Sunday, September 30, 2012

RECAP: Keep On Trucking. Dogs Win 5-1.

By Tim Lumsden
SN Staff

FINAL: Saint John 5, Moncton 1

The Saint John Sea Dogs traveled to the Moncton Coliseum on Sunday afternoon to do battle with the Moncton Wildcats in front of 4,738 ‘Cats and Dogs fans.

It seemed the Wildcats were taking mood lighting to the next level as the rink continued to fill with fog after the players took to the ice. It continued well into the second period as the heating system continued to run in the Coliseum.
                                                                                                       
The goaltenders for the evening were Sebastien Auger for Saint John and Alex Dubeau for Moncton.

FIRST PERIOD
At 3:47, Ryan Tesink and Jonathan Racine got into a scuffle while Jonathan Huberdeau decided he needed a dance partner. Sure enough, an unsettled dispute from Wednesday’s game would have him select Moncton’s Patrick Downe. Ryan Tesink received two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, two for roughing and two for playing after losing his helmet. Huberdeau and Downe each received two for unsportsmanlike conduct. Danick Edmond would also receive two minutes for interference.

At 7:56, the Sea Dogs went on the power play as Dmitri Jaskin was sent to the box for slashing Sebastien Auger.

With less than four-and-a-half minutes left of the first, Moncton returned to the penalty box as Ross Johnston was called for high sticking.

Four minutes were handed out to Ryan Tesink at 19:32; two minutes for slashing as well as two for interference. This would leave the Dogs a man short at the start of the second period.

James Melindy’s unfortunate call, at the whistle, would shorten that disadvantage as he was given two minutes for slashing. He’d have to wait until the start of the second to serve it however as the first twenty minutes of hockey came to an end and the teams left the ice.

Saint John was outshot 13-8 in the first period.

LIVE: Sea Dogs vs Wildcats

MONCTON – The Sea Dogs are in Wildtown this afternoon to take on the Wildcats. Game time is 4pm. Follow along right here for updates.

GAMEDAY 5 - at Moncton

GAMEDAY
Saint John Sea Dogs vs Moncton Wildcats
Today at 4pm
Radio: News 88.9 | Webcast: Telus | TV: None | Live Blog: SN
Moncton Coliseum – Moncton, NB
PREVIEW
MONCTON –The Saint John Sea Dogs are on a roll.

After dropping their first game of the season, the Sea Dos have now won three straight games. All of those wins were decided by two goals or less. Saint John will look to continue their winning streak this afternoon in Moncton against the Wildcats. Game time is 4pm at the Moncton Coliseum.

The Sea Dogs and Wildcats just met this past Wednesday. The Sea Dogs pulled off an upset, defeating the Wildcats 4-2. Jonathan Huberdeau had two goals in that game.

Saint John, 3-1-0-0 overall and 1-0-0-0 on the road this season, are led by Huberdaeu and Ryan Tesink who each have seven points. Huberdeau has four goals and three assists while Tesink has three goals and four helpers.

Goaltender Sebastien Auger has been very good so far this season. He’s started each game this year and has a 1.98 goals against average and a 0.932 save percentage.

The Wildcats got off to a shaky start but are coming off a 7-4 win over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Friday. They are now 2-2-0-0 on the year but have been outscored 18-16.

Moncton is led by Alex Saulnier who has three goals and four assists in four games. His brother, Allain, has six points while Dmitri Jaskin and Ivan Barbashev each have five. Barbashev is still looking for his first QMJHL goal.

Goaltender Alex Dubeau is 2-2 with a 4.18 GAA to go with a 0.853 save percentage in four games.

Today's game is also Game 2 of the Brunswick News Rivalry Cup. So that's exciting.

RECAP: The Wall Of Auger. Dogs Win 3-1.

By Tim Lumsden
SN Staff

FINAL: Gatineau 1, Saint John 3

SAINT JOHN – Black was the new white on Saturday night at Harbour Station as the Saint John Sea Dogs took the ice against the Gatineau Olympiques. The Dogs wore their 3rd Jersey for the first time since the unveiling.

Sebastien Auger guarded the net for Saint John while Michael Nishi stepped into net for the Olympiques.

FIRST PERIOD
Sea Dog turned Olympique, Gabriel Bourret, pulled the first penalty of the evening at the 2:30 mark, with a tripping call.

While on the power play, Oliver Cooper took a hard and unexpected hit into the boards from Mickael Beauregard. This would send Beauregard off the ice on a checking from behind penalty for two minutes at 4:20. Cooper wasn’t going to let that one go however and after a brief scuffle, both he and Beauregard were rewarded with two minutes for roughing.

Benjamin Hade found himself in the box at 11:03 after being called for interference but the Olympiques could not produce a goal on their power play.

The Olympiques soon found themselves trying to kill off another penalty as Gabriel Bourret was sent off again, this time for boarding.

With less than ten seconds remaining, Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Tesink rushed Nishi but could not break through.

The period would remain scoreless as the teams headed to the dressing rooms.

The Olympiques outshot Saint John 11-9.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

LIVE: Olympiques vs Sea Dogs

SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs host the Gatineau Olympiques tonight at 7pm. It’s third jersey night and stuff. Follow along right here for updates.

Lots Of Sea Dogs At AHL Camps

There will be a lot of players with Saint John Sea Dogs roots taking part in American Hockey League training camps this year. With the National Hockey League on lock down, all the big pro-eligible prospects are headed straight for the AHL.

A number of players will be making their professional debuts this season while others will be returning for another year of action.

Here’s a list of the former/current Sea Dogs taking part in AHL camps. The NHL affiliate of each team is in brackets. If we missed anybody, leave us a comment below.

Steven Anthony – Chicago Wolves (Vancouver)
Nathan Beaulieu – Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal)
Mathieu Corbeil – Chicago Wolves (Vancouver)
Marco Cousineau – Norfolk Admirals (Anaheim)
Charlie Coyle – Houston Aeros (Minnesota)
Simon Despres – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh)
Kevin Gagne – Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal)
Stanislav Galiev – Hershey Bears (Washington)
Brett Gallant – Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders)
Danick Gauthier – Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay)
Eric Gelinas – Albany Devils (New Jersey)
Alex Grant – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh)
Mike Hoffman – Binghamton Senators (Ottawa)
Tomas Jurco – Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit)
Stephen MacAulay – Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal)
Robert Mayer – Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal)
Nick Petersen – Houston Aeros (Minnesota)
Zack Phillips – Houston Aeros (Minnesota)
Charles-Olivier Roussel – Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville)
Yann Sauve – Chicago Wolves (Vancouver)

Most AHL camps got rolling yesterday.

