Monday, September 18, 2017

Pare, D'Orio reassigned to Saint John

It appears the Saint John Sea Dogs will have their full roster available for Thursday's season opener at Harbour Station.

A day after the Edmonton Oilers reassigned Ostap Safin to Saint John, the Boston Bruins have sent Cedric Pare back to the Sea Dogs and the Pittsburgh Penguins have returned Alex D'Orio to the Port City as well.

All three will likely be available when the Sea Dogs begin regular season play on Thursday night, hosting the Halifax Mooseheads.

Pare was a sixth-round pick of the Bruins in this year's NHL Draft. The 18-year-old will be entering his second full season with the Sea Dogs and will be a much more prominent figure on the team with the departure of so many veterans.

D'Orio recently signed with the Penguins as a free agent after joining the team for development and rookie camps. Like Pare, he'll be entering his second full season in Saint John - but this time as the No. 1 netminder.

Safin, Pare and D'Orio will be the only NHL affiliated players on the Sea Dogs to start the season, which is pretty good considering the amount of roster turnover. The team also features Joe Veleno of course, a likely first round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Oilers return Safin to Saint John

Ostap Safin is Saint John bound.

The Edmonton Oilers announced on Sunday that Safin has been reassigned to his junior club, the Sea Dogs. The Czech forward skated briefly at Harbour Station before departing for Oilers camp but has not seen any game action - regular or preseason - with Saint John.

Safin is expected to make his Sea Dogs debut this Thursday when the team hosts the Halifax Mooseheads to begin the 2017-18 regular season.

The 18-year-old was selected 53rd overall by Saint John in this year's CHL Import Draft. He was also a fourth-round pick of Edmonton in this year's NHL Draft.

Safin will join fellow Czech Radim Salda to make up the Sea Dogs' import duo.

Safin will likely suit up for the Czech Republic at this year's world junior tournament in Buffalo.

The Sea Dogs are still without goaltender Alex D'Orio (Pittsburgh) and forward Cedric Pare (Boston) due to NHL training camps. There's a good chance both will be returned to junior for Thursday's season opener.

Photo: Edmonton Oilers Twitter

Veleno ranked 5th by Bob McKenzie

Saint John Sea Dogs forward Joe Veleno will start the season as the top ranked Canadian player for the 2018 NHL Draft, at least according to TSN's Bob McKenzie.

McKenzie's preseason rankings, which are usually fairly accurate come June, ranks Veleno as the fifth best player for the 2018 draft.

The Sea Dogs forward sits behind Rasmus Dahlin (Sweden), Andrei Svechnikov (Russia), Brady Tkachuk (United States) and Adam Boqvist (Sweden). 

Filip Zadina (seventh), Jared McIsaac (11th) and Benoit-Olivier Groulx (17th), who all play for the Halifax Mooseheads, were the only other QMJHL players to make McKenzie's rankings.
TSN's Craig Button released his latest draft rankings a couple weeks ago, placing Veleno ninth.

"Has great determination and desire to make a difference," Button wrote of Veleno. "His abilities are very good and he makes it hard for opponents to defend him."

Veleno was ranked eighth in The Bloggers' Tribune's September rankings.

Something to prove

By Craig Eagles | Special to SN

What did you do this summer?

Cedric Pare had something to prove.

The Boston Bruins sixth-round selection worked extremely hard over the summer months and is now anxiously awaiting the start of main camp.

“I was in the gym five days a week for two hours, I worked all summer to get ready for my season and Bruins camp,” said Pare.

The Bruins organization keyed in on Pare’s skating as one area that needed to improve.

“They told me to work on my explosiveness, and build strength and that’s what I focused on all summer,” added Pare. “I power skated three times a week, and followed a nutritional plan, that’s helped me a lot this off season,” Pare said.

Pare thoroughly enjoyed the B’s Development Camp in July and credits that experience with added incentive for the off-season.

“I really saw what I need to do to become a professional, from a nutrition plan, stretching, and what I needed to work on and improve during the summer,” explained Pare.

Don Sweeney’s main directive from the beginning of his tenure as GM has been to draft well and develop players. A subtle but key addition to the Bruins organization was Jamie Langenbrunner. The two-time Stanley Cup Champion joined the Bruins organization in September 2015 as the Player Development Coordinator.

