Friday, May 31, 2013

Courteau's 'Get Out of Jail Free' Ruling

By Andrew McGilligan
SN Staff

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey just set a dangerous precedent with its decision regarding the trade of Ryan Tesink from the Saint John Sea Dogs to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

The press release – a poorly worded one everyone now comes to expect from the Q – states, “To this point, the undersigned is of the opinion that the Saint John Sea Dogs’ integrity cannot be questioned.” (This must come as a shock to Martin Mondou and the owner formerly known as Leo-Guy Morrisette, but I digress.)

That statement absolved the Sea Dogs from any wrong doing in this matter and acknowledges the team acted in good faith in making the deal that sent Tesink to the Armada in exchange for a first-round pick.

It’s everything that comes after this statement where the league falls apart. Instead of standing by that statement, the Q decides to placate everyone and give the Armada the fifth overall draft pick in 2014.

This makes no sense. The Armada traded for a player who missed a portion of the previous season with a knee injury. He played a few games for the Armada after the trade before getting injured again. He would eventually return and suit up in the playoffs. Basically, QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau is giving the Armada a top five draft pick because one of their players got injured.

Now, the official reasoning is, “Declaration for trade purposes (form) might leave room for interpretation and should, in the opinion of the Commissioner, be the object of a revision and even eventually bring the League to introduce a new by-law provision specifically pertaining to the obligation of disclosure.”

All you need to know as a general manager in the Q is if you trade for a player and he gets injured, you can file a complaint and receive a high draft pick for your troubles. This takes away all risk associated with making a trade – something all GMs would love – but makes no sense.

Once again, the league and commissioner failed to take a definitive stand on an issue and in doing so, provides every team in the league with a get out of jail free card if they make a bad trade. The decision mentions the league should review the form that caused this problem and “even eventually bring in a bylaw.”

Given this trade was made in January and the issue not resolved until May, you can expect the revision or bylaw to be completed in 2025.

NAME CHANGE
Earlier this week I heard a CBC report asking people in Halifax if the QMJHL should change its name to reflect the fact it contains Maritime teams as well. Most people had no problem with the league name remaining the same, but here’s a compromise.

The league’s acronym is QMJHL. It could retain the same acronym while changing its official name to the Quebec Maritime Junior Hockey League. All it’s doing is swapping out Major for Maritime.

New 3rd Line Grind Tonight At 6pm

Episode three of the 3rd Line Grind radio program is here and it's going to be the best one ever.

Tonight at 6pm, Rob Williams and I will be talking:
  • The Ryan Tesink saga comes to an end.
  • The Mooseheads’ Memorial Cup win
  • The Charlottetown Islanders’ name and logo
  • QMJHL Draft a little over a week away
  • The latest coaching firings and hirings
  • NHL Conference Final predictions

Tune in tonight at 6-7pm on Local 107.3 FM in the Saint John area, listen live online at localfm.ca, or check us out on Rogers channel 949 and Aliant 824.

Also, follow us on Twitter @3rdlinegrnd and like us on Facebook to keep up to date on show happenings.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Decision Is In

The Ryan Tesink saga is over.

The league issued an overly complicated press release today that explains what went down. Here is what the league’s decision is on the whole thing is (spelling errors are not ours):
  • The trade that took place on January 2, 2013 between the Saint John Sea Dogs and the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada remains in effect, so that the rights to player Ryan Tesink still belong to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and that the Saint John Sea Dogs keep the first (1st) round draft pick (3rd ranked choice) received in this trade
  • The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada receives, as compensation for the hereinabove mentioned reasons, a first (1st) round draft pick (5th rank choice added by the League), at the QJMHL annual draft to be held in June 2014, subject to the following
  • In the event that the rights to player Ryan Tesink traded or transferred, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada will then receive, instead of a fifth (5th) rank choice in the first (1st) round of the annual draft, an additional nineteenth (19th) rank choice added by the League, after the end of the first round of selection but before the beginning of the second (2nd) round of said annual draft of June 2014.

What… what is even happening here.

This is a bizarre decision, in my opinion, and I don’t think you’d see this happening in other leagues. Enjoy your free first-round pick, Armada.

The good news, though, is that the Sea Dogs don’t lose any of their draft picks.

"The Sea Dogs are satisfied with the league's decision," Sea Dogs President Wayne Long said in a release. "We are now looking forward to putting this behind us and focusing on next week's draft."

We’ll have more later…

Beaulieu Fired By Sarnia Sting

Former Saint John Sea Dogs head coach and general manager Jacques Beaulieu was fired by the Ontario Hockey League’s Sarnia Sting today. Beaulieu has been Sting head coach and GM since 2011.

Co-owner Rob Ciccarelli released the following statement on behalf of the Sarnia ownership group.

Effective immediately the ownership group of the Sarnia Sting has relieved Jacques Beaulieu of his duties as General Manager and Head Coach. The reasons for his dismissal are not related to the on ice performance of our hockey club. As per the advice of our lawyers we cannot comment any further at this time.

The Sting had a 35-28-1-4 record this past season and were eliminated in the first-round of the OHL playoffs. He was 69-55-12 in two seasons with the club.

Beaulieu is currently facing two counts of assault after "a weekend dust-up at a Strathroy-area home" last month. Former Sea Dogs defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was also charged.

The Sarnia Observer has an article on the firing and it sounds bizarre. Read it.

The Sea Dogs fired Beaulieu in 2009 after three seasons with the club.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Tesink Trade Chronicles

Tomorrow is expected to be decision day. We’ve dug through our archives and below is basically everything about the Ryan Tesink trade that has been featured on this blog.

December 31 – Tesink plays his final game as a Sea Dog. He was held pointless in a 3-1 win over the Wildcats.

January 2Tesink is traded to the Armada in exchange for Saint John’s own 2013 first-round pick.

January 3 – Tesink makes his Armada debut. He records two assists in a 3-2 win over the Sherbrooke Phoenix.