As always, if you see if any articles or tweets about any of these players over the next couple weeks send us message about it.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

GAMEDAY 4 - vs Olympiques

GAMEDAY
Gatineau Olympiques vs Saint John Sea Dogs
Tonight at 7pm
Radio: News 88.9 | Webcast: Telus | TV: None | Live Blog: SN
Harbour Station – Saint John, NB
PREVIEW
SAINT JOHN – A rematch of the 2011 President’s Cup Final takes place tonight at Harbour Station as the Saint John Sea Dogs host the Gatineau Olympiques at 7pm.

While the rivalry between Saint John and Gatineau isn’t much, the Olypmiques have been involved in some of the more memorable moments in Sea Dogs history. The Dogs won their first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League title on Gatineau ice in 2011. Then last season, Saint John defeated the ‘Piques only to have the win removed by the league because the Maxime Villemaire Player Card Incident.

Tonight, another big moment in Sea Dogs history will take place against the Olympiques as the Port City squad will debut their new third jerseys.

The Sea Dogs enter tonight’s game with a 2-1-0-0 record and a 1-1-0-0 record on home ice. Saint John is coming off back-to-back wins that saw the club defeat the Acadie-Bathurst Titan 3-2 in overtime last Friday and then downed the Moncton Wildcats 4-2 on Wednesday.

Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Tesink lead the club in scoring with five points each. Huberdeau has a team high three goals while Tesink leads the squad in assists with four.

Goaltender Sebastien Auger has been solid so far this year. He currently has a goals against average of 2.30 and a save percentage of 0.916.

The Sea Dogs will need some other players to step up tonight as veterans Stephen MacAulay and Kevin Gagne are away at Hamilton Bulldogs training camp. The two have combined for three goals and five assists in just three games this year.

Gatineau got off to a dreadful 0-2 start where they were outscored 10-1. Last night they turned things around with a big 6-1 win in Halifax in what was the Mooseheads’ home opener.

The Olypmiques are led by Martin Reway who has two goals and two assists in three games. Tomas Hyka and Dominic Poulin both have two goals as well while former Sea Dog Gabriel Bourret has two helpers.

With Robert Steeves out hurt, Michael Nishi has seen most of the action in goal. He has a 2.86 GAA to go along with 0.916 save percentage.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tomorrow Is Third Jersey Night

The wait is finally over.

A month-and-a-half after unveiling them, the Saint John Sea Dogs will finally wear their new third jerseys tomorrow night at Harbour Station. The Sea Dogs host the Gatineau Olympiques at 7pm.

The Dogs have worn other jerseys in the past. They wore Saint John Mooseheads sweaters during a game in the 2008-09 season. Then in 2010-11, they wore Saint John Flames jerseys to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the Calder Cup Championship. But tomorrow night, the Sea Dogs will wear something that was made just for them and something that will be worn numerous times.

The team’s third jersey features a new, alternate logo that is similar to the Saint John Flames’ dragon logo. On the shoulder there is a “SJ” patch much like what was worn on the St. John’s Fog Devils sweaters back in the day.

The jerseys have been on-sale since they were unveiled way back on August 17. The revamped Sea Dogs Styles store is also selling t-shirts, hats, and pucks with the new logo on it.

Tomorrow has also been designated SPCA/Animal Rescue League Night. The SPCA/ARL is looking for donations and have provided a list of items that would be helpful to their cause:

- Canned Cat Food
- Animal Bedding Pellets - To use for Cat Litter
- Peanut Butter - For the Dogs' Kongs
- Cheez Whiz- For the Dogs' Kongs
- Cat Collars
- Leashes
- Martingale Collars for the Dogs’
- High Quality Dog Treats:
            - Dried Chicken Strips (Costco)
            - Tartar Busters
            - Pigs Ears

These items are part of their “wish list” and will be collected at the door.

After hosting Gatineau tomorrow night, the Sea Dogs will travel to Moncton on Sunday for Game 2 of the 2012-13 Brunswick News Rivalry Cup.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Huberdeau Expected To Play Tomorrow

According to the Telegraph-Journal (paywall), Saint John Sea Dogs captain Jonathan Huberdeau is expected to play tomorrow night against the Gatineau Olympiques.

Huberdeau left Wednesday’s 4-2 win over the Moncton Wildcats midway through the third period not long after taking a high hit from Patrick Downe.

Via HockeyFights.com, here’s the only video of the hit that can be found on the interweb.



Downe received a roughing minor for the hit. According to the league website, Downe has been suspended one-game for an "illegal hit to the head."

Huberdeau leads the team in scoring with three goals and two assists in three games. The Sea Dogs will be in tough this weekend with Stephen MacAulay and Kevin Gagne away at Hamilton Bulldogs camp, so the team will be looking for Huberdeau to provide a significant spark to the offense.

The Sea Dogs captain is getting plenty of attention from the Florida Panthers even with the NHL locked out. Highlights from Wednesday’s game were posted on the team’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

Saint John plays two games this weekend. They host the Olympiques tomorrow night at Harbour Station and then travel to Moncton for a rematch with the Wildcats on Sunday.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

POSTSCRIPT: Wildcats 2, Sea Dogs 4

A collection of recaps from last night’s 4-2 Saint John Sea Dogs win over the Moncton Wildcats…

Our recap. 3,094 fans attended the anticipated game. Saint John versus Moncton games have always been popular with fans as each year sees the rivalry grow a little bit more. This year should prove no different.

The Telegraph-Journal’s recap (paywall). Stephen MacAulay scored the decisive goal on the power play at 7:19 of the third period as the Saint John Sea Dogs defeated the Moncton Wildcats 4-2 in front of 3,094 fans Wednesday night at Harbour Station in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action.

The Times & Transcript’s recap (paywall). Widely regarded as a championship contender, they dropped to 1-2-0-0 following another embarrassing performance in a 4-2 loss to the Saint John Sea Dogs in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action last night in front of 3,094 fans at Harbour Station.

News 88.9’s recap. Featuring Tim Roszell’s goal calls.

SaintJohnSeaDogs.com’s recap. Jonathan Huberdeau had two goals while Stephen MacAulay and Ryan Tesink each had a goal and an assist.


