Archive for October, 2008

Gelinas Just Focusing on the Game

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 27, 2008 by Nathan Fournier

He’s seventeen, but for Eric Gelinas, he’s one step away from big leagues. The defenseman of the Lewiston Maineiacs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) is eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.  The Draft will be in his hometown of Montreal in June.  “I know it’s my draft year, I’ve been working hard to get ready for this season,” said Gelinas.

Scouting Services have started to rank players for the upcoming Draft.  “I am not thinking about it during the season.  I want to focus on my season and not the scouts.”  His agent is keeping him informed on what NHL executives are thinking. “My agent has told me there’s a chance that I will be drafted.”

NHL teams and hockey fans are able to get to know Gelinas more as he’s a blogger.  Recently The Hockey News, a magazine publication, has asked the second year defenseman to write a blog on their website.  “Garrett (Mason), the guy that works out front (Public Relations & Group Tickets Director), said the Hockey News was looking for someone to make a blog.  He (Garrett Mason) asked if I was interested because it’s my draft year and to get exposure.”  Gelinas has never written a blog before.   “People will know what the Maineiacs are doing and what I am doing.”

It would be special at the Molson Center where his beloved Montreal Canadiens (Who are celebrating their 100-year-anniversary.) play would be special.  “I am pretty excited for sure.  I was pretty lucky, when the junior draft (2007 QMJHL Midget Draft) was held in Drummondville (Quebec),” said Gelinas with a smile on his face.  Drummondville is 75 minutes from Montreal.

How did Eric Gelinas get to this point?  On June 2nd, 2007, he found out where he would continue his dream.  The Lewiston Maineiacs used the 16h overall pick on the Montreal native in the QMJHL Midget Draft.  “My season (Before the Midget Draft) went well and a couple of people told me I had a chance to go high in the draft,” said Gelinas.
Not only was Gelinas leaving his family in Montreal, but he was heading to a new country and a new primary language.

The language barrier wasn’t a problem because he lived in Ottawa where English was spoken.  “I got use to the English fast because I lived in Ontario when I was young,” said Gelinas.

He knew he had to make the move to Lewiston.  “I left the house at sixteen-years-old so it was pretty fast for living on my own. It’s something I wanted to do and it was better for my hockey career.”   With a big life decision to move, no one really second guessed his decision.  “Before the (QMJHL) Draft, my dad told me this is what I wanted to do.”

In his rookie season he had three goals and nineteen assists in 54 games.  He also played in five of the six playoff games for the Maineiacs.  Thru October, 27th he has three goals and six assists in 17 games.

(Nathan also started “The World of Junior Hockey Blog” and is a contributor to the Maine Hockey Journal His email is fourniern@students.nescom.edu.)

Tidbits Around the Q

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2008 by Nathan Fournier

The QMJHL has announced this weeks Telus Players of the Week.  Matthew Pistilli of the Shawinigan Cataractes had six goals and four assists in three games this past week.  His teammate Cedric Lalonde-McNicoll also had a big week.  He also had ten points and was also considered for the award.

So far the Cataractes have scored 78 goals this season which is first in the league.  Out of the contenders, Rimouski has 47 goals scored, Quebec has 48, and Saint John has 44.  You would think the goals would be higher for these teams.  Moncton has 52 goals, Drummondville has 58, Victoriaville also has 58, and Cape Breton has 61 goals.  Offense has proven to win games in the regular season as every team except for Victoriaville is either first or second their division.

In the playoffs, it’s how many you stop that matters.  The Wildcats and the Remparts are leading the way.  Nicola Riopel is not on the same plant as everyone else.   He has a 10-0-1 record with a 1.53 goals against average and a .943 save percentage.  I thought the Remparts would struggle in net but they have only allowed 28 goals in 12 games.  Charles Lavigne is 7-1 with a 2.55 goals against average and a .909 save percentage.  Even Jonathan Roy has been solid.  He’s 4-0 with a 1.75 goals against average and a .941 save percentage.  Which team will keep this pace up?  Which team will fall back down to reality?

Speaking of defense, Simon Lacroix of the Shawinigan Cataractes was named the Defensive Player of the Week.  He had nine points including four goals in three contests.  He also maintained a +4.  Timo Pielmeier his teammate was also considered.

The Drummondville Voltigeurs continue to add talent.  The Gatineau Olympiques sent twenty-year-old defenseman Patrick Prokop to Drummondville.  In return, Gatineau receives a sixth round pick in 2009 and a third round selection in 2010.   Prokop hasn’t played yet this season.

The Saint John Sea Dogs have signed left winger Alexei Dostoinov who was just was released by the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League last week.