January 13 – After going pointless in four straight games, Tesink plays what would be his final regular season game. The Armada did not give details on his injury.

February 14The Sea Dogs announce via press release that the team had “been summoned to a hearing to discuss the deal that sent Ryan Tesink to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in exchange for the Sea Dogs’ own 2013 1st-round pick.” Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports nails it by writing “’normal,’ ‘QMJHL’ and ‘Saint John Sea Dogs’ should never be in the same sentence.”

February 18 – The hearing takes place. Andrew McGilligan wrote an excellent column. Later in the day, the league posts a brief, 40-word message on their website: “Following a meeting today concerning the case of the Ryan Tesink trade, the Saint John Sea Dogs, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will not comment any further. The Commissioner will submit his decision following a review process.”

February 26 – Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino writes in his column that “the QMJHL implemented new trade procedures this season, and that was before the Ryan Tesink deal.” What does that mean? We’re still not entirely sure.

March 4 – I buy a pack of Heroes and Prospects hockey cards and pull a Tesink card. Was it a sign? No, no it wasn’t.

Reports: Tesink Saga Ends Tomorrow

February 14th.

That’s the day the Saint John Sea Dogs sent out a press release indicating they had “been summoned to a hearing to discuss the deal that sent Ryan Tesink to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in exchange for the Sea Dogs’ own 2013 1st-round pick.”

The hearing took place and then we all waited for the result. And waited. But then it looked like it would end! But it didn’t. So we waited some more!

But tomorrow, on May 30, 2013, it looks like it will finally come to an end. Both La Presse and TVA Sports report that the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will announce their decision.

What will the decision be? The removal of a Saint John draft pick(s)? A fine? Nothing it all? It’s anybody’s guess.

If you are unfamiliar with what’s gone one here, the Sea Dogs traded Tesink to the Armada on January 2nd in exchange for their own 2013 first-round pick.  The 19-year old played in six games with Blainville-Boisbriand before being sidelined with a knee injury. He didn’t return to action until April 19th.

The Armada believed the Sea Dogs were aware of the injury prior to making the deal, and that is where the controversy comes from.

So hopefully this finally comes to end tomorrow. The QMJHL Entry Draft is on June 8 and it would be great to have this settled well before then. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sea Dogs Notebook


GALIEV
Got news for you: Stanislav Galiev is a winner.

As Russian Machine Never Breaks breaks down, Galiev has now won league championships in each of his past three seasons thanks to back-to-back QMJHL titles with Saint John and an ECHL title with the Reading Royals this season.

Galiev also won a USHL title with the Indiana Ice in 2009 before joining the Sea Dogs and came within two wins of a 2010 QMJHL Championship.

The Russian forward, playing in his first pro season, only played in Game 5 of the Kelly Cup Final due to injury.

“It’s something special for me because the coach trusts me,” he told The Sports Lair. It’s a Game 5. I was a little injured and wasn’t 100-percent. My foot still hurts a little bit, but it was nice to forget everything out there and help my team get the Cup.”

Galiev had 23 goals and 24 assists in 64 regular season ECHL games and added four goals and seven assists in 10 post-season contests.

Thanks to Emily B. from Japers’ Rink for the link.

CAPITALS
This news came out of nowhere.

The Summerside Journal Pioneer reports that the MHL’s Summerside Western Capitals might be moving. This comes just a couple weeks after hosting the RBC Cup.

The newspaper reports that the team has “given notice to the league that the team is now in the process of seeking another venue for the 2013-2014 junior A hockey season. The reason behind the move is a breakdown in negotiations between the city and management and owners of the team.”

The Caps have had plenty of Sea Dogs connections over the years.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Charlottetown Islanders Have Arrived

The PEI Rocket are no more.

At a press conference this morning, the franchise officially announced that they will be called the Charlottetown Islanders next season. They also unveiled their new logo (pictured).

According to the Charlottetown Guardian, “the colours are roughly similar to the gold, black and white of NFL's New Orleans Saints and the logo features the Confederation Bridge.”

The jerseys were not unveiled today, but The Guardian also reports that they “will be revealed at an event sponsored by the team on June 15, although glimpses should be available when the team selects its picks at the 2013 QMJHL draft June 8 in Chicoutimi, Que.”

The logo is good, but the colour is a little bland. Maybe the jersey will make it pop. Either way, I like it more than anything PEI Rocket related.

New members of the team’s new ownership group were also announced today. Exciting times on PEI.

MacAulay And Moose Win Memorial Cup

The Halifax Mooseheads are 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup Champions.

The Mooseheads won their first national championship with a very entertaining 6-4 victory over the Portland Winterhawks on Sunday night in Saskatoon.

The win keeps the Memorial Cup in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for a third straight year. It’s also just the second time a team from Atlantic Canada has won the historic trophy following the Saint John Sea Dogs’ win in 2011.

There are a few Sea Dogs connections on this year’s Mooseheads. Most notably is forward Stephen MacAulay who capped off one of the greatest junior hockey careers ever. MacAulay became the first player to ever play in four President Finals, win three President Cups, and win two Memorial Cups in his career.

Mooseheads assistant general manager Bob ‘Tipper’ Leblanc, a former Sea Dogs GM, and assistant coach Jim Midgley, a former Dogs assistant, are the other connections.

Nathan MacKinnon had a hat trick and two assists in the game. Konrad Abeltshauser had two goals and Martin Frk one. Jonathan Drouin had five assists. Zach Fucale made 40 stops in the victory.

The game itself was a good one. As usual, it didn’t start until 8:30 Atlantic time due to Sportsnet’s “analysis” and the pre-game stuff at the rink. After a successfully sung American and Canadian national anthem, the game began.

The Mooseheads led 3-0 after one thanks to goals from Abeltshauser, MacKinnon and Frk. But Portland stormed back in the second period with Nicolas Petan and Seth Jones scoring. The ‘Hawks, who also had a goal disallowed in the frame, outshot the Moose 18-6 in the middle stanza.