MISSING IN ACTION: Forwards Noah Zilbert (healthy), Mackenzie Brown (knee), Spencer Smallman (shoulder), and Matthew Highmore (shoulder) along with defensemen Pierre Durepos (hip) and David Weckworth (knees) did not play for Saint John.

“First game of many tonight in the stands #nofun,” tweeted Brown before the game. Brown is expected to miss several weeks with a knee injury.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

RECAP: Winning Wednesday. Dogs Win 4-2.

By Tim Lumsden
SN Staff

FINAL: Moncton 2, Saint John 4

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs took on the Moncton Wildcats in the first game of the annual Rivalry Cup on Wednesday night.

3,094 fans attended the anticipated game. Saint John versus Moncton games have always been popular with fans as each year sees the rivalry grow a little bit more. This year should prove no different.

FIRST PERIOD
Sebastien Auger took his position between the pipes while Alex Dubeau prepared to defend Moncton’s net.

Moncton and Saint John both leapt into action. It was Moncton however at 4:43 who took the first penalty of the night as Yannick Veilleux was called for tripping. This set Saint John up for a nice play as they raced the net, Jonathan Racine slid in behind the occupied Dubeau to block the shot.

Wildcat Ross Johnston sent the Dogs back to the power play, also with a tripping call at 8:08 as he sent Jakub Izacky to the ice.

This was the opening Saint John was looking for as Jonathan Huberdeau broke through Moncton’s defenses, scoring the first goal of the game, assisted by Kevin Gagne and Stephen MacAulay at 9:29 on the power play.

The Sea Dogs soon found themselves on the penalty kill as Jurij Repe was sent to the box at the 10:00 mark for Interference.

Moncton’s Danick Emond was next to the box at 14:12 with a tripping call sending the Sea Dogs back to the ice with the upper hand advantage.

Jonathan Huberdeau once again delivered on the power play to bring the score 2-0 as Kevin Gagne and Ryan Tesink each grabbed an assist.

Things began to heat up as the frustration began to show in the Moncton players as hits became a little harder and things got a little rough. Both teams headed to the box at 15:15 as Jonathan Racine and Devon Oliver-Dares were called for roughing. Penalties continued a minute later at 16:15 as Wildcat Ivan Barbashev took a diving call and Sea Dog Jurij Repe was sent off for hooking.

The first period would finish with a shots on goal total of 14-9 in favour of the Sea Dogs.

LIVE: Wildcats vs Sea Dogs

SAINT JOHN – The Moncton Wildcats are in town tonight to take on the Sea Dogs at 7pm at the Station. It’s the first game of the beloved Rivalry Cup. If you can’t make it to the game, follow along right here, won’t you?



West Signs With ECHL Bakersfield

Yet another member of the 2011-12 Saint John Sea Dogs will be playing professional hockey this season.

The East Coast Hockey League's Bakersfield Condors announced today the signing of former Sea Dogs tough guy Grant West. News 88.9’s Tim Roszell reported during a broadcast last week that West had signed with an ECHL team.

Here’s Condors Head Coach/Director of Hockey Operations Matt O'Dette talking about adding West.


According to the ECHL website, he’ll be the youngest player at camp.

The Sea Dogs acquired West last October, claiming him off waivers. The Fredericton native played 49 regular season games with the Dogs last season, recording six goals, 11 assists, and 105 penalty minutes. He added 19 penalty minutes in 11 post-season contests.

West also played three games with the Moncton Wildcats last year.

The 6’4” 205lbs forward had 15 fights in the regular season last season in addition to three playoff scraps and one Memorial Cup tilt, according to HockeyFights.com.

The Condors are not affiliated with a NHL club.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

2012-13 Rivalry Cup Format Announced

The format for the 2012-13 Brunswick News Rivalry Cup was announced this afternoon by the Saint John Sea Dogs and Moncton Wildcats.

The Sea Dogs and Wildcats will take part in the on- and off-ice competition for a fifth straight season. Since the 2008-09 campaign, the two teams have each won the trophy twice. Saint John has won the challenge the past two years.

The full scoring details are as follows:

(1) On-ice record: one (1) point for an overtime or shootout loss, two (2) points for an overtime or shootout win, and three (3) points for a regulation win.
(2) Attendance: based on game-by-game attendance numbers, one (1) point for 4,000 or more fans, two (2) points for 5,000 or more fans, and three (3) points for 6,000 or more fans. 
(3) Movember: Teams will be posting pictures of each player’s moustache progress throughout the month. The team that generates the most total likes will win five (5) points.

“The Sea Dogs are proud to have taken home the Rivalry Cup the last two years, but in this it’s the fans and Movember who are the real winners,” Sea Dogs president Wayne Long said in a release. “Movember is such a great cause and lots of people of fun with it. We thought it would be a great way to get the players and fans more involved with the team and the competition. It’s going to be great to see our young team and our fans support this great cause.”

This year’s format is fairly straight forward and should be easier for fans to follow. In past seasons, everything from food drives to mascot races were featured but was often difficult to follow and keep track of as the season went on. We’ll do our best to keep score of the challenge as the season goes on on the Rivalry Cup section of the blog.

Saint John and Moncton will battle eight times this season. The first meeting is tonight at 7pm at Harbour Station.

GAMEDAY 3 - vs Wildcats

GAMEDAY
Moncton Wildcats vs Saint John Sea Dogs
Tonight at 7pm
Radio: News 88.9 | Webcast: Telus | TV: None | Live Blog: SN
Harbour Station – Saint John, NB
PREVIEW
SAINT JOHN – The “transitioning” Saint John Sea Dogs host the revamped Moncton Wildcats tonight at 7pm at Harbour Station. It’s the first time the two rivals have met this season.

The Sea Dogs and Wildcats have different looks this season compared to last. The teams moved in different directions as Saint John got younger and began rebuilding while Moncton acquired experience and is expected to contend for a league title this year.

There will be plenty of familiar faces in the new look Wildcats lineup though. Alex Dubeau, Yannick Veilleux, and Jonathan Racine all played with the Shawinigan Cataractes last year. Those additions should help the Wildcats and the Moncton-Saint John rivalry.

Moncton hasn’t gotten off to a roaring start. They are 1-1-0-0 following a 6-2 loss to the PEI Rocket in Charlottetown on Friday and a 5-4 shootout win over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in Sydney on Sunday.