“Jamie is a good guy, he knows what all the players need to work on, he’s fun to talk to and knows the game very well,” Pare said. “The Bruins have given me a lot of feedback and they are very close with their players. We have a lot fun with the coaches on and off the ice,” explained Pare.

Pare wants to make a great impression at main camp and to continue to build on the momentum from a great off season and solid performance at Development Camp and Prospects Challenge Tournament this past week.

“I’m expecting a competitive camp with a lot speed. I’m going to play my game and have some fun,” said Pare.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Rogers TV broadcast schedule announced

Rogers TV New Brunswick has unveiled its QMJHL broadcast schedule for the 2017-18 season.

The cable provider's broadcasts will begin this Thursday when the Sea Dogs host the Halifax Mooseheads at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station. It will be the first of 25 Sea Dogs games to air on channel 10 this season. Only six of those games will be broadcast away from Harbour Station.

Here's is the full Sea Dogs broadcast schedule:

Thursday, Sept. 21: Halifax at Saint John
Saturday, Sept. 23: Cape Breton at Saint John
Friday, Sept. 29: Saint John at Moncton
Wednesday, Oct. 4: Bathurst at Saint John
Saturday, Oct. 7: Blainville-Boisbriand at Saint John
Sunday, Oct. 15: Saint John at Moncton
Sunday, Oct. 22: Cape Breton at Saint John
Wednesday, Oct. 25: Saint John at Bathurst
Saturday, Oct. 28: Val-d'Or at Saint John
Sunday, Oct. 29: Rouyn-Noranda at Saint John
Wednesday, Dec. 6: Drummondville at Saint John
Saturday, Dec. 9: Saint John at Bathurst
Sunday, Dec. 10: Gatineau at Saint John
Friday, Dec. 15: Saint John at Moncton
Friday, Jan. 19: Bathurst at Saint John
Saturday, Jan. 20: Quebec at Saint John
Friday, Jan. 26: Saint John at Bathurst
Wednesday, Feb. 7: Cape Breton at Saint John
Friday, Feb. 9: Halifax at Saint John
Saturday, Feb. 10: Shawinigan at Saint John
Wednesday, Feb. 21: Moncton at Saint John
Saturday, March 3: Victoriaville at Saint John
Sunday, March 4: Bathurst at Saint John
Friday, March 9: Bathurst at Saint John
Saturday, March 10: Moncton at Saint John

The Sea Dogs had two preseason games aired this year - one from Bathurst and the other from Fredericton.

Friday, September 15, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 4-3

FINAL: Saint John 3, Halifax 4
HALIFAX - The Saint John Sea Dogs have ended the 2017-18 QMJHL preseason with just one victory.

The Sea Dogs dropped their final exhibition contest on Friday night in Halifax, falling 4-3 at Scotiabank Centre. The loss means Saint John finishes the preseason with a record of 1-6-1-0 with their only victory coming against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan - a game that saw the Sea Dogs dress a stacked lineup compared to the Titan's.

Fortunately for the Sea Dogs, preseason results are ultimately meaningless. At the very least, a lot of Saint John's loses were close. Their final three games were all decided by one goal.

On Friday, Anthony Boucher, Alexandre Lafreniere and William Poirier all scored for Saint John. Joel Goguen made 19 saves in the loss.

Halifax goals came courtesy of Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Filip Zadina, Xavier Parent and Kyle Petten. Alexis Gravel made 39 stops in the loss.

Groulx opened the scoring at 9:05 of the first period. Halifax doubled their lead at 10:47 of the second thanks to Zadina's second of the preseason.

Saint John got on the board at 13:00 of the middle frame when Boucher scored a shorthanded goal. But the Mooseheads would regain their two-goal lead at 19:16 when Parent netted a power play marker.

Lafreniere scored at 8:19 of the third but the momentum was short lived. At 9:18, Petten scored to give the Moose a 4-2 lead.

Poirier scored with 27 seconds remaining in regulation, but the Sea Dogs would get no closer to tying things up.

Saint John outshot Halifax 42-23.

NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs begin regular season play this Thursday at Harbour Station. Game time is 7 p.m. against the Mooseheads.

Preseason Game Day: at Halifax

SAINT JOHN - The preseason comes to an end for the Saint John Sea Dogs tonight in Halifax.

The Sea Dogs and Mooseheads will meet for a rare exhibition tilt at Scotiabank Centre. Game time is 7 p.m.