After the annual "Shoot for a Million" thing and an incredibly long intermission, the third period started. MacKinnon scored a huge goal at 7:36 to make it 4-2 Moose. Abeltshauser scored his second at 11:11 to make it 5-2. But Portland would come back and it was a one-goal game heading into the final minute. MacKinnon would seal the deal at 19:37 with an empty netter.

MacKinnon finished the tournament with seven goals and six assists in four games. He was named tournament MVP.

What a year for the Mooseheads. Without question one of the best seasons this league has ever seen.

And so ends the 2012-13 Canadian Hockey League season. Is it September yet?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Memorial Cup Final Is Tonight

The Halifax Mooseheads look to become the second Maritime team to win the MasterCard Memorial Cup tonight.

The Mooseheads take on the Portland Winterhawks in the Memorial Cup Championship Game tonight at 8pm on Sportsnet. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champs defeated the Western Hockey League champs 7-4 earlier in the tournament.

The 2011 Saint John Sea Dogs are the only previous team from Atlantic Canada to win the historic trophy. Halifax will look to join the Sea Dogs in that exclusive club and also bring the Memorial Cup to the QMJHL for a third consecutive year.

There are a ton of comparisons between this year’s Mooseheads and the 2011 Sea Dogs. Like Saint John did two years, Halifax got the bye straight through to the final and has had several days to prepare for this game.

The biggest connection between the Dogs and Moose is Stephen MacAulay who was part of the 2011 Saint John squad. MacAulay, playing in the final game of his unreal junior career, will look to become the first player to ever appear in four President Cup finals, win three President Cups, and win two Memorial Cups.

So that’s that. Good luck, Mooseheads.

Some other stuff…
  • Former Sea Dogs captain Alex Grant had two goals, three shots, and a +1 rating as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defeated the Syracuse Crunch 4-2 in the opening game of the AHL’s Eastern Conference Final. Game 2 is tonight.
  • The Oklahoma City Barons evened up the AHL Western Conference Final at 1-1 with a 4-2 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins last night. Tomas Jurco had two shots for the Griffins.
  • Some more pictures from the Reading Royals’ Kelly Cup win last night can be found over at Sweetest Hockey on Earth.
  • In less than 24 hours, the PEI Rocket will no longer exist. Details about the team’s rebranding, new name of the team, image of the new logo, 2013-14 season ticket campaign, and the latest additions to the recently announced ownership group (upon final sale of the team) will be released tomorrow at a 10am press conference.
  • QMJHL winners at last night’s CHL Awards: Dominique Ducharme (Halifax Mooseheads) was named the Old Dutch Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year, Valentin Zykov (Baie-Comeau Drakkar) was named the BMO Rookie of the Year, and Jonathan Drouin (Halifax Mooseheads) was named the CCM Player of the Year.

Galiev Wins ECHL Championship

Stanislav Galiev is an East Coast Hockey League Champion.

Galiev and the Reading Royals won the ECHL’s Kelly Cup last night with a 6-0 victory over the Stockton Thunder. The Royals won the series 4-1.

For the Royals, the Washington Capiatls ECHL affiliate, it was their first league title in team history. According to the ECHL website, “Reading becomes the 17th different team to capture the ECHL title, and are 12th different winner of the Kelly Cup.”



Galiev had a goal, an assist, three shots, and a +1 rating in last night's game. He was playing in his first game of the series and first game since April 26 due to injury.

Despite missing some time, the Russian forward still put up solid playoff numbers, recording four goals and seven assists in 10 games. In 46 regular season games he registered 23 goals and 24 assists in 46 games.

The 21-year old also played in 17 games with the AHL’s Hershey Bears this season and had one assist. He’ll be looking to stay up with the Bears full time next season.

This is the third straight season Galiev has won a league championship following back-to-back Quebec Major Junior Hockey League titles with Saint John.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sea Dogs Notebook

Via the very cool website Frozen Faceoff, here’s what centre ice at Harbour Station looks like. Check out their site to see centre ice logos from all over the QMJHL and other leagues.

CHL AWARDS
The Canadian Hockey League Awards Showcase will be held later today in Saskatoon. A full list of nominees can be found here.

No current Sea Dog is nominated for an award, but former Dog Kevin Gagne is up for the Post Defenceman of the Year Award. He was named the QMJHL Defenceman of the Year a few months ago.

Gagne played four-and-a-half seasons with Saint John before being traded to the Rimouski Oceanic in December. In 62 games split between the Sea Dogs and Oceanic, the 21-year old registered 17 goals and 54 assists.

The Anaheim Ducks prospect played in five games with the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals after the Oceanic were eliminated from the post-season. He had one assist.

MACAULAY
Stephen MacAulay’s junior hockey career comes to an end tomorrow night as the Halifax Mooseheads take on the Portland Winterhawks in the 2013 Memorial Cup Final. Game time is 8pm on Sportsnet.




Some articles on the former Sea Dog:
  • The Star Phoenix - MacAulay hopes for Cup win in tribute to his mom
  • The Chronicle Herald - Moose mission: Bring title home
  • Yahoo! Sports - Memorial Cup 2013: Stephen MacAulay parlays passion, poise into helping Halifax Mooseheads reach final 

Friday, May 24, 2013

3rd Line Grind Airs Tonight At 6pm

Some people said it couldn’t be done – but we’ve done it! The 3rd Line Grind radio program has made it all the way to episode two! It airs tonight!

Tonight’s show topics include:
  • Memorial Cup talk – recapping what’s happened and previewing what’s to come
  • NHL and QMJHL coaching firings and hirings
  • Attempting to not fall asleep when discussing the NHL’s conference semi-finals
  • Other stuff… probably

Tune in tonight at 6-7pm on Local 107.3 FM in the Saint John area, listen live online at localfm.ca, or check us out on Rogers channel 949 and Aliant 824.

