Archive for January, 2009

The Goal

Posted in Uncategorized on January 26, 2009 by Nathan Fournier

With the recent rumors of this team, Danick Paquette was able to generate another topic around the water cooler. His shootout winning goal was the “Youtube Goal” that the NHL was looking for during the “Breakaway Challenge” on Saturday night.

He has no fear and that’s what I like about him. When he was asked if he would use that move if the team was down 1-0, he didn’t even have to think about it.

“Oh yeah, I would do the same move,” Paquette said. “I don’t put pressured on me, I go there and have fun and try to score for the win.”

“After practice we practice shootouts. I practiced this move a lot,” Paquette says.

I asked Head Coach Don MacAdam if he has seen Paquette pull that move off.

“No,” laughed Lewiston’s Head Coach Don MacAdam. “What a great goal.”

Okay, coach is still new so Peter Delmas should know if Paquette has used that move, right?

No, I don’t think so, said Peter Delmas if he was asked if he seen the move. “Well he’s lying.” Delmas was glad to see the team get the win.

MacAdam gives credit to Paquette’s skill on that move. “This is a skill league at time and we have a skill player like Danick and and a skill player like Max and they are capable in doing those things,” MacAdam said after the game.

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.)

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Bernier to LA

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 19, 2009 by Nathan Fournier

Press Release

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have recalled goaltender Jonathan Bernier (emergency recall) from the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League (AHL) and assigned forward Teddy Purcell to the Monarchs, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced Sunday.

The Kings recalled Bernier after learning that goaltender Erik Ersberg sustained a lower body injury in the Kings game at Dallas on Saturday. Ersberg’s injury is considered day-to-day.

Bernier, 20, has not appeared in a regular season game with the Kings this season. The 6-0, 185-pounder from Laval, Quebec, has a record of 10-12-3, one shutout, a goals-against-average of 2.79 and a save-percentage of .897 in 25 games with the Monarchs this season.

The Kings selected Bernier in the first-round (11th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, and he played in four games with the Kings during the 2007-08 season. Bernier, who won his NHL/Kings debut by backstopping the Kings to a victory vs. the Ducks in London, England, on Sept. 29, 2007, has a career record of 1-3-0, a goals-against-average of 4.03 and a save-percentage of .864 in his four career NHL/Kings appearances. In addition, Bernier won a gold medal as a member of Team Canada at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championships.

It’s nice to see Bernier to get his chance again at the NHL level. Hopefully he will get a start or two before Ersberg gets back. From Rich Hammond’s Blog:

-Jonathan Quick will start in goal tomorrow, and Terry Murray is inclined to also have Quick start Wednesday’s game at Colorado. The plan had been to have Quick and Erik Ersberg split the games, but obviously Ersberg is hurt and out until after the all-star break, at least.

That’s not a great sign for Bernier and me. I picked up Bernier in my fantasy league hoping he would get a start this week.

Could we see him this up coming weekend in Montreal at the All-Star festivities? Ersberg is suppose to be the goaltender for the Young Stars game Saturday for the sophomores. It’s unlikely to happen but its wishful thinking on my part.

Maybe the Canadiens’ fans will stuff the ballot boxes for Jaroslav Halak who’s in the his third NHL Season. He’s ineligible but who thought Alexei Kovalev be a starter over Alexander Ovechkin? I could see former Cape Breton Screaming Eagles goalie Ondrej Pavalec be Ersberg’s replacement.

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.)

The MacAdam Era Begins

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 16, 2009 by Mike Haggett

The Lewiston MAINEiacs under new Head Coach Don MacAdam start the rest of the 2008-09 campaign tonight in the heart of the Abitibi Region in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. While the team awoke to a temperature of -35 F this morning in the city that the Huskies call home, the spirit of the MAINEiacs is much warmer than it has been in some time.

It’s a time to start over.

In discussions with several who are near or intimately involved in the organization, the whole tone has changed. There is solid hope here, not only to salvage a season, but to re-establish and straighten out careers. Pratices have been spirited, players are smiling, and the stress level has decreased considerably. For a club with a 14-32 record, there is nothing left to lose at this point… and everything to gain.