Not surprisingly, the Saulnier twins and new import forward Dmitri Jaskin have been the biggest offensive contributors so far. Alex Saulnier has three points while Allain and Jaskin have two.

The Sea Dogs are also off to a 1-1-0-0 start. They lost 3-1 to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan on Thursday at Harbour Station and then defeated the Titan 3-2 in overtime on Friday at the KC Irving Regional Centre.

Saint John’s offense has revolved around its returning veteran players so far. Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Tesink each have three points while Kevin Gagne and Stephen MacAulay have two.

Hopefully tonight’s match is a good one. These teams meet again on Sunday in Moncton.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

UNB Coming To Harbour Station In December


The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds hockey team will make a rare appearance at Harbour Station in December.

UNB announced this morning that they will host the Russian Red Stars - a team made up of all-stars from the MHL (Russia's equivalent of the Canadian Hockey League) - in the 8th annual Peterbilt New Brunswick Pete Kelly Challenge. The first of two games will be played in Saint John on Sunday, December 30 while the second will be held at the Aitken University Centre in Fredericton on New Year’s Eve.


The two games will be played against the backdrop of the 40th anniversary of the most famous hockey series of all time -- the 1972 Canada-Russia Hockey Summit -- along with the annual Montreal Canadiens vs. Russian Red Army games on New Year's Eve. This will be the third annual trip to North American for Team Russia.  Prior to meeting the V-Reds, they will play two games against NCAA Providence College Friars and a pair of contest against the NCAA RPI Red Hawks. It will be UNB's first international experience against a Russian team although they have had several players play in various international hockey events.

Tickets for the Harbour Station game – which will feature a 3pm start time – go on sale tomorrow morning. Tickets range from $18 to $12.50.

UNB features several former Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Canadian Hockey League stars in Nick MacNeil, Cameron Critchlow, Matt Fillier, Ben Shutron, Chad Denny and many others. The team also features former Sea Dogs goaltender Travis Fullerton who spent one-and-a-half seasons in Saint John. Fullerton, arguably the best netminder in Sea Dogs history, helped Saint John reach the QMJHL semi-final for the first time in 2007-08.

Anytime UNB plays a big time opponent it is worth going to. It’s hard to say what kind of crowd this event will get with the Sea Dogs playing just up the highway in Moncton that same afternoon.

On a side note, there is a ridiculous amount of sporting events at Harbour Station in December.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Challenge To Saint John Fans

By Tim Lumsden
SN Staff

A nervous little girl waits behind the curtains. Peeking out into the crowd she sees that it’s a sold out audience. She has been practicing for weeks. Day after day, early mornings and late nights have been spent perfecting her twirls and leaps. As the music begins she steps out and lets the music take hold. She sees a smile on a woman’s face in the crowd and she knows she’s doing a good job. The music signals that she’s about to come to the climax of her routine, looking back into the crowd she sees several people stand up. Are they about to give her a standing ovation? The answer is soon realized, they aren’t cheering. They are leaving. By the end of her routine, only half of the audience remains.

If you were her, why would you think everyone left?

You have been waiting for weeks for one of the summer’s most highly anticipated movies to be released. You have watched the commercials to the point you have them memorized. You even went and bought the tickets a week ago to make sure that on opening night, you would be there.  Popcorn and drink in hand, you and your movie going companions hear the hush fall over the crowd as the screen flickers with the first seconds of the film. You watch the heroes battle the forces of evil. You laugh at all the jokes and secretly shed a tear when one of them doesn’t make it through the journey to get there. The final fight is about to begin. This battle decides the outcome of the entire film. You watch as the hero falls to the ground. A sword is poised just above his head as the villain delivers his victory speech. You hold your breath. This is the best movie you have ever watched. What’s going to happen? Suddenly half the theatre stands and starts filing out.

Do you think this would really happen?

Whether it’s ordering an expensive meal and leaving after the first bite, or driving for five hours to go on vacation just to turn around and drive back home just as you pull into the hotel parking lot, it’s something you just wouldn’t think of doing. And yet week after week, we see it happen. People attend the game and within the last five minutes, the mass exodus begins.

While some may wonder if anything you do matters when you sit in the stands, the answer is a resounding “YES!”

During an interview, British Olympian, Mo Farah said "what really gets me through is the crowd, having that energy from the crowd cheering you on.”

It’s human nature. We thrive on praise. When we are doing well, we want to be told that. When we are feeling down, we want to hear encouraging words to help us regroup.

As fans, that’s our job. With each ticket we buy, it’s the unwritten agreement that we will support the team. We will cheer them through their accomplishments and we will encourage them and pick them up after a loss.

I’ve had the pleasure to attend games at a few different rinks and I noticed a few interesting things.

In-Depth Look At The Maritimes Division

By Kevin Chambers
SN Staff

The QMJHL’s Maritimes Division should be very competitive with Halifax and Moncton looking to become potential contenders for the league title. Bathurst could be considered a dark horse team that could make some noise with the right moves. Meanwhile Saint John, Cape Breton, and PEI should be in a close battle for the final three positions in the division.

Here is a brief breakdown of the six teams that make up the Telus Maritimes Division.

Saint John Sea Dogs
After a historic three-year run that included a Memorial Cup, two President’s Cup Trophies, and three regular season titles and saw the Sea Dogs win 50+ games in each season, Saint John will enter “a transition period” as described by Head Coach Mike Kelly. Saint John will look to their veteran players to guide the latest crop of young talent as the Sea Dogs will welcome 11 new faces to the franchise including several rookies, new import players, and a couple free agents out of Ontario.

The Sea Dogs will rely heavily on star forward and current team captain Jonathan Huberdeau to help generate the bulk of the offence. Also expected to provide a spark on offence will be local fan favourite Ryan Tesink and second year forward Oliver Cooper. Kevin Gagne will also be a key in generating offence for this young hockey team. The 8th overall selection in the 2012 QMJHL draft, Matthew Highmore, will begin the campaign on the injured list after having shoulder surgery late last season.

Saint John’s defence will need overage defensemen Kevin Gagne and Pierre Durepos to lead the new crop of defenders as the only returning defensemen from last season’s run to a championship. The Sea Dogs’ 11th overall selection in the 2012 entry draft, Olivier Leblanc, has looked very good during the pre-season and in his first couple of games during the regular season. Leblanc certainly appears ready for the challenge at the QMJHL level.