Also, follow us on Twitter @3rdlinegrnd and like us on Facebook to keep up to date on show happenings.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Patrick Roy Headed To Colorado

Today is a sad day in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. From the Colorado Avalanche website:

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the organization has reached an agreement in principle with Patrick Roy to become the franchise’s Head Coach/Vice President of Hockey Operations. Due to the Memorial Day weekend, the Avalanche will hold a press conference next week in Denver to formally introduce Roy. 
Roy, 47, becomes the sixth head coach in Avalanche history and the 14th in franchise history. In addition to his head coaching duties, Roy will also work with Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic in all player personnel decisions.

Roy provided unlimited amounts of entertainment - and wrote quite a few cheques as well - during his time with the Quebec Remparts. It just won’t be the same watching the Remparts without him standing behind the bench and whistling for line changes.

The Q has posted a congratulatory message on their website.

Per the Avs website, “he guided the Remparts to a 348-196-0 record (.640) in 544 regular season games behind the bench” over eight seasons. Despite all the regular season success, the 2006 Memorial Cup is the only championship the Remparts won in the Roy coaching era.

Roy never guided the team to a QMJHL title and they only appeared in the league final once (2006) and the semi-finals three times (2006, 2009, and 2011). They also blew a 3-0 series lead in the second-round of the 2012 playoffs to the Halifax Mooseheads.

It’ll be interesting to see how Roy at the NHL level. He’ll no doubt provide some entertainment.

It’ll also be interesting to see who Roy brings in as assistants. Will he dip into the QMJHL?

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Forward vs Defenceman

By Andrew McGilligan
SN Staff

As the Memorial Cup has unfolded, fans have seen flashes of brilliance – some more sustained than others – from the potential top two picks in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.

Portland Winterhawks defenceman Seth Jones and Halifax Mooseheads forward Nathan MacKinnon have had very solid showings thus far with MacKinnon and the Mooseheads coming out on top in the round-robin meeting between the two.

The Colorado Avalanche are no doubt watching the pair closely as they hold the top pick and many believe Jones to have the inside track. When you have the first overall pick, you’re looking for the face of a franchise, a transcendent talent, a player who will be the cornerstone of a championship team.

With this in mind, drafting a defenceman first overall is a very risky proposition. This has nothing to do with Jones, but rather the historical impact blue-liners selected first overall have had on the game.

The first indication of how risky picking a rearguard first overall can be is how seldom it happens. A defenceman has been taken with the top slot just six times since 1980 and there’s not one sure fire Hall of Famer among them. Here’s the list:
1982 – Gord Kluzak
1992 – Roman Hamrlik
1994 – Ed Jovanovski
1995 – Bryan Berard
1996 – Chris Phillips
2006 – Erik Johnson
The second factor pointing toward taking MacKinnon over Jones is impact. Struggling teams – namely the ones that pick high in the drafts – need immediate help. Forwards tend to make an impact sooner in the NHL. For instance, there were two forwards selected in the top 10 of the 2012 draft. Coincidentally, those two players – Nail Yakupov of the Edmonton Oilers and Alex Galchenyuk of the Montreal Canadiens – were the only ones to play in any NHL games.

A third reason is when there’s some debate about whether or not to pick a forward or blue-liner at the top, recent history favours the forward. In 2009, the New York Islanders selected John Tavares over Victor Hedman who went second overall to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tavares is a Hart trophy finalist this season while Hedman is still trying to find his game in Tampa.

Pens Make History; Moose Off To Final

Alex Grant and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins made some history on Wednesday night.

The Penguins advanced to the American Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Final with a 5-0 Game 7 victory over the Providence Bruins. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton lost the first three games of the second-round series but won the next four, becoming the third team in the 77-year history of the AHL to come back from a 3-0 series deficit and win.

The Pens will play the Syracuse Crunch in the in the Eastern Conference Final. In the West, Tomas Jurco and the Grand Rapids Griffins will take on the Oklahoma City Barons. The winners advance to the Calder Cup Final.

The Penguins finished fifth in the AHL’s Eastern Conference with a 42-30-2-2 record. The Bruins had the AHL’s best regular season record at 50-21-0-5.

Grant was a +1 with two penalty minutes in this game. Providence defenseman and former Sea Dog David MacDonald was a -1 with two penalty minutes.

Elsewhere on Wednesday night…
  • The Halifax Mooseheads will play in the MasterCard Memorial Cup Final on Sunday, meaning that the national championship game will feature a QMJHL team for a third straight year. The Moose advanced straight to the final thanks to a 4-2 Portland Winterhawks win over the Saskatoon Blades. The Blades will now play the London Knights in tomorrow’s tie-breaker with the winner moving on to play in Friday’s semi-final against the Winterhawks.
  • Also, via Buzzing The Net, Wednesday’s game featured this hit.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Big Win For Mooseheads

The Halifax Mooseheads steamrolled the London Knights on Tuesday night at the Memorial Cup.

Halifax scored five times in the first period en route to a 9-2 victory over the Ontario Hockey League Champions. It was a fabulous bounce back game by the Moose who were coming off a disappointing 5-2 loss to the Saskatoon Blades on Sunday.

With the win, Halifax can advance straight to Sunday’s championship game with a Portland Winterhawks win on Wednesday night. If Portland loses, the Moose would have to play in Saturday’s semi-final game.

London’s loss means the Knights will have to take the long route if they want to make it back to the final. London will play the loser of Wednesday’s Portland/Saskatoon contest in Thursday’s tie-breaker game.

Martin Frk had a hat trick for the Moose on Tuesday night while Darcy Ashley had two goals. Singles came from Ryan Falkenham, Luca Ciampini, Stefan Fournier, and Brent Andrews. Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin each had three assists. Zach Fucale made 26 saves in the win.

Former Sea Dog Stephen MacAulay had one assist, two penalty minutes, and a +1 rating.

