Thursday, July 24, 2014

Free Seats For Pre-Season Opener

The Saint John Sea Dogs made a great move today, announcing that fans will be able to attend the team’s pre-season opener on August 15 free of charge.

According to the team, “fans must obtain a ticket for an assigned seat through the Harbour Station Box Office, but the ticket is free. Tickets will be available to season ticket holders beginning Friday, July 25th, and to the general public on Tuesday, August 5th.”

"We think this is perfect way to kick off our tenth-anniversary season," said Shanna Hopkins, Manager of Business Development, in a release. "We want to recognize the contributions our fans have made since the Sea Dogs first hit the ice by giving as many people as possible the opportunity to see the opening game of the preseason."

This should allow some fans who aren’t able to regularly attend games a great chance to see some action. It should also create some much-needed hype and atmosphere for a game that would, under normal circumstances, be scarcely attended.

The Sea Dogs will host the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles that night. It’s also worth noting that the game features at 7pm start time.

Having a free exhibition game has become a popular promotion for many hockey teams over the past few years. It hasn't caught on at the junior level all that much, but maybe that will begin to change.

Saint John will play six pre-season games in total with three of them taking place on Harbour Station ice. The Dogs host the Halifax Mooseheads on August 22 and Charlottetown Islanders on September 5.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Notebook: Mill Rats Staying In Saint John

The Saint John Mill Rats are sticking around.

The team announced at a press conference this afternoon that they will be moving towards a community-owned model, which will keep the basketball squad playing at Harbour Station for at least the next two seasons.

"Members of the Southern New Brunswick basketball community reached out to us to help make sure the team is here for future generations," said Mill Rats President & General Manager Ian McCarthy. "They are assembling an entity that will acquire ownership in the Mill Rats over the coming months."

According to a press release, the group is in formation and seeking additional members.

Tickets to the Saint John Sea Dogs’ pre-season game in Truro are now on sale.

Tickets for the Halifax Mooseheads preseason game versus the Saint John Sea Dogs in Truro are on sale now. The game will take place at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre on Saturday, August 23rd at 7p.m. Tickets are available online at or in person at the R.E.C.C. for $8.50.

According to the Moose site, last year’s contest in Truro featured a packed house of roughly 3,200 fans. The game is a fundraiser for Truro Minor Hockey.

The Score has an article on how Jonathan Drouin hopes to follow in Jonathan Huberdeau’s footsteps.

Like Huberdeau, Drouin was sent back to junior for additional seasoning after being a high NHL draft pick. Huberdeau had 72 points in 37 games in his final full season of junior while Drouin had 108 in 46 games.

Huberdeau, after the lockout ended, won the NHL’s rookie of the year award. Drouin, who is basically a lock to make the Bolts, will look to do the same.

Could Tomas Jurco become a star in the NHL? That’s a question, using advanced statistics, the Red Wings blog Winging it in Motown examined last week.

Jurco played in 36 games with the Red Wings last season, recording eight goals and seven assists.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gerard Gallant In The News

Former Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant appeared on the front page of The Guardian newspaper yesterday.

The full article, which is on Gallant’s career as both a player and a coach, can be read online here. In it, the Florida Panthers bench boss talks a bit about his time in Saint John.

Over at All Habs, writer Sean Garland discusses why the Montreal Canadiens’ biggest loss this off-season may have been Gallant’s departure.

Lastly, the Florida Panthers website has an interview with Gallant. In the video, the Summerside native talks a bit on hiring Mike Kelly as an assistant coach.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Despres Re-Signs With Penguins

Former Sea Dogs defenseman Simon Despres re-signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins today.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed defenseman Simon Despres to a two-year contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford. 
The deal runs through the 2015-16 campaign and has an average annual value of $900,000.

Despres was drafted by the Penguins with the 30th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. The Laval native has appeared in 85 NHL regular season games, recording three goals and 13 assists. He has gone pointless in six post-season games.

Last season, the 2011 QMJHL Defenseman of the Year registered five assists in 34 games with Pittsburgh. In 36 games with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins he registered six goals and 16 assists and another two goals and seven assists in 17 playoff games.

The Penguins organization has seen quite a few changes this off-season and some of them could benefit Despres. From The Score:

With the departures of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen via free agency, Despres is expected to challenge for a regular roster spot come training camp in September, especially given the changing of the guard among the team's coaching staff. 

Despres played in 240 career regular season (25 goals and 109 assists) and 58 post-season games (six goals and 33 assists) with Saint John over four seasons.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Notebook: Eichel Unlikely To Report

The chances of Jack Eichel reporting to the Sea Dogs continue to look very slim.

In an interview with John Moore, Sea Dogs general manager Darrell Young gave everyone an update on Eichel watch.

Eichel, a top prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft, is committed to play at Boston University this fall.

Some positive news regarding Juraj Siska was revealed this week.

Young told the Telegraph-Journal on Tuesday (paywall) that the Slovakian centre recently passed a medical test that would allow him to play professionally in his native land. Young added that the import pick is scheduled to come to Saint John training camp for further medical evaluation.

The 18-year old was chosen by the Sea Dogs with the ninth overall pick in the 2013 CHL Import Draft but did not play last year due to a neck injury.

In his Friday column in the Chronicle Herald, Willy Palov takes a look at the QMJHL’s incoming import class. It’s looking like this is going to be a talented group.

Palov also notes that the Red Line Report lists Sea Dogs defenseman Jakub Zboril, the fifth overall pick in this year’s CHL Import Draft, at No. 32 for the 2015 NHL Draft.

Former Sea Dogs defenseman David Weckworth will play for the Carleton University Ravens this season.

“David’s size and skating ability were evident when we scouted him this season,” Ravens head coach Marty Johnston said in an article on the team’s website. “I think that those skills will help us continue to push the attack from our d-core again this season. After talking to teammates and coaches, we feel that David will be a very positive influence on campus and in the Carleton community.”

Weckworth played with the Sea Dogs the past two seasons. As an overager last season, the Ottawa native registered two goals and 13 assists in 64 games.

The Ravens also feature former Sea Dogs defenseman Jason Seed.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Exhibition Schedule Changed Again

Another game has been added to Saint John’s pre-season schedule.

The Sea Dogs will now play the Halifax Mooseheads on August 23 in Truro. The game was added on following the cancellation of the August 24 exhibition contest between the Sea Dogs and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

Also, the August 16 game between the Sea Dogs and Mooseheads has been moved to the Dartmouth Sportsplex.

Saint John will play six pre-season games – three at home and three on the road. All home games will be played at Harbour Station. Here is the full schedule:

Friday, August 15th - Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at Saint John Sea Dogs, 7 p.m. 
Saturday, August 16th - Saint John Sea Dogs at Halifax Mooseheads, 7 p.m. (Dartmouth Sportsplex) 
Friday, August 22nd - Halifax Mooseheads at Saint John Sea Dogs, 7:30 p.m. 
Saturday, August 23rd - Saint John Sea Dogs at Halifax Mooseheads, 7 p.m. (Rath Eastlink CC-Truro) 
Friday, September 5th - Charlottetown Islanders at Saint John Sea Dogs, 7:30 p.m. 
Saturday, September 6th - Saint John Sea Dogs at Charlottetown Islanders, 7 p.m. (Eastlink Centre)

Exhibition tickets go on sale to season ticket holders on July 25 and the general public on August 5.