TV/Radio/Webcast: None/None/None

Records: The Sea Dogs are 1-5-1-0 this preseason while Halifax is 5-3-0-0.

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Moncton Wildcats last night in Fredericton. Kevin Gursoy, Ben Reid and Daniel Hardie all scored for Saint John. Matthew Williams made 38 stops in the loss. The Mooseheads are coming off a 3-2 overtime win over the Wildcats on Sept. 9 in Springhill. Connor Moynihan, Raphael Lavoie and Filip Zadina all scored for Halifax. Blade Mann-Dixon made 35 saves in the win.

Last meeting: Aug. 27 in Quispamsis where the Mooseheads defeated the Sea Dogs 3-2. Justin Barron, Jared McIsaac and Brett Crossley all scored for Halifax. Samuel Leblanc and William Poirier had Saint John goals. Blade Mann-Dixon made 34 saves in the win. Alex D'Orio made 15 saves while Matthew Williams made seven.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 6-2-0-0 against the Mooseheads last season while Halifax went 2-6-0-0 against Saint John.

Notes: Isiah Campbell leads Saint John in scoring with a goal and five points... Ben Reid leads the team in goals with three... Justin Barron, Caleb Rich and Xavier Parent all have six points this preseason for Halifax... Barron, Rich and Gavin Hart each have three goals... Parent has four assists.

Next game: The Sea Dogs begin regular season play this Thursday at Harbour Station, hosting the Mooseheads at 7 p.m.

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 4-3

FINAL: Saint John 3, Moncton 4
FREDERICTON – The Saint John Sea Dogs blew a two-goal third lead in a 4-3 preseason loss to the Moncton Wildcats on Thursday night.

Jeremy McKenna, Julien Tessier, Anderson MacDonald and Jacob Hudson all scored in the third period for Moncton, who trailed 2-0 entering the final frame. Matthew Waite made 27 saves in the win.

Kevin Gursoy, Ben Reid and Daniel Hardie all scored for Saint John. Matthew Williams made 38 stops in the loss.

The Wildcats had quite a few bounces not go their way in the opening 40 minutes, while the Sea Dogs had the good fortune of a few good bounces. Saint John will hopefully be able to hang on to leads in the future - but it'll likely be a struggle at times for the rebuilding squad.

The Sea Dogs got on the board first at 11:50 of the opening stanza. Isiah Campbell made a nice feed to Gursoy who was coming quickly down the wing. Gursoy then ripped a wrist shot from near the side boards and beat Waite glove side, making it 1-0.

The Sea Dogs had a terrific chance to make it 2-0 moments later when Reid and Landon Quinney went in on a two-on-one. Reid ended up with the puck last but had his shot denied by the pad of Waite.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Preseason Game Day: vs Wildcats

FREDERICTON - The Saint John Sea Dogs finally return to action tonight, taking on the Moncton Wildcats at Fredericton's Aitken Centre.

This will be Saint John's first preseason contest since Aug. 27 in Quispamsis. The team will begin the regular season one week from tonight.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Rogers TV/None/None

Records: The Sea Dogs are 1-4-1-0 overall in preseason play this year while the Wildcats are 6-0-2-0.

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Halifax Mooseheads on Aug. 27 at the qplex. Samuel Leblanc and William Poirier scored for Saint John. Alex D'Orio made 15 saves in the loss while Matthew Williams made seven. The Wildcats are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Mooseheads on Sept. 9 in Springhill. Simon Le Coultre and Jacob Hudson scored for Moncton. Matthew Waite made 30 saves in the loss.

Last meeting: Aug. 19 at this year's Rookie Challenge where the Wildcats defeated the Sea Dogs 7-1.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 7-1-0-1 against the Wildcats last season while Moncton went 2-7-0-0 against Saint John.

Notes: Isiah Campbell leads Saint John in preseason scoring with a goal and four points... Cedric Pare, Samuel Leblanc and Ben Reid each have two goals... Jakob Pelletier and Daniil Kuzmin lead the Wildcats in scoring with 10 points each... Pelletier has a team high six goals... Kuzmin has a team high six assists... the Wildcats are the only club without a regulation loss this preseason... this is Saint John's first game at the Aitken Centre since 2006 when they faced the Lewiston Maineiacs.