Other Tuesday night notes…
  • Tomas Jurco and the Grand Rapids Griffins advanced to the AHL Western Conference Final. They defeated the Toronto Marlies 4-3 to win the series in six games. Jurco was a -1 with four shots in the game. They’ll play the Oklahoma City Barons in the next round, a series that begins on Friday night.
  • Wednesday night, Alex Grant and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins face David MacDonald and the Providence Bruins in Game 7 of their second-round series. The winner takes on the Syracuse Crunch in the Eastern Conference Final.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sea Dogs Notebook

MEMORIAL CUP
Every team at the 2013 Memorial Cup sits at 1-1 entering action tonight. This evening, the Halifax Mooseheads battle the London Knights at 9pm and tomorrow the Portland Winterhawks take on the Saskatoon Blades.

All the possible scenarios about who advances to which game and how can be found on the CHL website.

The Mooseheads lost their first game of the tournament on Sunday night, a surprising 5-2 loss to the host Blades. The Moose have not lost much all year and they’ll need to rebound quickly.

MACAULAY
Former Sea Dog Stephen MacAulay is having a solid Memorial Cup so far. He sits fifth in tournament scoring entering tonight's game with two goals and an assist in two games.

Playing in his third straight Memorial Cup, MacAulay has two goals and two assists in 10 career games at the national championship. Despite all the success he has had at the junior level, he currently is not affiliated with a NHL club.

“In my mind I think I deserve a shot, hopefully an entry-level deal but if not, maybe something else,” MacAulay told the Chronicle Herald. “I think I’ve done everything I could do but one last Memorial Cup won’t hurt, especially if I play well and do well personally. I’m thankful for the opportunity.”

THE STATION
Forget to post this the other day so... here it is.



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Halifax, Summerside Both Lose

The 2013 Memorial Cup tournament just got a whole lot more interesting.

After having a decent game against the London Knights on Friday night, the host Saskatoon Blades defeated the No. 1 ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League, the Halifax Mooseheads, by score of 5-2 on Sunday night.

The Blades were swept in the first-round of the Western Hockey League playoffs and the franchise had basically forgotten how to win a playoff game until tonight.


Pretty much everyone had written off the Blades heading into the tournament. But after tonight’s display, this tournament just got a whole lot more fun.

Thanks to two quick goals in the third period, Saskatoon led 4-0 before the Mooseheads could finally get things going. Stephen MacAulay and Nathan MacKinnon quickly scored, making it a 4-2 contest. But despite some good pressure being applied by Halifax in the final minutes of the game, former Lewiston Maineiacs goaltender Andrey Makarov protected the lead. The Blades added an empty net goal with two seconds left which was a apparently a signal for everyone to throw their clappers and a single chair onto the ice (pictured above).

Halifax just could not get things rolling like they did on Saturday against Portland. It’ll be interesting to see how a team that has not faced much adversity all year deals with this kind of loss at the Memorial Cup.

Tomorrow, the Portland Winterhawks take on the London Knights. It Portland wins, every team at the tournament would be 1-1.

Elsewhere on Sunday…
  • Unfortunately, the Summerside Western Capitals fell short in the RBC Cup final as they lost 3-1 to the Brooks Bandits on Sunday afternoon. None of the former Sea Dogs who play for the Capitals recorded a point in the game. A tournament record crowd 4,211 watched the game at Credit Union Place in Summerside.

Sea Dogs Alumni Game Coming This August

Heading into their ninth year of play, the Saint John Sea Dogs will hold an alumni game this August.

Full details on the event have not been announced yet – and that includes the roster. Here is what we do know, via the Twitter feed of Sea Dogs equipment manager David Kelly.

1st ever Wallace McCain memorial charity game August 24th 2pm at Harbour Station. Sea Dogs alumni vs UNB Varsity Reds alumni... dont miss it! 
There will be stuff going on all day long with the proceeds going to charity, going to be a lot of fun! 
Wallace McCain was a heck of a man and its an honour for us to have this game in his name! Alumni are pumped,we will announce the roster soon. 
Plan on guys like @ThommerBomber @therealturks10 @CaronJG @AlexBo125 @StAnthony16 @Durepos23 @agrant20 @RyanSparling_4 being there! 
Some guys schedules are dictated by their NHL team so we can't release the full team roster yet but it is going to be awesome!! 
If any businesses are interested in sponsoring the charity game please message me! 
One alumni said they wouldn't miss it for the world, hopefully our fans have the same excitement! It's a few months away but save the date!

For the Twitter challenged, the handles listed above of those of Mike Thomas, Michael Kirkpatrick, Jeff Caron, Alexandre Beauregard, Steven Anthony, Pierre Durepos, Alex Grant, and Ryan Sparling.

This should be a cool event.

Mooseheads Win Opener; Summerside Advances To RBC Cup Final

In a game that displayed the awesomeness of junior hockey, the Halifax Mooseheads won their first match of the 2013 Memorial Cup on Saturday night, defeating the Portland Winterhawks 7-4.

Nathan MacKinnon went into beast mode, recording a hat trick and adding an assist with a +4 rating. Jonathan Drouin, Luca Ciampini, Martin Frk, and former Sea Dog Stephen MacAulay also scored. Zach Fucale made 37 saves in the victory.

Troy Rutkowski had two goals for Portland while singles came from Seth Jones and Ty Rattie. Goaltender Mac Carruth was not good in this one, allowing seven goals on 35 shots.

This was a great game with plenty of momentum swings. It looked like the Winterhawks might go on to win the game in the second period as they led 3-1 early. But entering the third, it was Halifax in front by score of 6-3 thanks to a five-goal middle frame.

All eyes were on Jones, MacKinnon, and Drouin in this game. Jones wasn’t bad and Drouin was Drouin, but MacKinnon really stepped things up.

Also, via Deadspin, this happened tonight.