Twenty-two games remain in the season. For some players who have had less than desirable seasons to this point, that is plenty of time to turn it around. It’s a clean slate, a time for players to audition themselves in front of MacAdam. Errors of the past mean nothing at this point, where as attutide and work ethic moving forward means everything.  Where some players were handcuffed in the previous coach’s systems could rise to the top now and light the lamp with earnest. Where one player acted indiciplined and selfish could be the best team guy from here on out. Take all previous thoughts of the players and erase them from your mind. Give it ten games or so and watch a new team emerge before passing judgement

As been seen in MAINEiacs teams of the past, this is the time of year traditionally where the club gets fired up, and the stage is set for that to happen. A new coach, a more relaxed environment, nothing left to play for but pride, going up against teams down the stretch that have a lot riding the rest of the way.

I said it at the begining of the year, I’ll say it again. This team talent wise can match up against any of the clubs in the league. Forget the 14-32 record. The record that is most important is the one that starts tonight in Rouyn-Noranda. The Huskies have just unloaded their top veterans in the winter trade period despite leading the Telus West Division, and it makes them an opponent ripe for the MAINEiacs to pick. Val-d’Or is the next stop on Saturday, and the Foreurs have unloaded as well. It is totally conceivable that the team bus could roll into the Androscoggin Bank Colisee Sunday morning and the team has a two game winning streak heading into a 5 game homestand.

The time for negativity is over for now. It’s time to rally around the team and get ready for the most exciting hockey of the season. Enjoy it.

Mike Haggett

offthepost@lewistonhockey.com

MAINEiacs Change The Top

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2009 by Mike Haggett

It was 5:30 pm Monday afternoon. I was sitting down to dinner with my wife and daughters when my cell phone rings. “Ed Harding was just fired” was the words out of the caller. Needless to say I abruptly excused myself from the table to get more information. At the end of the call, I realized that life was not going to be normal for a few days as others have called to talk about the change starting almost immediately after I ended the call. News spreads fast around town, and this news was too hot not to talk about. The emotion displayed to me by some was pretty incredible.

I want to be right out front with my comments here and say that Ed Harding is a very good hockey man. He didn’t work his way into the situation he did for nothing. I praised the man for the trades he worked at the draft in Sydney last June. Any general  manager who walks out of the first round with two of the best players (Garrett Clarke, Michael Chaput) and the best 17 year old available (Etienne Brodeur) certainly deserves a solid pat on the back. The deal that sent Kevin Marshall to the Quebec Remparts will go down as the trade that started the run for the next championship, and Harding deserves full credit for that. His last significant deal that sent Michael Ward to Cape Breton for Samuel Finn puzzled me a little thinking Harding could have got a little more from Screaming Eagles GM Mario Durocher out of that, in the design of an additional top-5 round pick other than the 5th rounder in 2010. Outside of that, Harding the GM really did a solid job in doing what needed to be done. While some have voiced frustration that Danick Paquette and Peter Delmas weren’t dealt, I will politely remind those that 18 year olds are worth more as 19 year olds, especially good ones. Harding was right in holding onto both as year is everything in junior hockey.

As a coach, the record stands for itself. Despite having great young talent to work with, it appeared at the onset of the season that the talent was handcuffed from the start in a defensive system that was better used with the talent in 2004-05 than 2008-09. Perhaps even Harding underestimated just how good the young horses he had in the stable. The bottom line is that the players just weren’t buying into what he was selling them. The last 11 games have been very trying on everyone in the organization and the Nation as no one likes to see long losing streaks, unless you are the Rimouski Oceanic tanking out to select Sidney Crosby with the top pick in the draft. You can’t fire 22 players as easily as you can the man at the top.