Next game: The Sea Dogs take on the Mooseheads tomorrow night in Halifax to wrap up preseason play.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

D'Orio signs with Penguins

According to Alex D'Orio, Alex D'Orio has signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Saint John Sea Dogs nerminder tweeted this afternoon that he has signed - presumably a standard entry-level deal - with the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
D'Orio, despite being ranked to be selected by many publications and experts, went unpicked in this year's NHL Draft. The 18-year-old was invited to Penguins development camp over the summer and joined the club again last week for rookie camp.

D'Orio saw playing time this weekend with the Penguins rookie squad at a tournament in Buffalo.

The major reason D'Orio went undrafted was likely due to his limited major junior playing time. He spent his 16-year-old season in midget AAA and was Callum Booth's backup last season. This year, he'll have the No. 1 job.

The Sherbrooke native was selected ninth overall by Saint John in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft.

The Penguins have not released their training camp roster but, with today's news, there's certainly a chance D'Orio will be on that list.

Monday, September 11, 2017

It's September

Did you know that it's September?

Regular season Saint John Sea Dogs hockey finally returns this month after what feels like nearly a full month of training camp (probably because it nearly has been!).

The Sea Dogs will begin regular season play in just over a week on Thursday, Sept. 21 at Harbour Station when they host the very skilled Halifax Mooseheads. Saint John's 2017 President Cup championship banner will be raised to the rafters before the game.

The Dogs and Mooseheads also meet this Friday in Halifax for a preseason game.

Here's a full look at what's on the Sea Dogs' schedule this month:

Thursday, Sept. 14: Preseason vs Moncton (Aitken Centre)
Friday, Sept. 15: Preseason at Halifax (Scotiabank Centre)
Thursday, Sept. 21: vs Halifax (Harbour Station)
Saturday, Sept. 23: vs Cape Breton (Harbour Station)
Thursday, Sept. 28: vs Charlottetown (Harbour Station)
Friday, Sept. 29: at Moncton (Moncton Coliseum)

A few notes on the schedule:

  • The Sea Dogs will play at UNB Fredericton's Aitken Centre for just the second time in team history this week. Their last visit came all the way back in 2006 when they took on the Lewiston Maineiacs in a game that was attended by roughly seven people.
  • Preseason games at Scotiabank Centre are rare.
  • As mentioned in previous posts, there will be plenty of 2018 NHL Draft talent on the ice when the Mooseheads and Sea Dogs meet this season. Veleno, McIsaac, Zadina, etc.
  • The Sea Dogs will play in the final Wildcats home opener to ever take place at the Moncton Coliseum. If you're coming to the game, dress for beach weather.

Meanwhile, the first annual "Sea Dogs Day" will take place this Sunday in King's Square. The fan festival is weather permitting.

Photo: Marc Henwood

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Several Sea Dogs taking part in NHL rookie camps

Several current and former Saint John Sea Dogs are taking part in NHL rookie camps this year.

Most NHL clubs held their rookie camps this past weekend, which included major tournaments in Traverse City, Toronto, Buffalo and Penticton.

Here's a look at all the current/former Sea Dogs taking part in rookie camps:

Boston Bruins - Cedric Pare
Boston Bruins - Jakub Zboril
Calgary Flames - Samuel Dove-McFalls
Carolina Hurricanes - Callum Booth
Carolina Hurricanes - Julien Gauthier
Carolina Hurricanes - Spencer Smallman
Chicago Blackhawks - Matthew Highmore
Chicago Blackhawks - Nathan Noel
Edmonton Oilers - Ostap Safin
Los Angeles Kings - Bokondji Imama
Montreal Canadiens - Simon Bourque
Ottawa Senators - Thomas Chabot
Phoenix Coyotes - Adam Marsh
Pittsburgh Penguins - Alex D'Orio
Tampa Bay Lightning - Mathieu Joseph
Winnipeg Jets - Luke Green

The Bruins and Penguins are playing in a tournament in Buffalo with the Sabres and Devils. In Traverse City, the Red Wings are hosting the Hurricanes, Rangers, Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, Wild, Stars and Blues. The Penticton tournament features the Oilers, Canucks, Flames and Jets. In Toronto, the Senators, Maple Leafs and Canadiens are all playing.

The Florida rookie tournament was cancelled for obvious reasons. The Lightning rookies headed to Nashville to play the Predators rookies as an alternative.