Last season’s backup goaltender, Sebastien Auger, will take over the reigns as the teams new starting netminder. Auger is expected to see the bulk of the load and will have every chance to shine as he will likely see plenty of action this season. 17-year old rookie Alex Fournier will start the year as Auger’s backup and should begin to see more and more starts as the season moves along.

Halifax Mooseheads
After losing last season in six tough games to the Rimouski Oceanic in the semi-finals, the Halifax Mooseheads enter this season as one of the early favourites to win the President’s Cup Trophy. The experience gained from last season’s run will help motivate this still young Mooseheads team and propel them to even greater heights.

There is no lack of offence in a deep group of forwards led by two second year players in Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin. Also, adding some scoring punch will be Martin Frk who has an absolute cannon of a shot that goaltenders will struggle to see let alone stop.  There are lots of options for Halifax and this team should have no trouble scoring goals.

Halifax does have some solid defensive minded defensemen but the one question when it comes to their defence might be whether they have a legitimate power play QB. Konrad Abelthauser will be leaned on heavily in this area, but look for the Moose to add another quality puck moving defenseman during the next trade period over the Christmas break.

Second year goaltender Zachary Fucale has not missed a beat over the summer, backstopping Team Canada to a gold medal at the Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Tournament. Fucale will look to continue to build on his success from last season and should provide some solid goaltending for the Mooseheads.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sea Dogs Notebook

MEDIA GUIDE
Sea Dogs captain Jonathan Huberdeau is one of the players featured on the cover of the 2012-13 QMJHL Media Guide. The guide can be downloaded for free on the QMJHL website.

“It features the list of all the players, coaches and goaltenders that are in the League this season with their statistics,” states the league website. “It also presents the leaders of all categories from last season, for the regular season, the playoffs and the MasterCard Memorial Cup. This season, the front page was dedicated to two great championship teams in 2011-12, the Shawinigan Cataractes and the Saint John Sea Dogs.”

SPORTSNET
Sportsnet.ca had an article on the Sea Dogs following Thursday’s home opener at Harbour Station. The article discusses the team’s transition season and the return of Huberdeau.

“Fans in Saint John now need a program to identify the players on the ice,” writes Patrick King. “In some cases, the numbers are the same but the players wearing them, for the first time in years, are different. Numbers 7 and 28 used to read 'Phillips' and 'Beaulieu' but now they adorn the names ‘Izacky’ and ‘Repe.’”

Also in the article, Sea Dogs head coach Mike Kelly says that “it's going to take five to 10 games for us to figure out pretty decent combinations, but that's normal. There's 12 new guys in the lineup."

CENTRAL SCOUTING
NHL Central Scouting released their September rankings for the 2012-13 Draft earlier this week. Not surprisingly, the Halifax Mooseheads trio of stars – Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, and Zach Fucale – are all listed as “A” prospects in the QMJHL section.

A pair of Seas Dogs forwards – Stephen Anderson and Oliver Cooper – are listed as “C Skaters.”

Cooper has a goal in two games so far this season while Anderson has yet to get on the board. Cooper recorded 10 goals and 14 assists in 60 games with Saint John last year while Anderson - who spent most of the year in Summerside - had six goals and 10 assists in 26 games with the Dogs.

BULLDOGS
According to Thursday’s Telegraph-Journal, Sea Dogs forward Stephen MacAulay and defenseman Kevin Gagne have both been invited to Hamilton Bulldogs training camp. The Bulldogs are the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.

The two veterans are scheduled to depart this Thursday, reports the T-J.

Gagne and MacAulay have each recorded a goal and two assists in two games so far this season.

VIDEO: Friday's Fights And Hit

Via HockeyFights.com, here’s video of yesterday’s first period wildness between the Saint John Sea Dogs and the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.


Two Titan players went after Michael Mastrangelo while Marcus Cuomo dropped the gloves with Etienne Salvail. Here are all the penalties from the play:

1 - SNB Marcus Cuomo, 12:02 - Fighting after the original altercation, (2.7)
1 - SNB Marcus Cuomo, 12:02 - Fighting after the original altercation - Game Misconduct, (4.7)
1 - SNB Michael Mastrangelo, 12:02 - Instigator, (1.4)
1 - SNB Michael Mastrangelo, 12:02 - Aggressor, (2.2)
1 - SNB Michael Mastrangelo, 12:02 - Instigator - Misconduct, (3.4)
1 - BAT Robert Davis, 12:02 - Third men in, who is the first to intervene in an altercation - Game Misconduct, (4.9)
1 - BAT Alexandre Gosselin, 12:02 - Elbowing, (1.34)
1 - BAT Alexandre Gosselin, 12:02 - Aggressor, (2.2)
1 - BAT Etienne Salvail, 12:02 - Fighting after the original altercation, (2.7)
1 - BAT Etienne Salvail, 12:02 - Fighting after the original altercation - Game Misconduct, (4.7)

Here’s Sean Girard’s hit on Ryan Tesink at the end of the first period. Girard received a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking to the head.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

POSTSCRIPT: Sea Dogs 3, Titan 2 (OT)

A collection of recaps from last night’s 3-2 Saint John Sea Dogs overtime victory over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan…

Our recap. A night after losing their season opener 3-1 to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, the Saint John Sea Dogs headed north and pulled off a 3-2 comeback win in overtime over the Titan in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action at the KC Irving Regional Centre.

Simply Titan’s recap. The Sea Dogs went 0/8 on the powerplay while the Titan went 0/6.

The Telegraph-Journal’s recap (paywall). Also scoring for the Sea Dogs was Jonathan Huberdeau and Kevin Gagne, while Matthew Bissonnette and Brandon Hynes replied for Acadie-Bathurst.

News 88.9’s recap. Featuring Tim Roszell’s goal calls.

SaintJohnSeaDogs.com’s recap. The win puts the Sea Dogs’ record at 1-1-0-0.


MISSING IN ACTION: Defensemen Pierre Durepos (hip) and David Weckworth (knees) and forwards Matthew Highmore (shoulder), Spencer Smallman (shoulder), and Mackenzie Brown (knee) were all out of the Sea Dogs lineup on Friday night. Andreas Tsogkas also did not play.

According to News 88.9, Brown is expected to miss several weeks with a knee injury.

RECAP: Call It A Comeback. Dogs Win 3-2.

FINAL: Saint John 3, Bathurst 2 (OT)

BATHURST, NB – They were looking to rebound and they did just that.

A night after losing their season opener 3-1 to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, the Saint John Sea Dogs headed north and pulled off a 3-2 comeback win in overtime over the Titan in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action at the KC Irving Regional Centre.