Halifax, 1-0, take on host Saskatoon, 0-1, on Sunday night.

Elsewhere on Saturday night…
  • The Summerside Western Capitals will play in the RBC Cup final. The Caps advanced to the national championship game with a 3-2 overtime win over the Surrey Eagles. Former Sea Dog Danny Chiasson had a goal for Summerside. The Capitals will play the Brooks Bandits on Sunday night at 7pm in PEI.
  • Alex Grant and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defeated the Providence Bruins 4-0. Grant had one shot and 12 penalty minutes. Former Sea Dogs captain David MacDonald had three shots and a fight for Providence. The Bruins now lead that AHL second-round playoff series 3-2.
  • Tomas Jurco had an assist and three shots in the Grand Rapids Griffins’ 4-1 loss to the Toronto Marlies. The Griffins lead that series 3-2.
  • An awful season of SNL comes to an end.

Friday, May 17, 2013

RBC Cup & AHL Playoff Update

The Summerside Western Capitals can book a trip to the RBC Cup Championship game with a win over the Surrey Eagles in Saturday’s semi-final.

The host Caps, 2-2 in the tournament, face the Eagles, 3-1, on Saturday night in Summerside. The other semi-final features the Minnesota Wilderness and Brooks Bandits. The winners of those games will face each other for a national championship on Sunday.

The only team to be eliminated from the tournament so far is the Truro Bearcats. The Fred Page Cup Champions featured three former Sea Dogs – Grant West, Dylan McGuigan, and David Mosher.

Meanwhile, the Capitals feature three former Dogs as well in Spencer MacDonald, Jason Seed, and Danny Chiasson. Seed has four assists and MacDonald one. Chiasson has three goals and four assists in four games, good for fourth in the tournament point race.

Elsewhere…
  • In the AHL, Tomas Jurco and the Grand Rapids Griffins grabbed a 3-1 series lead over the Toronto Marlies with a 4-1 win on Friday night. Jurco had a goal, and assist, five shots, and a +1 rating in the victory. Game 5 is Saturday night.
  • Alex Grant and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins avoided elimination with a 3-1 win over the Providence Bruins on Friday. The Bruins lead the series 3-1. Grant was a -1 with one shot and two penalty minutes. Game 5 is Saturday.
  • Stephen MacAulay and the Halifax Mooseheads begin their Memorial Cup schedule Saturday night at 8pm against the Portland Winterhawks. Watch it on Sportsnet.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sea Dogs Notebook

CALGARY
Here’s Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi wearing a Sea Dogs jersey because why not.


TWO YEARS AGO
It was two years ago last night that the Sea Dogs won their first President Cup. Alexandre Beauregard scored at 15:45 of double-overtime to give the Dogs a 3-2 victory and 4-2 series win over the Gatineau Olympiques.

In one of the greatest Sea Dogs games ever played, Saint John was down 2-1 late in the third. But at 19:37 and Jacob DeSerres on the bench, a great pass from Stanislav Galiev found Jonathan Huberdeau who tied the match up to send it into OT.

Amazing game. Amazing series.

MACAULAY
Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino has picked former Sea Dog Stephen MacAulay as one of his sleeper picks heading into the Memorial Cup.

“How can a guy who’s played in each of the last four President’s Cup finals be a sleeper,” writes Cosentino. “Easy, he plays with two of the top three draft eligible players in Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon. MacAulay is as dependable as they come. He’s played in two MasterCard Memorial Cups so he won’t be rattled by the big stage. He’s versatile as a winger or centre, and he’s capable of being a difference maker on special teams.”

Halifax plays their first game of the tournament on Saturday night against the Portland Winterhawks. The host Saskatoon Blades face the London Knights in the opener on Friday.

JURCO

“Six months ago Jurco wasn't close to being ready for an NHL call up, but after seeing his impressive progress this season, I wouldn't be surprised if he's near, or at the top of, the call up list for next year,” they write.

The former Sea Dogs forward had 14 goals and 14 assists in 74 AHL games with the Grand Rapids Griffins this season. He also has three goals and two assists in eight playoff games.

The Griffins are up 2-1 in their Western Conference playoff series against the Toronto Marlies thanks to a 5-4 win last night. Jurco had three shots in the game.

Speaking of Jurco, here is the latest Griffins video featuring the Slovak.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Sports Radio Show Debuts Friday

Hello.

Every Friday at 6pm this summer, myself and Sea Dogs communications manager Rob Williams will be hosting a sports talk show on Local 107.3 FM. 3rd Line Grind, a radio program that may or may not change radio forever (it probably won’t), begins this Friday.

The show is an hour in length and will mostly be hockey talk. Friday’s show topics include:
  • Figuring out how to do a radio show
  • Recapping Sea Dogs playoff run and QMJHL post-season
  • ‘The Brawl near Montreal’
  • Previewing the Memorial Cup
  • Other stuff… probably

So beginning this Friday at 6pm, please tune in to Local 107.3 FM in the Saint John area, listen live online at localfm.ca, or check us out on Rogers channel 949 and Aliant 824.

Also, follow us on Twitter @3rdlinegrnd and like us on Facebook to keep up to date on show happenings. 

Sea Dogs Billboards Are No More

SAINT JOHN - If you haven’t noticed, the Sea Dogs championship billboards have been taken down and replaced with new ones (like the one pictured above) which shows Saint John has a vibrant Uptown or something.

SN’s Tim Lumsden has been emailing back and forth with city hall people about the change. The signs, which we are told are not owned by the city, were apparently replaced because they were old and dated which, to be honest, is kind of true. It would still be nice to have something to commemorate the championship(s) in the city other than those street lamp banners on Station St. [EDIT: most of the street banners have disappeared around HS and the LBR]

The 2011 Memorial Cup Champion billboards were up for a couple years. 
A large “2012 President Cup Champions” sticker was added to them last year.