The Kings, meanwhile, will host the Vegas Golden Knights rookies for a pair of games this week. The Coyotes are playing in the Prospect Showcase with the Sharks, Ducks and Avalanche.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Dixon officially named head coach

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs officially named Josh Dixon the team's new head coach on Friday morning.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me,” Dixon said in a press release. “I’m grateful to Mr. McCain, Trevor Georgie and the board of directors for giving me this chance. I’m also grateful to my wife and family for allowing me to pursue my goal and my dream job, and to J.P. Barry and Pat Brisson at CAA for helping prepare me.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the tradition of excellence and empowerment that the Sea Dogs have been known for throughout their history.”

Dixon has spent the past couple years with the CAA sports agency, acting as director of player development.

The Oakville, Ont. native previously spent four seasons with the Western Hockey League's Swift Current Broncos as an associate coach and was an assistant coach with the Regina Pats from 2011-14. He's also worked as an assistant coach at a few Canadian universities.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

REPORT: Dixon to be named new Sea Dogs head coach

Josh Dixon will be named the new head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs, according to reports.

The team announced this afternoon that a press conference would be held on Friday moning at Harbour Station to officially name the club's new bench boss. Since then, media reports have circulated about Dixon's hiring.

Rogers TV's Aaron Kennedy and TVA Sports' Mikael Lalancette are reporting the Dixon news.
As his Elite Prospects page indicates, Dixon has a strong coaching resume, spending a number of years working as an assistant coach at the university level with Carleton, Calgary and Mount Royal. He's also worked as an assistant coach with the WHL's Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos.

According to LinkedIn, Dixon has been working at CAA Sports as the Director of Player Development since July, 2015. It's worth pointing out that Dixon is connected with Sea Dogs president and general manager Trevor Georgie and assistant GM Anthony Stella on LinkedIn.

The Sea Dogs have been without a head coach since Danny Flynn stepped down earlier this summer.

Assuming Jeff Cowan stays on as an assistant coach, the Sea Dogs are still in need of one more assistant coach.

Friday's press conference will be at 9 a.m.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Bourque, Chabot to play in Rookie Tourney

Two former Saint John Sea Dogs will be action next weekend when the 2017 Rookie Tournament begins in Toronto.

Simon Bourque will suit up with the Montreal Canadiens while Thomas Chabot will play with the Ottawa Senators. The two defencemen played together with the Sea Dogs last season but will face off against one other when the Sens and Habs meet on Saturday at Ricoh Coliseum.

There will be plenty of familiar names in action at the tournament, which will also includes Toronto Maple Leafs rookie. The Canadiens' roster can be seen here, Senators' roster here and Maple Leafs' roster here.

Below is the tournament schedule:

Friday, Sept. 8: Montreal vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 9: Ottawa vs. Montreal, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 10: Toronto vs. Ottawa, 4 p.m.

Paul Boutilier, who left the Sea Dogs this off-season to join the AHL's Belleville Senators as an assistant coach, will be an assistant with Ottawa's rookie squad.

Both Bourque and Chabot have a year of junior eligibility remaining. Chabot's time is certainly over, but there is a chance Bourque could be sent back. If sent back to the QMJHL, Bourque will almost certainly be flipped to another team in exchange for draft picks.

In other news, the Habs have given former Sea Dogs defenceman Eric Gelinas an invite to the team's training camp. Gelinas spent last season with the Colorado Avalanche and AHL's San Antonio Rampage.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Sea Dogs reassign six; lose Perry

The Saint John Sea Dogs announced a number of roster moves on Friday, reducing the team's training camp lineup to 24.

C Nicholas Cardone, C Kevin Mason, F Yanik Chagnon, D Zachary Leclerc, D Brendan Sibley and D Ian Smallwood were all reassigned by the team.

Of the six, Smallwood is perhaps the most surprising. The 18-year-old has appeared in 20 games with Saint John over the past couple seasons but, due to recent acquisitions, has slid down the team's depth chart.

Sibley, meanwhile, was the team's top pick in this year's QMJHL Entry Draft. Another year of development will likely be better for the 16-year-old in the long run.

The Sea Dogs also (officially) announced on Friday that defenceman Marcus Tesink has been claimed off waivers from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles while forward Brock Perry has been lost off waivers to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

Perry, 19, had split last season between the OHL's Sarnia Sting and, oddly, the team that claimed him - the Armada.

Saint John's camp roster now consists of two goalies, eight defencemen and 14 forwards.

Saint John continues preseason play on Sept. 14 in Fredericton, hosting the Moncton Wildcats.