Oliver Cooper, who missed the majority of Thursday’s match after taking an awkward hit, scored the overtime winner at 3:32 of the extra frame. Returning veterans Jonathan Huberdeau and Kevin Gagne also scored in the victory. Stephen MacAulay registered two assists.

Goaltender Sebastien Auger was solid, making 29 stops in the victory. He made some big time stops late in the third period when the match was tied.

Bathurst had goals from Matthew Bissonnette and Brandon Hynes. Goaltender Jacob Brennan had a strong game, making 34 saves in the loss.

The Titan led 2-0 late in the first until Huberdeau got the Sea Dogs on the board with 24 seconds left. Gagne tied it up in the second and that’s the way it would stand.

All things considered, it’s been a pretty good first couple of games for this new Sea Dogs squad and a 1-1 record is certainly deserving. This team will be fun to watch if they can continue to compete like this.

Friday, September 21, 2012

LIVE: Sea Dogs vs Titan

BATHURST – The Sea Dogs take their show on the road tonight and face the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at 7:30pm at the KC Irving Regional Centre. There is going to be some pre-game ceremony thing so the game will probably take forever to start. Keep it locked right here for updates.

GAMEDAY 2 - at Bathurst

GAMEDAY
Saint John Sea Dogs vs Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Tonight at 7:30pm
Radio: News 88.9 | Webcast: Telus | TV: None | Live Blog: SN
KC Irving Regional Centre – Bathurst, NB
PREVIEW
BATHURST, NB – The Acadie-Bathurst Titan spoiled the Saint John Sea Dogs home opener last night. Tonight, the Sea Dogs will look to return the favour.

The Titan defeated the Sea Dogs 3-1 last night at Harbour Station in the first game of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season. This evening Saint John will battle Bathurst at the KC Irving Regional Centre on one of nine games in the circuit. Game time is 7:30pm.

Robert Davis, Raphael Lafontaine, and Brandon Hynes scored for the Titan last night. Jacob Brennan made 26 saves in net for the win. Bathurst’s power play had a strong performance, going 2-for-3.

The Seas Dogs’ lone goal came from Stephen MacAulay, a goal that was setup by fellow veterans Jonathan Huberdeau and Kevin Gagne. Sebastien Auger allowed three goals on 29 shots in the loss. Saint John’s power play couldn’t get much going, scoring just once on six opportunities.

Saint John will look to get some more offense going tonight. The Dogs were outshot 29-27 yesterday.

The Titan hosted the Sea Dogs in their home opener last season as well, a game that saw Saint John suffer one of their worst losses of the season. Auger allowed eight goals on 27 shots in an 8-1 loss. Zach O’Brien had a hat trick in that game.

This is Saint John’s only game of the weekend. They return to action on Wednesday when they host the Moncton Wildcats. The Titan host Cape Breton on Wednesday.

POSTSCRIPT: Titan 3, Sea Dogs 1

A collection of recaps from last night’s 3-1 Acadie-Bathurst Titan victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs…

Our recap. Jonathan Huberdeau brought the President’s Cup to centre ice and presented it to the crowd with a huge roar from the 4,193 attending fans and within moments all were staring at yet another championship banner being raised to the rafters.

The Telegraph-Journal’s recap (paywall). The opening-night crowd was down slightly from the 4,550 fans who watched last year’s 3-1 loss to Moncton.

News 88.9’s recap. Featuring Tim Roszell’s goal call.

The Canadian Press’ recap. The Acadie-Bathurst Titan's power-play unit made all the difference in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's season opener.

SaintJohnSeaDogs.com’s recap. Stephen MacAulay scored the lone marker for the Sea Dogs while Sebastien Auger made 26 saves on 29 shots.

Sea Dogs Live replay. Big thanks to Bryan for running this thing last night.

MISSING IN ACTION
According to News 88.9’s Sea Dogs blog, “Sea Dog scratches were defencemen Pierre Durepos (hip) and David Weckworth (knees), and forwards Matthew Highmore (shoulder), Spencer Smallman (shoulder), Michael Mastrangelo and Marcus Cuomo.”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

RECAP:Opening Night Sorrow. Dogs Lose 3-1

By Tim Lumsden
SN Staff

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs faced off against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in a 7:00pm home game at Harbour Station on Thursday. Before the game got underway, one major point of business had to be handled by the team.  Jonathan Huberdeau brought the President’s Cup to centre ice and presented it to the crowd with a huge roar from the 4,193 attending fans and within moments all were staring at yet another championship banner being raised to the rafters.

With the 2012-13 Sea Dogs introduced and banner raised, all that was left was to get down to the game. S├ębastian Auger stood between the pipes for the Dogs while Jacob Brennan prepared to defend the nets for Bathurst.

The first penalty of the night went to Bathurst’s Samuel Robert at 4:59 as he was called for holding, sending Saint John to an uneventful power play.

Jason Cameron pulled the next penalty as he too was called for holding at 7:09.

At 11:43 fans were treated to the most exciting save of the entire game.  Alec Jon Banville took aim at an empty net while his teammates kept the Saint John goaltender busy off to the side of his net. Catching sight of the attack in time, Auger slid out in front of the night in time to deflect the puck at the last second.

The Saint John high was short lived however as Robert Davis, assisted by Etienne Salvail and Michael Lyle, scored the first goal of the game for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. With 7:29 left of the first period, the score was 1-0 Titan.

Saint John newcomer Jakub Izacky took a nasty hit which left him stunned on the ice with just under two minutes left of the first period. Teammate Ryan Tesink was quick to react, grabbing the offending Jeremy Doucet. In a flash, fists were flying. When the dust settled, Izacky was taken back to the locker room as a precaution. Tesink and Doucet were each handed five for fighting. Doucet earned an extra five for checking from behind as well as a game misconduct.

The first period ended with Bathurst holding onto the only point of the game so far. Saint John however outshot the Titan 12-6.

LIVE: Titan vs Sea Dogs

SAINT JOHN – Another season of Saint John Sea Dogs hockey is ready to roll. The Dogs host the Acadie-Bathurst Titan this evening at 7pm at Harbour Station. The Sea Dogs will raise their President Cup banner to the rafters before the game. Follow along right here for updates via @SeaDogsLive.

Note: You must refresh the page for updates.