Long before the dismissal of Harding word was around of how players were frustrated with the way they were being treated for various reasons. The telling quote of the situation by MAINEiacs President & Governor Matt McKnight that was printed in Lewiston Sun Journal in a column by Justin Pelletier was this: “It’s about looking into the players’ eyes. A change needed to happen. It appeared that the players didn’t seem to have any fun coming to the rink anymore.” At the junior level, this is more fun for the players than it is a business for 95% of them, and it has to be presented that way. Enough said.

In comes Don MacAdam of whom brings in a tidal wave of low expectations and a ‘show me what you can do’ attitude to loosen up not only the players but the entire organization. MacAdam has already brought smiles and humor back to the forefront, and ‘fun’ will certainly be an adjective that will get more use. For a team that is 14-32, ‘fun’ is all it is about at this stage, and try to assemble some wins down the stretch.

It was announced that MacAdam would coach the remainder of the year and then re-evaluate the future after the season was over, and that is the fair way to approach the situation. Coaching changes in mid-season aren’t the most graceful positions to be in. Regardless of the reasons that the previous coach that was fired, there is a learning curve in this case for MacAdam to get to know the players, the organization, as well as the fans to make that determination of a longer term deal. It’s important for the organization to see results from MacAdam and see that he would be a good fit for the future plans. In this case of the state of the club, taking time and evaluating itself without haste is the right way to proceed. Rest assured that come draft day in June, this club will have a GM and head coach in place at the draft table.

As for the team, all the players are now starting with a clean slate. With a different man at the helm who is a tried and true teaching coach, the way one player has been playing could be a totally different player come March. It’s time to wipe our own slates in ourminds of what players used to play like and give it a few games to watch the new systems emerge.

Sit back, fire up the webcast this weekend or get over to the Flagship Cinema in Auburn and watch the hometown boys turn it around. ‘Fun’ is back, and so am I.

offthepost@lewistonhockey.com

Ed Harding relieved from his duties

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2009 by Nathan Fournier

Press Release

Lewiston, ME – The Lewiston MAINEiacs have relieved Head Coach & General Manager Ed Harding of his duties effective immediately. Lewiston MAINEiacs owner & CEO Mark Just arrived this afternoon to make the announcement.

I was surprised and not surprised at the same time.

I am surprised that Mr. Just made the move right now. If there was a coaching change, it would of came after the season was over. I thought he would give Harding a chance to show that this team could compete. This team has competed the last ten games. They only have lost by three goals once in that span. It has been either an one or two goals.

Maybe Mr. Just wanted to see some moves at the deadline? Yes, Samuel Finn is a nice addition but I thought another move would of been made for the future. Last year Harding should of made some moves. I think how much Jonathan Bernier, Stefano Giliati, or Stefan Chaput could of brought to the team. If Eric Castonguay or David Perron were here, it would of been a different story.

Harding did lay a foundation for the team with the selection of Garrett Clarke, Michael Chaput, and Etienne Brodeur. Zach Phillips the second round pick, by all accounts will be top six forward if he decides to come to the QMJHL. Zach Shannon the team’s third round pick will be a solid defenseman. Travis Moore, the fourth round selection, has 12 goals and 17 assists in 34 games with the Truro Bearcats of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League.

Eric Gelinas will be here for another two seasons. He will be participating in the in the CHL Top Prospects games on Wednesday. The game will be at 7pm and can be seen on the NHL Network. As mentioned above, Sam Finn will also be here for the next two years.

As the team goes forward this season, it should build a foundation for next season. As long as they brining 110% night in and night out that’s all you can ask for.

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.)

Fire Sale in Saint John

Posted in Uncategorized on January 8, 2009 by Nathan Fournier

Alex Grant
Christopher DiDomenico
Alexi Dostoinov
Pascal Amyot
Kevin Guérette-Charland

You could make the case that these four players are probably Saint John’s best players. Alex Grant was traded to the Shawinigan Cataractes. Christopher DiDomenico was sent to the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Pascal Amyot was sent to Halifax. You might be saying who is Alexi Dostoinov? He was brought in after the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League cut him. He has 5 goals and 16 assists in the 26 games. Kevin Guérette-Charland was dealt to the Val d’Or Foreurs today.