R.I.P. Sea Dogs billboards.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Successful Hip Procedure For Huberdeau

Former Saint John Sea Dogs captain Jonathan Huberdeau had successful hip surgery today. From the Florida Panthers website:

Florida Panthers Executive VP/General Manager Dale Tallon announced that F Jonathan Huberdeau underwent a successful hip procedure today in Nashville. Huberdeau is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the start of 2013 training camp in September.

According to Renaud Lavoie of RDS, “he played all year with that problem.”


Despite the ailment, Huberdeau still had a solid rookie campaign in the NHL and is a finalist for the Calder Trophy. The injury may explain why his production dipped near the end of the lockout shortened season.

With the Panthers missing the playoffs, this will be the longest off-season the 19-year old has had in a few seasons.

*Above image is of the Panthers new scoreboard, featuring Huberdeau and a riveting Panthers-Senators game.

Memorial Cup Begins Friday

The four teams that will play in the 2013 Memorial Cup are set.

The London Knights were the final team to book their ticket. Last night, Bo Horvat scored with 0.1 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Knights a 3-2 victory over the Barrie Colts in Game 7 and their second straight Ontario Hockey League Championship.

London is the only team returning from last year’s tournament that also featured Saint John, Shawinigan, and Edmonton. The Oil Kings made it to the Western Hockey League final but could not repeat.

The Knights are joined by the host Saskatoon Blades, WHL Champion Portland Winterhawks, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Champion Halifax Mooseheads.

The tournament begins on Friday with the Blades taking on the Knights. The Mooseheads play their first game on Saturday as Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin take on Seth Jones and the Winterhawks.

As always, every game of the tournament will be broadcast on Sportsnet.

It was also announced today that London will host the 2014 Memorial Cup, meaning the Knights will play in the tournament for three straight years. London hosted previously in 2005.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Despres And Penguins Moving On

Simon Despres and the Pittsburgh Penguins are moving on.

Brooks Orpik scored in overtime to give the Penguins a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night. The goal also gave Pittsburgh a 4-2 series win, advancing them to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals where they will play the Ottawa Senators.

Despres had 12:59 minutes of ice time in the win, registering one hit, two blocked shots, and a +1 rating. He also came close to accidently slicing Casey Cizikas open. Yikes.


This was the third playoff game Despres has played in this post-season.

Elsewhere on Saturday night…

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sea Dogs Notebook

MOOSEHEADS

If you somehow haven’t heard, the Halifax Mooseheads won their first President Cup last night at the Metro Centre.

The team has a few Sea Dogs connections. Forward Stephen MacAulay won his third President Cup last night after winning it in 2011 and 2012 with Saint John. Moose assistant coach Jim Midgley was one of Jacques Beaulieu’s assistants back in the day. And Bob (Tipper) Leblanc, Halifax’s assistant general manager, is a former Sea Dogs general manager.

Halifax begins the Memorial Cup tournament next Saturday in Saskatoon. They will play either the Portland Winterhawks or the Edmonton Oil Kings.

GAME DAY
Via the Twitter, some significant news regarding the Sea Dogs game day experience.


Ferguson will continue to be manager of corporate sales for the Sea Dogs. He’s had the game day host gig for the past few seasons so it’ll certainly be a change not hearing him at Harbour Station.

So… who replaces him?

McHAPPY DAY
The Sea Dogs took part in McHappy Day once again this year. According to the Sea Dogs website, “president Wayne Long, along with Manager of Sales and Sponsorship Kyle Ferguson and Sea Dogs Foundation Chair Jane Forestell, flipped some burgers and sold some fries (Wednesday) in support of McHappy Day 2013.”

“We always look forward to participating in McHappy Days every year,” said Long. “McDonalds is a great community partner and a great sponsor of ours and we are thrilled to be involved.”

Today's Front Page

Via the awesome Newseum.org, here's the front page of today's Chronicle Herald. Congrats, Moose Country.

Friday, May 10, 2013

MacAulay Wins Another President Cup

Stephen MacAulay has done it again.

The 20-year old forward won his third straight President Cup title on Friday night as he helped the Halifax Mooseheads defeat the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 5-1 at a sold out Metro Centre. The Moose won the series 4-1 and went 16-1 in the post-season en route to their first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Championship.

MacAulay was a big part of tonight’s victory, scoring two goals to go along with three shots and two hits. The former Saint John Sea Dog opened the scoring at 5:32 of the first and ended it at 18:41 of the third with an empty netter.

Tonight was MacAulay’s 75th and final QMJHL playoff game. He helped the Sea Dogs reach the President Cup final each of the past three seasons and won the trophy in 2011 and 2012. It’s been quite a junior career for him to say the least - and it's not over yet.

Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, and Stefan Fournier also scored tonight for Halifax while Valentin Zykov – who else – scored the lone Baie-Comeau goal. Zach Fucale made 34 saves in the win while Philippe Cadorette made 24 in the loss.

Drouin, who had 12 goals and 23 assists in 17 post-season games, was named playoff MVP. Saint John’s Charlie Coyle, who spent much of this season in the NHL, won the award last year.

It’s also worth noting of course that this is the fourth straight year a Maritime based team has won the President Cup after Moncton in 2010 and Saint John in 2011 and 2012. The Mooseheads are the first Maritime based team not in New Brunswick to win.

So, Halifax is now Memorial Cup bound. Their first game will be on Saturday, May 18 against the WHL Champion.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

One Year Ago

One year ago tonight in Rimouski, the Saint John Sea Dogs completed a sweep of the Oceanic to win their second straight President Cup title.

Stanislav Galiev had three goals and two assists in Saint John’s 8-0 victory. Tomas Jurco had two goals and three assists while Zack Phillips, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Danick Gauthier had solo markers. Mathieu Corbeil made 24 saves for the shutout victory.

The win topped off a 16-1 playoff run for the Sea Dogs. Their season would end in the Memorial Cup semi-final.

Some of our posts from a year ago:

What a moment.

