Yes, that is a chocolate version of the Memorial Cup.
Via Mississauga.com, here is what is going down today at the Memorial Cup:
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. - Fan Fest opens - Hershey Centre
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Sport Management Conference - Delta Toronto Airport West
9 p.m. to 1 a.m. - Post game party/music - Molson Hockey House
SEA DOGS PREVIEW
Some more Memorial Cup previews featuring the Sea Dogs have rolled in. Bruins 2011 Draft Watch has a solid run down of Saint John’s lineup and takes a look at all of their prospects for the upcoming draft.
The Toronto Star has a brief breakdown of all four teams.
Stephane Leroux of RDS believes that the Sea Dogs are the favourites going into the tournament.
Once again, all Memorial Cup games can be seen live on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. Each game will begin at 8:00 pm beginning with tonight’s tilt between Saint John and Mississauga.
RDS will also be broadcasting the event.
In the US, the NHL Network will be airing a mix of live and taped games.
Also, each Sea Dogs game can be heard live on News 88.9.
The Memorial Cup website has a photo gallery up featuring yesterday’s festivities in Mississauga. The events included all four coaches taking questions from the media at a press conference.
PHILLIPS AND ANTHONY
RDS reported yesterday that Zack Phillips is expected to return to the Sea Dogs lineup tonight after missing the final two games of the President’s Cup final with an upper-body injury. He was injured in Saint John’s double-overtime victory in Game Four.
RDS is also reporting that Steven Anthony, who was hurt in Game One of the final, may not be ready to return until the semi-final or final.
One of the most impressive accomplishments of the Sea Dogs journey to the Memorial Cup – most of their best players are only 17- or 18-years old.
"In all my years of junior hockey," Sea Dogs associate coach and director of hockey operations Mike Kelly said to the National Post, "it's typically been the 19-year-old teams that have dominated."
"On the ice, age is just a number," said defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, who turned 18 in December. "When you play hard out there, it's your heart that matters."
Rogers Sportsnet called the Sea Dogs making the Memorial Cup a “scout’s delight.”
Patrick King of Rogers Sportsnet released his list of ’burning questions’ heading into the national championship tournament.
Two of the questions involving the Sea Dogs are: “how much will Zack Phillips' injury impact Saint John?” and “can the Sea Dogs finally win one for the Q?”
A PLAYER TO WATCH
Good old Roger Lajoie from the Sportsnet Radio The Fan 590 posted a list of players to pay attention to at the Memorial Cup on the radio station’s website yesterday. On that list – Sea Dogs star Jonathan Huberdeau.
He potted the game-tying goal with 23 seconds left in Game 6 of the QMJHL final against Gatineau, as Saint John needed overtime to close out the title series. He also had a goal and an assist playing in the 2011 CHL Top Prospects Game at the Air Canada Centre earlier this season.DRAFT DISTRACTIONS
All eyes will be on him – especially the eyes of NHL scouts working for teams with very high draft picks.
The Sea Dogs will be given a lot of attention because of the amount of draft prospects on their team, as the Globe and Mail reports. Can the Sea Dogs deal with those distractions?
“We’ve got a lot of kids that are on Central Scouting’s list,” Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant said to the newspaper. “There’s lots of people that said, ‘How focused is your team going to be?’ I think our team’s going to be fine.”
Saint John has faced the pressure of playing in front of scouts all season long. If there is any team ready to be put under the microscope, it’s the Sea Dogs.
A storyline that is going to get plenty of attention over the next week: Jacob DeSerres' attempt at redemption.
“Absolutely,” the Sea Dogs goaltender said on Thursday to the Toronto Sun when asked if he was looking for some redemption. “I always think that last year happened to help prepare me for this year. It was on centre stage, and it was more publicized. Everyone goes through hard times.”
In the same article, DeSerres also talks about not being signed by the Philadelphia Flyers, the team that drafted him in 2008. The former Brandon Wheat King said “it crosses my mind every day.”
ENJOYING THE RIDE
Stephane LeBlanc, a Sea Dogs scout who focuses on New Brunswick and PEI, has enjoyed watching the team he helped build march to the Memorial Cup.
From the Times & Transcript:
"Absolutely. You're not as involved as when you're coaching, but to have an input in building one of the strongest teams and one of the best teams in Canada is a big thrill," said LeBlanc, who is also an assistant coach with the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus men's team and a former head coach of the Moncton Beavers in the Maritime Junior Hockey League.The article also goes on to discuss how the Sea Dogs look beyond what a player does on the ice when making draft decisions.
"It's not very often you get to be part of something this special. You would think you would have to work in hockey a long time to be a part of something like this. It's very seldom you get to be with a team that has this much skill and character and that has this kind of success."
Things worked out well for Mathieu Corbeil who went from one of the worst teams in the Canadian Hockey League – the Halifax Mooseheads – to one of the best. The Chronicle Herald has that story.
“I don’t know, I must have an angel following me or something because it couldn’t have worked out any better," said Corbeil of being traded to Saint John.
In 15 regular season games with the Dogs, the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect had a 13-1-1-0 record to go along with a 2.17 goals against average and a 0.908 save percentage. He also won four games in the playoffs, allowing just five goals on 78 shots.
THEY HAVE A SHOT
Willy Palov of the Chronicle Herald believes the Sea Dogs have a legitimate chance at winning the Memorial Cup, something QMJHL teams have struggled to do over the last decade.
It goes without saying the OHL and WHL representatives will be as good as ever. The Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, Owen Sound Attack and Kootenay Ice will be difficult to beat. But I really feel this Saint John team is as good as any Q representative from the past decade.After the Quebec Remparts won the championship in 2006, it’s been pretty much downhill from there. Lewiston, Gatineau, Rimouski, Drummondville, and Moncton have come up short since.
Photo Credits: Steve Dangle Twitter, Marc Henwood/Station Nation, Marc Henwood/Station Nation