SN's 2012-13 Season Preview

As usual, our QMJHL season preview consists of links to other websites that know what they are talking about and aren’t lazy like us. These people are our heroes.

Now, to the links!

  • The Canadian Press’ annual QMJHL preview came out on Tuesday. If you haven’t heard, Jonathan Huberdeau will start the season in Saint John. ''Our approach is that we have him week to week,'' said coach and general manager Mike Kelly. ''We've got some tremendous kids and the exciting thing about Jonathan is he's an even better person than he is a player. He's humble and hand-working, so it's easy for our young kids to get to know him.''
  • At Sportsnet.ca, Patrick King writes that the time has come for Saint John to give up their powerhouse status. “Huberdeau and his team may now be ready to pass the torch to another Maritimes Division team and star,” writes King. “The Halifax Mooseheads and their sophomore sensation, Nathan MacKinnon, proved to be quick studies as evidenced by their improbable run to the league semi-finals last season.”
  • Over on the Sherbrooke Phoenix blog at NRJ Radio, they have the Sea Dogs finishing 10th overall in the league.
  • At The Hockey Writers, Fred Poulin has the Sea Dogs finishing 12th. “The team has lost many key elements in Charlie Coyle, Nathan Beaulieu, Zack Phillips, Danick Gauthier and Tomas Jurco,” writes Poulin. “Already this year, Oliver Cooper, Spencer Smallman, Matthew Highmore and Olivier Leblanc will have quality playing time.”
  • RDS' Stephane Leroux has Saint John finishing 10th as well.
  • The Times & Transcript’s Neil Hodge has the Sea Dogs finishing fourth in the Maritimes Division. (paywalled)
  • Hockey’s Future has a QMJHL preview. “It might take some time before the Sea Dogs are once again competing for the President's Cup, but if anyone can build a contender, it is GM/Head Coach Mike Kelly and his staff,” writes Kevin Forbes.
  • Over at Hockey Sense, they have the Sea Dogs finishing third in the division behind Halifax and Moncton.
  • Steve Turcotte’s season preview in Le Nouvelliste reminds us that the Sea Dogs could get a huge return on the trade market at Christmas time if the NHL lockout is still going on.
  • All Habs has a Maritime Division preview. “As generous as the last handful of years have been to the Sea Dogs, this season will start what is about to get as bumpy as most roads in this province,” writes Kathy K. “Saint John may be able to count on a few returnees, especially in light of the lockout, but they will have to work much harder than in recent history to even contend.”

So there you have it. Most have the Sea Dogs finishing around 4th in the division and between 10th-12th overall. That sounds reasonable.

GAMEDAY 1 - vs Titan

GAMEDAY
Acadie-Bathurst Titan vs Saint John Sea Dogs
Tonight at 7pm
Radio: News 88.9 | Webcast: Telus | TV: None | Live Blog: SN
Harbour Station – Saint John, NB
PREVIEW
SAINT JOHN – A new era in Saint John Sea Dogs hockey begins tonight.

After three straight years of domination in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, it’s time for the Sea Dogs to start over and begin a new chapter in the club’s franchise history. Tonight the Dogs will raise another President Cup banner to the rafters of Harbour Station, a fitting end to the team’s glory days that may not be repeated for some time.

The Sea Dogs’ 2012-13 season will begin with a clash against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Game time this evening is 7pm.

Saint John’s lineup will have a dramatically different look to it than it did in May when the team’s season ended at the Memorial Cup semi-final. As Neil Hodge put it in today’s Times & Transcript, "Saint John lost its starting goaltender, four of its top six defencemen and six of its top eight scorers."

Gone are Charlie Coyle, Zack Phillips, Tomas Jurco, Danick Gauthier, Nathan Beaulieu, Charles Roussel, Stanislav Galiev, Mathieu Corbeil, and others. Even head coach Gerard Gallant has moved on. Only a few players remain from the core group that went to three straight league finals. But that core group had to start somewhere. A new nucleus of players hits the ice tonight.

It’s going to be an interesting season that’s for sure. How long will Jonathan Huberdeau be here? Will the Dogs have enough fire power in their offense? Will this mix of veterans and rookies on the backend hold up? Is Sebastien Auger a No. 1 caliber goaltender? The list of questions goes on and on. While these questions may cause some concern, they also create some excitement and intrigue. It feels a bit like the start of the 2009-10 campaign. While I don’t expect this year’s squad to be quite that successful, I do expect this team to provide plenty of excitement, energy, and hope for the future.

Call it a rebuild year. Call it a transition year. Call it whatever you want. It’s the start of something new - and it all begins tonight.

QMJHL Season Predictions 2012-13


The QMJHL regular season is already upon us, and given the current stalemate between the NHL and NHLPA, it may be some of the best hockey we get for quite some time. That’s great news for Sea Dogs fans, who get to watch Jonathan Huberdeau weave his magic for longer than they would have expected. It’s going to be one heck of a season all around the league, with a couple of strong contenders for the Memorial Cup emerging in Halifax and Quebec, along with the highly touted Nathan MacKinnon expected to rip the Q apart en route to a potential 1st overall billing in the 2013 NHL Draft. Here are some awful predictions from someone who didn’t pay enough attention over the summer:

Maritimes Division

1. Halifax Mooseheads – A no-brainer. The Mooseheads boast a ridiculous crop of young talent and will only build on last year’s semi-final loss. A favorite to take the league.

2. Moncton Wildcats – The addition of two skilled Europeans to a roster that already boasts a great veteran core will make the Wildcats one to watch this season.

3. Acadie-Bathurst Titan – Their depth is questionable, but they have three of the best overagers in the league. Even if they’re dealt, they should be able to hover around middle of the pack in the division.

4. Saint John Sea Dogs – This should be a re-tooling year more than a full rebuild for the Dogs. They have some very strong young players, and you can never count out Huberdeau’s impact on a game.

5. PEI Rocket – They’ve got a long way to go but some strong drafting in June should give them a boost. Ben Duffy will be one of the top scorers in the league.

6. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles – Their 7th overall Import pick couldn’t even make the team out of camp. This is probably only one of their top-five worst asset management decisions in the last few seasons. At least Will Carrier will be fun to watch.

East Division

1. Quebec Remparts – They’ll go toe-to-toe with the Mooseheads for top billing in the Q all season. Grigorenko and Kucherov and Duclair and Erne oh my.

2. Rimouski Oceanic – They were a huge surprise last year, and the further development of a great crop of young players should only help their chances going forward. I’m expecting big things from Anthony De Luca.