Looking at the lineup, only four players - Ian Saab, Pierre Durepos, Maxime Villemaire, and Jason Cameron - played in that game and ended the 2012-13 season with the Dogs (also Sebastien Auger who was backup in this game).

Habs And Wild Eliminated

Charlie Coyle’s first season of pro hockey is over.

Coyle and the Minnesota Wild lost Game 5 of their first-round playoff series tonight, 5-1, to the Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago, who had the best record of any NHL team in the regular season, won the series 4-1.

In Montreal, Gerard Gallant’s first season as assistant coach of the Canadiens came to an end with a 6-1 loss. The Ottawa Senators won the first-round series 4-1.

It was a good season for Gallant and the Habs though as they finished the regular season with the second best record in the Eastern Conference.

Former Sea Dogs goaltender Robert Mayer (pictured) was Montreal’s backup goaltender for this game with Carey Price hurt and Peter Budaj getting the start. Mayer, once again, did not see any game action.

In Pittsburgh, Simon Despres and the Penguins now lead their first-round series against the New York Islanders 3-2 thanks to a 4-0 victory tonight. Game 6 of that series is on Saturday.

Despres finished the game with a +1 rating, one hit, and two blocked shots in 14:10 of ice time. It was the second game he has played in in this series.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mayer Will Be Habs Backup Tonight

Former Saint John Sea Dog Robert Mayer will be the Montreal Canadiens’ backup goaltender tonight as the Habs look to get back into their first-round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators.

Carey Price broke himself in the late stages of Game 4 and will miss the remainder of the series. Peter Budaj will get the start in tonight’s Game 5 while Mayer will be his backup. Ottawa leads the series 3-1 entering tonight’s match at the Bell Centre.

Mayer has been Habs backup before but has yet to play in a NHL game. He spent this season in the American Hockey League with the Hamilton Bulldogs where he recorded a 16-17-3 record to go with a 2.93 goals against average and a 0.908 save percentage.

Mayer, 23, played two seasons with Saint John from 2007-2009.

Other playoff action tonight has Charlie Coyle and the Minnesota Wild trying to avoid elimination. The Chicago Blackhawks lead that series 3-1.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to recover from their Game 4 debacle tonight against the New York Islanders. That series is tied 2-2 and has been awesome to watch. Simon Despres may or may not be playing.

Mooseheads Are A Win Away

The Halifax Mooseheads are a win away from winning their first President Cup title.

The Mooseheads grabbed a 3-1 lead in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship series on Wednesday night with a 7-4 victory over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Halifax lost Game 3, 3-1, on Tuesday night, their first loss of the post-season.

The Drakkar led 2-0 early in the second but Halifax would respond with six goals in the frame to lead 6-3 heading into the third. The final stanza featured some rough stuff as you’d expect because the Drakkar are the Drakkar. Basically every Moose fan with internet access is calling Baie-Comeau “classless.”

Halifax’s big guns came to life on Wednesday with Jonathan Drouin recording a goal and three assists, Nathan MacKinnon a goal and an assist, and Martin Frk two goals and three assists. Trey Lewis, Andrew Ryan, and Konrad Abeltshauser also had goals. Zach Fucale made 39 saves in the win.

Former Sea Dog Stephen MacAulay had two assists, one shot, two penalty minutes, a +1 rating, one hit, and went 1/7 in faceoffs. The 20-year old now has six goals and 12 assists in 15 playoff games.


Samuel Noreau, Petr Straka, Carl Gelinas, and Gabryel Paquin-Boudreau had Drakkar goals. Philippe Cadorette allowed five goals on 16 shots before getting the hook. Francis Desrosiers made nine saves in relief.

So the Mooseheads now have a chance to win the Cup on home ice on Friday night and book a trip to Saskatoon. Should be a good one.

Elsewhere on Wednesday night…

  • In the ECHL, the Cincinnati Cyclones defeated the Reading Royals 3-2 in overtime. The Royals lead the Eastern Conference Final 2-1. Former Sea Dogs defensemen Charles-Olivier Roussel and David MacDonald were held pointless for the Cyclones. Stanislav Galiev did not play for the Royals.
  • In the OHL, the Barrie Colts now lead the OHL Final, 3-1, thanks to a 6-4, Game 4 win tonight. Game 5 is on Friday in London and can be seen on Sportsnet.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sea Dogs Notebook

THE STATION
Harbour Station uploaded this video.


ONE MONTH
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft will be held one month from today in Chicoutimi.

Saint John currently has two first-round picks, including the third overall selection. They’ll also be selecting six times in the first four rounds. Via the French boards, here are all of the Sea Dogs’ picks.

1-1(RIM)-2-3-4-4(HAL)-6(RIM)-7-8-8(GAT)-9-10-11-12-13-14

Should be a fun day.

WIKIPEDIA
The Sea Dogs Wikipedia page was apparently edited in a bad way yesterday. CTV Atlantic had a big story on it.

According to CTV, the page had “an unapproved post exploiting two girls and former members of the team.” Obviously the changes have since been deleted.

“It’s obviously something that anybody can go on there, anybody can post really anything they want and we have zero control over that,” said Sea Dogs president Wayne Long. “It’s one of the prices we pay for being in the public and having the public scrutinize and look at you. We’re obviously disappointed, but again, our organization had nothing to do with it.”

DESPRES
Hockey’s Future has named former Sea Dogs defenseman Simon Despres the Pittsburgh Penguins’ best defensive prospect.

“Possessing a large frame, smooth skating, and strong puck-moving ability, Despres projects as a defenseman who can be used in all situations, and should be able to also chip in offensively,” writes Ian Altenbaugh. “He is a very instinctive player defensively and seems to be able to fill whatever role asked of him.”

This season, Despres played 27 games with the American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins where he recorded four goals and three assists. In 33 games with the NHL’s Penguins he registered two goals and five assists. He has appeared in just one playoff game this year.