010 championship.

Flynn also has NHL coach experiencing, the latest coming this past season where he was an assistant coach with Ted Nolan and the Buffalo Sabres.

If the report is accurate, this looks like a pretty decent hire. Flynn has plenty of experience with young players, he knows the league and has won a championship. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Report: Veleno Denied Exceptional Status

According to Gabriel Beland of La Presse, Joseph Veleno has been denied exceptional player status for the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft.
The deadline for applications was Feb. 15 - which was missed.

Veleno, if granted exceptional status, was viewed as the best player available for this year’s draft. Saint John owns the first overall pick. Obviously, this is unfortunate news for the Sea Dogs.

Veleno had 16 goals and 52 points in 41 games with the midget AAA Lac St-Louis Lions this past season. Many expect him to play at Shattuck-St. Mary’s next year and then enter the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft.

Friday, May 8, 2015

QMJHL Central Scouting Releases Rankings

QMJHL Central Scouting unveiled their rankings for the 2015 draft yesterday.

Forward Maxime Comtois was ranked first overall. Comtois had 23 goals and 33 assists in 41 regular season games with Châteauguay of the Quebec Midget AAA League this year.

“His consistency, work ethic and ability to score the big goal make him a very interesting prospect” states a league press release. “He has good physical abilities well used in tight spaces. His shooting skills and his natural scoring talent make him a dangerous player on the offense. He’s able to find his teammates on the offense, while his coach is even using him on the point during power plays. He’s noticeable on the ice and one can feel his love of the game. Maxime will be an important asset on his junior team particularly if he keeps scoring goals in difficult situations.”

Forward Antoine Morand, also of Châteauguay, was ranked second. Forward Shane Bowers, who had 23 goals and 52 points in 34 games with AAA Halifax this past season, was ranked third.

“This centre player is fast and extraordinarily mobile on his skates,” states the release. “His great qualities on the offense make him a very dangerous forward. He works hard during each presence on the ice and his speed is unnerving to the opposing defencemen. He’s generous with his teammates.”

Forward Peyton Hoyt of the Fredericton Canadiens, ranked 11th, was the only other Maritime player ranked in the first round.

The full rankings can be seen here.

The good news for the Sea Dogs is that the top players available are all forwards. Saint John could certainly use some scoring help and additional depth up front.

Not ranked was underage forward Joseph Veleno who is considered to be the best player available if granted exceptional player status. Willy Palov had a good column on Veleno in today’s Chronicle Herald.

The QMJHL Entry Draft takes place on June 6 in Sherbrooke.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Reports: Veleno Seeking Exceptional Status

Joseph Veleno, the 15-year old forward who is projected as the top player available for this year’s QMJHL Entry Draft if made available, will indeed seek exceptional player status, according to reports.
Veleno, born in 2000, will not turn 16 until next January.

In 38 games with the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League’s Lac St-Louis Lions this past season, Veleno registered 16 goals and 33 assists.

The Sea Dogs will select first overall in this year’s QMJHL Entry Draft.

SN's QMJHL Final Predictions

The 2015 President Cup final begins tonight in Rimouski.

This year’s final offers an interesting matchup with the No. 1 seeded Oceanic facing the Memorial Cup hosting Quebec Remparts. Both teams have qualified for the Memorial Cup, which could hurt the intensity level a bit… or it might not.

Here are the SN staff’s predictions for this year’s QMJHL championship final.

Lorne Webster – SN Writer: Rimouski in 6
Since both teams are guaranteed a place in the Memorial Cup, it will be very interesting to see if either team decides to rest/protect their stars in advance of the big dance.

There is no love lost between these two storied franchises. I'm not sure if the fans in Rimouski have ever forgiven GM/head coach Philippe Boucher for jumping ship from the Oceanic to join the Remparts. 

My preseason choice to win the President Cup was Rimouski and their roll through the first three rounds only strengthens my belief in the Oceanic. The Remparts have gotten stronger as the playoffs proceeded... but the Oceanic's overall size and depth will lead to a championship in six games (likely less).

Kevin Chambers – SN Prospect Guru: Rimouski in 7
With both teams qualifying for the Memorial Cup, the bigger question might be how hard are these teams willing to battle for the President Cup. Neither team will want to risk injuries, but that being said, I expect both teams to compete just as hard for the QMJHL's top prize.

Both teams have caught their stride at the right time and have been rolling - the Oceanic have barely blinked losing just a single game throughout the previous three rounds while the Remparts were given a tough first round match up against Cape Breton but haven't lost a single game since.

While both teams have already qualified for the Memorial Cup, this could be a very exciting final and I'm picking this one to go the distance. I'm going to stick with my choice from the start of the playoffs. I think the Oceanic are too strong.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Alumdate: Jurco Joins Slovakia

With his NHL season over, Tomas Jurco has joined Slovakia at the 2015 World Hockey Championships in the Czech Republic.

Jurco appeared in Slovakia’s 2-1 overtime victory over Belarus yesterday, helping set up Andrej Meszaros’ OT winner.

Slovakia is now 2-0 at this year’s championships with both of their wins coming in overtime. Their four points place them third in Group B behind Russia and the United States.

Slovakia’s next game is tomorrow against Slovenia.

Jurco’s season came to an end this past week when the Detroit Red Wings were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The former Sea Dogs forward registered a goal and an assist in seven playoff games.

Some other news and notes…
  • Simon Despres had two shots and two hits in 19:12 of ice time last night in Anaheim’s 3-0 victory over Calgary. The Ducks lead that series 2-0. The series resumes tomorrow in Calgary.
  • Charlie Coyle and the Minnesota Wild are down 2-0 in their series against the Chicago Blackhawks after a 4-1 loss last night. Coyle was a -2 but recorded a team high seven hits in 13:56 of ice time. The series resumes tomorrow in Minnesota.
  • In the Calder Cup Playoffs, Stanislav Galiev and the Hershey Bears have advanced to round two. Galiev is listed as day-to-day after taking a slash in the clinching game four win. The Bears scored three times on the ensuing power play, though. Hershey will play the Hartford Wolf Pack in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
  • The Wolf Pack advanced to the next round by eliminating Zack Phillips and the Providence Bruins in five games. Phillips was held pointless in the two playoff games he appeared in.

Photo: IIHF website