3. Victoriaville Tigres – A few big guns up front and a tower of power in goal will ensure the Tigres are no pushovers. They’ll have their hands full to hold off the teams behind them, though.

4. Chicoutimi Sagueneens – Bounce-back years from Christopher Gibson and Charles Hudon will go a long way for  Chicoutimi, but I’m not expecting them to make much noise.

5. Baie-Comeau Drakkar – Carl Gelinas should be one of the big-time overagers this season, but the Drakkar will need young players to take big steps this season if they want to see some success.

6. Shawinigan Cataractes – The defending Memorial Cup champs went all-in last season, and it paid off. They’ll gladly rest on the laurels of last season as they begin the rebuild.

West Division

1. Gatineau Olympiques – A perennial powerhouse, they’ll return some solid veterans and have added a few talented young’uns. They should make out okay.

2. Blainville-Boisbriand Armada – I won’t make the same mistake as last year of counting these guys out. Something tells me I’ll regret not slotting them at the top.

3. Rouyn-Noranda Huskies – Overall, it’s not looking like a strong season for the West. The Huskies have a few solid pieces, though.

4. Sherbrooke Phoenix – Call me crazy, but my gut tells me the expansion franchise will turn some heads. Really looking forward to seeing what Daniel Audette can do.

5. Val-d’Or Foreurs – A fairly young squad led by Memorial Cup hero Anton Zlobin, they’re still a ways away.

6. Drummondville Voltiguers – There aren’t many angles that I can look at the coming season and think that the Volts are in for any better fortune than befell them last year. 

Photo credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Alex Fournier Has A New Mask

Via @SeaDogsDK, here's a look at Alex Fournier's new mask. Looking solid.

Check out David Kelly's Twitter for more images of the artwork.

Sea Dogs Notebook

IT’S ALMOST HERE
Only one more sleep until opening night in the Canadian Hockey League.

The Saint John Sea Dogs will host the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the lone game in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. It’s Banner Night at Harbour Station with the team sending its 2012 President Cup banner into the rafters. Game time is 7pm. Tickets are listed as “good” on the Harbour Station website.

Every team in the QMJHL plays on Friday night.

CBC STUFF
CBC Radio Yukon’s show “Airplay” has, according to this post on their website, adopted the Sea Dogs as their junior team for the winter. The Sea Dogs’ Mark Gamble explains the very basics of the team and the league in an interview posted here.

CHLPA
The CHLPA continues to be bizarre. They’ve been operational for a little while now yet it is still a mystery and they don’t seem too interested in giving the public – or anybody, for that matter – any clues.

In a post at The Pipeline Show, Guy Flaming details his adventure in trying to land an interview with someone from the CHLPA. It didn’t happen. The most disturbing thing from the post is a text they received from an agent.

"Wow, a CHLPA guy walks in on team unannounced as they're having dinner after a game tonight. Introduces himself by saying 'Hi, I'm Jake but please call me John'. Handed these guys a sheet asking them all to sign. No info, no details... nothing. YIKES!! Left guys more confused.”

Yikes. No clue what is going on with this thing.

PENS
Hockey’s Future calls Simon Despres the best pro prospect in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.

“On most other teams Despres would be fast-tracked to the NHL, as he has little left to prove in the minors,” writes Ian Altenbaugh. “However, because Pittsburgh is fairly deep with mobile defensemen, he would have spent most of 2012-13 in the AHL regardless of a lockout.”

Former Sea Dogs captain Alex Grant was named the best pro unsigned prospect in the Pens system. Grant is not signed for the 2013-14 campaign yet.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

High Praise For The Sea Dogs

Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen is comfortable with Jonathan Huberdeau starting the year in junior and had some high praise for the Saint John Sea Dogs.


“I feel that for one he’s part of a program that’s one of the best-run in the country, they’re an extremely well-run organization, they’re a fabulous ownership, they’re well coached, theirs is an area that Brian Skrudland spends time through, organizationally working with Craig Slaunwhite, myself that the trick is not to overwhelm somebody with a lot of information. One of the kid’s best strengths is his natural ability to play the game and his creativity. Some times you’re not sitting there teaching people those things. The level of talent would obviously not the same as the AHL but he’s going to get out there and work on areas he needs to work on and keep building up his strength which is something we’ve always encouraged.”

Huberdeau will be allowed to join the Panthers whenever the lockout ends. Florida was scheduled to start the regular season on October 13 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

CTV Atlantic had a feature on Huberdeau during last night’s newscast.

“There’s the benefit of having a high end player for sure, but it’s better to have a high end person,” said head coach and general manager Mike Kelly to CTV. “He’ll be good for our young guys to learn from.”

Kelly was also on CBC Radio’s Information Morning today to discuss Huberdeau. It’s a good listen.

No. 11 is expected to be in Saint John's lineup Thursday night at Harbour Station for the Sea Dogs' season opener against Bathurst. 

In related news, the Panthers have laid off their mascot. These are dark days.

Photo: CTV

Another Year Of Telus Webcasts Is Here

Telus is back for another year of overpriced and mostly terrible Quebec Major Junior Hockey League webcasts.

The Telus website was updated last week with the 2012-13 campaign quickly approaching. They will once again offer four possible options to purchase games, including two season long packages.

It will cost you $6.95 to purchase a single live game and $1.95 for a single archived match.

The first package Telus is offering is for every QMJHL game this season - live and archived. The package also includes all playoff games. The cost is $199.95.

Package B will get you every game of a single team – live and archived. The package also includes archives of all league games. It does not include playoffs. The cost is $149.95.

These are the same pricing options as last year

Now it’s time for our yearly rant.

If you pay $200 for the full package it seems fairly reasonable. That’s 612+ games for $200. But the problem has been the quality of the broadcasts.

There are often technical glitches. Some rinks are very dark. Some rinks have polls or whatever in the way and block views of the corners (Chicoutimi is pictured above). Only a few buildings offer replays. And let’s not forget that many games are not even broadcast in English.

The only real improvement made over the years has been some teams hooking up their in-house feed to the webcast, offering outsiders replay, multiple camera angles, and 50/50 updates. It’s also been great having team’s radio feeds hooked up as well (although there have been plenty of technical problems with them).

But, at least it is something. And who knows, this might be the only hockey we will all be watching for a while.

The QMJHL season begins Thursday at 7pm with the Sea Dogs hosting the Titan.