Stephen Horyl, Lewiston’s eighth round pick in 2007 has been named to Team Canada East’s roster for the World Junior “A” Challenge that will be held in Camrose, Alberta.  That tournament will be held from November 2nd-November 8th.  He didn’t participate in training camp this year.  With the Truro Bearcats this season, he has nine goals and ten assists.  Pierre-Luc Lacombe is also named to the team.  He was a 2006 12th round selection of the Val d’Or Foreurs.  Jordan Escott a sixth round selection of the Prince Edward Island Rocket was also named to the team.

That’s My Take

(Nathan also started “The World of Junior Hockey Blog” and is a contributor to the Maine Hockey Journal His email is fourniern@students.nescom.edu.)

Thoughts on the Split

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2008 by Nathan Fournier

Facing one of the early surprises this season and getting two points out of the possible four is somewhat satisfying.  I did like what Ed Harding said after the game.  “We aren’t going have a huge celebration.  We are going to face that team on Sunday,” said Harding.  At the same time it was rough to see the team have their early struggles on Sunday.  The team did fight back to get within one.  You have to give them credit to get back into the contest.

Friday night we saw some real nice goals.  The set up between Alex Beaton and Maxime Gratchev for Eric Gelinas’ goal was one of the nicest set-ups I’ve seen.  Credit has to go to Gelinas also for the shot that was also a beauty.  How about Max Gratchev’s shorthanded tally?  When that one found the back of the net, I couldn’t believe it.  That was a seeing eye shot.  The offense was clicking.

Last year I question why Lucas LaBelle was always in the shootout but the kid has some moves.  “People were shocked last year when I picked him but it’s watching them doing their shootouts after practice.  Lucas is pretty crafty, that’s why we send him first,” said Harding.   Lucas LaBelle knew Antoine Tardif from their days in Acadie-Bathurst.  “After every practice we do the same thing in the shootouts.  It’s one of those moves that I always did on the pond back at home,” said Lucas LaBelle.

LaBelle was all over the ice against his former team.  “Both teams were hitting hard, the crowd got into it, we like to feed off the crowd’s momentum,” said LaBelle

Everyone was getting on Peter Delmas for his play after returning from Denver.  Some of the criticism was deserved.  Friday night he was rock solid.  He stopped breakaways at key points of the game.  As the game went on, he was like Boston Red Sox’s pitcher Jon Lester, he just kept getting as the game went on.  The Voltigeurs scored twice on the powerplay but you can’t blame him for those goals.  Harding knew Garrett Clarke’s holding penalty was a penalty.  “Garrett Clarke was holding the kid’s stick.  We know it, we saw it. What I am going to say about it?”  I had a perfect view of the play and I said to myself: “What’s the referee waiting for?”  Clarke’s penalty caused them to go down five on three and Dany Masse scored moments after.

Sunday the only bright other bright spot was some of the young guys stepping up to get the team back into it.  Ed Harding had some interesting points in today’s Sun Journal.

“Steeven Jacques, Dom Savoie and Pier-Oliver Morin really got us going,” Harding said. “They had a few good shifts, and I just kept putting them back out there. The other guys don’t want to play? We’ll play these younger guys.”

It will be interesting to see how much more ice time these guys get the next few games.  Could these kids get more confidence playing in front of the home crowd?

After going to see the Portland Pirates game on Saturday night and seeing physical hockey again.  I was brought back down to earth Sunday when the referees stepped in before Dominic Savoie and Mike Hoffman could dance.  It was disappointing to see the referees step in.  I read our friend Gilles Courteau was in attendance yesterday.

It’s That Time of the Month

It seems we get one juicy rumor a month.  This summer was Garrett Clarke and the start of the season was it Brett Gallant.  Hockey message boards are great to gathering information.  Sometimes someone wants to stir the pot.  This rumor wasn’t necessarily started on a message board but John Moore who does the play by play for the Mooseheads said the Maineiacs were going to be sold on Friday night.  He didn’t say who he heard it from.  Since then Mark Just has comeout and said the team isn’t for sale.  Why would Moore say that a week before the Mooseheads come to town?  Remember last year, the Fog Devils owner said the team wasn’t for sale, within two weeks the team was sold.

That’s My Take

(Nathan also started “The World of Junior Hockey Blog” and is a contributor to the Maine Hockey Journal His email is fourniern@students.nescom.edu.)