You can say they had the best defensive core in the league. In addition to Grant and Amyot; they have Simon Despres who could be a first round selection in the NHL Draft. Yann Sauve is a second rounder of the Vancouver Canucks. David Stitch played for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championships.

“In my mind I thought Saint John had to make one move and they would be really strong,” said Maineiacs General Manager and Head Coach after the 5-4 victory over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.

I have to agree here. With the defense they had, they needed a goalscorer to be in that elite group. This team has been building up to this point. Finally when they get a contender, they have a fire sale.

It’s interesting to note that the Sea Dogs did what some people thought the Maineiacs would do last year. With the Memorial Cup bid in place most thought they would trade Jonathan Bernier, Stefan Chaput, and Stefano Giliati to get better for this season.

Saint John looks like to be the front runner for the 2012 Memorial Cup. They have acquired a 1st in 2009, 1st in the Import Draft in 2009, 1st in 2010, two 2nd’s in 2009, 3rd in 2009, 4th in 2010, 5th in 2010, Simon Giroux (7-6-92), Mathieu Gingras (3-22-91), and Danick Gauthier (10-24-91).

The Androscoggin Bank Colisee hasn’t been kind too the visitors the last two games. Not only did some of the members of the Saint John Sea Dogs play there last Sea Dogs game on Sunday. Two Baie-Comeau Drakkar players were traded today. Marco Cousineau was traded to the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Maxime Ouimet was traded to Rimouski.

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.)

More Moves

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2009 by Nathan Fournier

Last Tuesday night after the Gatineau Olympiques game, Ed Harding wouldn’t tip Justin Pelletier and I off if a move was imminent.  News came out Friday that the Lewiston Maineiacs have signed Adrien Lemay a goaltender from the Nipawin Hawks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL).

His stats were 13-11 with a 3.44 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.  From my quick math, he appeared in 28 games (4 games he didn’t record a decision) and has seen an average of 33.9 shots a night.

He looked pretty decent on Saturday night.  He made key saves in the first period and kept the team in it.  The fourth goal was soft but that was the only mistake he made.

Before yesterday’s game, Saint John radio announcer mentioned a trade would come down today in Rimouski.  He was right as they traded defenseman Alexandre Néron to the Rimouski Oceanic for a 2009 1st round pick.  They also picked up blueliner Jason Demers from the Victoriaville Tigres.

The biggest move of the day has been the Shawinigan Cataractes picking up Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Alex Grant.  In return the Sea Dogs picked up Danick Gauthier, a 2nd round pick in 2009, and a 1st round pick in 2010.

He was the first ever selection of the Sea Dogs in 2005.  It’s a great pick up for the Cataractes.  Now what dos Drummondville Voltigeurs do to respond?  Both teams are battling it out for the Telus  Central Divisional Crown.  Shawinigan has 66 points and Drummondville has 65 points.

As I just posted this the Sea Dogs traded defenseman Pascal Amyot and their 1st round Import Draft to the Halifax Mooseheads for Halifax’s 1st pick in the Import Draft in 2009 and a 4th round selection in 2010.

3:30pm: The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies trade to the Rimouski Océanic Marc-André Bourdon, Matthew Dopud and Justin MacNaughton.

In return, the Rimouski Océanic trades to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies the 1st round pick (acquired from Québec) of 2009, their 2nd round pick of 2009, the 3rd round pick (acquired from Québec) of 2009, their 7th round pick of 2009, their 1st round pick of 2010 and their 4th round pick of the 2010 entry draft.

The Acadie-Bathurst Titan trades to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles  Brad Tesink.

In return, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles trade to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan Olivier Dame-Malka.

Two Additions

The Maineiacs will get two blueliners back as Denis Reul is returning from the World Junior Championships in Ottawa. Garrett Clarke is returning from the World Under-17 Challenge that was held in British Columbia. Both players will be flying in tomorrow (Monday). Ed Harding is unsure if they will be in the line up on Tuesday night. “Garrett has a little longer haul back then Denis but we will see what kind of shape they are in.”

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.)