Impertinent thoughts on pertinent subjects

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2008 by Mike Haggett

With respect to long time Hockey News columnist Stan Fischler…

Tom Michalik’s departure by the MAINEiacs this week comes as really no suprise, but what was a little surprising was the public statement issued by GM & Head Coach Ed Harding. “It really was a competition between our 8 defensemen. When you have a 20 year old who gets paid a high salary, that player needs to be in the top 4. In the end, it was a business decision.” Harding said via a MAINEiacs press release.  A business decision?  Really?

A hockey decision I can see and agree with completely. When a team has a younger player or players that play a more solid all around game than their elders, they most certainly deserve a spot in the line up. Not only do they deserve to play, but they deserve the minutes for the efforts and work ethic they exhibit during practice and in game situations. Age or years of service shouldn’t play a factor of whether or not a player sees the ice. Looking at it from that standpoint, Michalik’s spot in the line up was taking away from the development of Dany Coulombe who shows more potential upside at the age of 17 than what Michalik was displaying on the ice this season as a 20. It’s really just that simple.

Dollars and cents for player contracts in the Q really just mean spending money when it is all said and done. The league mandated salary for overage players is around $500 a week. For Harding to call the decision to release Michalik based on business is a little silly. In the end, what Michalik brought to the table just couldn’t justify his existence on the team as a 20, and in fairness to Harding, he gave him plenty of opportunities to make his case.

I’d like to wish the best of luck to Tom and his family. While in some cases it is sad that it had to end this way, where one door closes, another opens and better things await for the young man down the road. Thanks to Tom for his contribution in the championship run, and for doing the best he could. In the end, that is all that can be asked for.

Danick Paquette’s scrap Friday night with Cape Breton’s Mathieu Brodeur was of little surprise, and has to be a cause for concern here moving forward. Justified or not, getting into a battle in the first period while behind 2-0 really wasn’t the smartest decision to make for the 18 year old captain. There again it exposes an achillies heel for the MAINEiacs from the void of the departure of Brett Gallant and the lack of a suitable replacement.

In fairness to Paquette, he’s got to stand up for himself and not be a pushover, but needs to look at the clock and the situation. This incident exposes a fine line that luckily wasn’t crossed this time as Paquette and Brodeur were willing combatants and there was no fines or suspensions levied in the altercation. Looking at Rimouski’s Patrice Cormier who was just suspended by the league two games for taking a simple swipe at a Baie-Comeau Drakkar player last Saturday, one wonders when, not if, the MAINEiacs will be paying out fines and dealing with the loss of the team captain from the line up for an emotional lapse in judgement. Lewiston is a much better team with Paquette in the line up. Paquette can score goals while out on the ice and be an active contributor to the score sheet and in winning games. One feat in the game of hockey that has yet to be accomplished is that of scoring legitimate goals from the penalty box and/or the stands.

With Drummondville on tap for a pair this weekend in an home / at home series, the agitation brought forth by the gritty Voltigeurs will be on full display to get Paquette into trouble. The question will be who will step up in the MAINEiacs line up to deflect some of the attention away from Paquette, and if Danick will be able to remain cool under pressure. This is going to be tough to watch this season unless either Danick skates away from trouble, or Harding finds that player that can protect him as well as finding another way to contribute to the team on a nightly basis. Wins and losses depend on it at this point, and the MAINEiacs have a better chance of winning night after night if Paquette stays on the ice for the presenting of the three stars.

Looking ahead to next week, the MAINEiacs have announced plans for the 2nd annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night on Saturday, October 18 against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The organization will be honoring those who have won, lost, or are battling breast cancer.

Death rates from breast cancer have been declining steadily since 1990, but it remains the second leading cause of death in women. The Lewiston MAINEiacs will be doing their part to help find a cure by auctioning off a one of a kind team signed goalie mask. The goalie mask, designed by Tim Lafrance of East Coast Sign and Design, will be worn by MAINEiacs’ goaltender Peter Delmas during warm-ups and then awarded to the highest bidder in a silent auction during the game.

Other fundraising initiatives to take place during the game will include the MAINEiacs Chuck-A-Puck and Liberty Mutual 50/50 raffle. In addition to the goalie mask, the MAINEiacs will be using custom pink hockey sticks throughout the game. Fans can purchase raffle tickets to win one of the 20 sticks up for the drawing. Also, donations can be made at the MAINEiacs Fan Shop to hang a pink ribbon at the store front. All proceeds from the many fundraising opportunities will go to the American Cancer Society in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.

In honor of the fight against breast cancer, MAINEiacs staff and coaches will be wearing pink lapel ribbons for Saturday’s game and the MAINEiacs players will be wearing pink ribbon stickers on their helmets.

To purchase tickets to this special game, contact my good friend Rita Renaud of the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” team. A portion of the ticket proceeds will go to support the American Cancer Society. She can be reached via email at rjrenaud@midcoasthealth.com or by telephone at Mid-Coast Hospital in Brunswick (207) 373-6540.

offthepost@lewistonhockey.com

What’s Happening?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2008 by Nathan Fournier

(This was written before the win over the Mooseheads.)

Where do you want to start, Lewiston playing shorthanded for most of the game? What about Peter Delmas struggling?  How about Cape Breton’s explosive offense?

The biggest Achilles heel for the Lewiston Maineiacs so far this season has been the lack of discipline on the ice.  It starts with the captains.  It doesn’t help when your leader is back in the locker room before the first period has ended.  I don’t want him to play less physical but he can’t force someone into a fight.  This team needs him to put the puck in the net.

Michael Ward and Patrick Cusack needs to settle down because they are more valueable on the ice then off.  I don’t know what exactly happened to Cusack to warrant that penalty on Saturday night but the entire lost their cool.  It started with Ed Harding yelling at the referees.  That affected the team because LaBelle lost his cool when he got his penalty.

Last night we saw Garrett Clarke’s mean side to him.  He brought energy to the team.  He did the right thing when he got into it with Jan Piskacek the fist time by skating away.  The second time the two met, he let his emotions get the best of him.  Denis Reul did the smart thing by calming Clarke down when he (Clarke) went to the box.  Hopefully Clarke has learned his lesson.

I expected for Peter Delmas to struggle when he came back to the QMJHL because just faced NHL caliber talent.  He has been overcompensating and he still thinks he’s at NHL camp.  Jonathan Bernier struggled last year for a few weeks after coming from Los Angeles.    One thing I have notice with Delmas he’s giving up juicy rebounds and the opponents are cashing in.   Most of those rebounds happen when the team is on the penalty kill.  I want to look on the bright side and just give him more time.

Everyone who follows this league on a daily basis knew how good Olivier Roy is.  Coming into the season, I thought he would have to steal a few games for the Screaming Eagles.  This weekend, Cape Breton proved me wrong.  They have great offensive depth and it could get stronger because Joey Haddad could comeback.  He’s with the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins right now.  If he does comeback we could be talking about the Screaming Eagles as one of the other QMJHL Team in the Memorial Cup.

That’s My Take

(Nathan also started “The World of Junior Hockey Blog” and is a contributor to the Maine Hockey Journal His email is fourniern@students.nescom.edu.)

QMJHL News

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2008 by Nathan Fournier

The QMJHL is dominating the top half of the CHL Mosaik MasterCard Top 10 rankings with the Moncton Wildcats and the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles ranked 2nd and 3rd respectfully.  What’s so interesting is no one really gave anyone in the Atlantic Division a chance this year except for the Saint John Sea Dogs.  Cape Breton didn’t have their A game on Friday when I tuned into the game before the Maineiacs started.

Another team that I questioned, the Drummondville Voltigeurs, is ranked 7th.  Shawinigan is hanging in the Top Ten at the 10th slot.  I wouldn’t put too much stock into these ranking right now.  In a week or two, these ranking will have some stock as everybody will be back from NHL camps.  They should start releasing these rankings until late October for this very reason.

The QMJHL released the September Players of the Month.  The Offensive Player of the Month went to Samson Mahbod who had six goals and seven assists in six games.  No question about it.  He has found his scoring touch as a 19-year-old.  He put numbers up in Junior A and it has finally translated to the QMJHL game.

Another Drummondville Voltigeuer, Dmitry Kulikov, has won the Rookie of the Month award.  The defenseman had two goals and six assists.  He will be eligible for the NHL Draft next summer.  If he keeps this pace up, he could sneak into the first round of the NHL Draft.  These two players are a big part of Drummondville’s success.

Nicola Riopel was the Defensive Player of the Month.  The Maineiacs saw first hand how good he has been so far this season.  If Robert Mayer was able to sign a free agent contract, Riopel should be getting some offers soon.

The Rouyn-Noranada Huskies and the Prince Edward Island Rocket completed a deal today.  The Huskies got veteran goaltender Antoine Lafluer for an eighth round draft pick in next year’s Midget Draft.  Last year was a struggle for Lafluer after being a high draft pick of the New York Rangers.  What a pick up he would be if he can turn it around this season.

Travis Stacey of the Gatineau Olympiques has been suspended three games for throwing a punch in the final five minutes of the game against Montreal Sunday.

That’s My Take

(Nathan also started “The World of Junior Hockey Blog” and is a contributor to the Maine Hockey Journal His email is fourniern@students.nescom.edu.)