Tuesday, July 12, 2011


The team's new nick name "Armada" means "force,
cohesion, union, pooling of forces....like a fleet of ships
ranging in combat"

Meet the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, the QMJHL's newest team.

Last month the Montreal Juniors franchise sold to new owners who relocated the team from Montreal to Blainville-Boisbriand. The group who purchased the team included Quebecor Media (roughly 70%), plus a mix of past and current NHLers (about 30%); Joel Bouchard, Daniel Briere, Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Ian Laperriere.

Joel Bouchard was an assistant coach with the franchise during the past two seasons in between his time as an analyst with RDS. The deal was said to be driven by Bouchard who will also act as the team's President and Governor.

The team will play out the Centre d'Excellence Sports Rousseau which is located in Boisbriand, QC. A couple of years ago Bouchard played a significant role in the construction of the building.

The team's jersey will be predominately black and white along with some dim grey trim. The team's logo will feature a large "A", the first letter in the team name, "Armada". The "A" will be accompanied by a small "BB" which is short for......you guessed it, "Blainville-Boisbriand".

Bouchard and company explained the term "Armada" means; force, cohesion, unity, and the pooling of forces....like a fleet of ships entering combat".

The Armada hit the ice as early as this August 19th, playing in their first pre-season game vs. Drummondville.

Blainville Boisbriand will play a total of 6 pre-season games, including 4 games on home ice. Here's a complete list of the team's pre-season schedule:

1) Fri 2011-08-19 Blainville-Boisbriand BLB @ Drummondville DRU 19:30
2) Sat 2011-08-20 Blainville-Boisbriand BLB @ Gatineau GAT 19:00
3) Sun 2011-08-21 Gatineau GAT @ Blainville-Boisbriand BLB CESR Boisbriand 15:00
4) Sat 2011-08-27 Drummondville DRU @ Blainville-Boisbriand BLB CESR Boisbriand 19:00
5) Thu 2011-09-01 Rouyn-Noranda ROU @ Blainville-Boisbriand BLB CESR Boisbriand 19:00
6) Fri 2011-09-02 Val-d'Or VDO @ Blainville-Boisbriand BLB CESR Boisbriand 19:30

Photo Credit: http://www.lhjmq.qc.ca/


Sunday, July 3, 2011


Kirill Kabanov dominated in the QMJHL
playoffs last season scoring 20 PTS in 15 GP.
Kirill Kabanov is a happy camper. After signing a 3 year entry level contract with the New York Islanders this week he was thrilled and posted the following comments via his Twitter account (@kabanov17):

"Finally....so happy...))  to be part of the Islanders organization"

"Thanks to everyone...)) so excited...))"

"my god. so happy!!!! to be orange and blue and I proud to be part of Islanders organization"

He then went on to attach a picture of his draft day and referred to it as "the best day of my life".

Kabanov was drafted by the New York Islanders in the 3rd round of the 2010 NHL entry draft. For most of the year leading up to that draft he held a top ten position in most draft rankings. But after a rocky year in the headlines Kabanov slipped all the way to number 65 overall. Earlier that year Kabanov left the eventual QMJHL champions in the Moncton Wildcats. He also didn't play with team Russia at the WJHC as expected.

After being traded to the Lewiston MAINEiacs last season Kabanov got his game back on track. During the year he scored 28 points in 37 games. But it was the playoffs where Kabanov really stepped up. He scored 8 goals and added 12 assists for a total of 20 points through 15 games, and played a major part in the Lewiston MAINEiacs upsetting the number 2 ranked Montreal Juniors in round number 2. Lewiston lost to the Saint John Sea Dogs in round 3. The Sea Dogs went on to win the QMJHL title and the Memorial Cup Championship. 

After the playoffs, news broke that the MAINEiacs would fold their franchise and their players would be divided up among the 17 other QMJHL franchises for the follow season. So Kabanov and teammate Jesse Tanguay ended up being selected up by the Montreal Juniors (now to be relocated to Boisbriand, 35 KM north of the city).

In a recent tweet Kabanov wrote, "...probably gonna go to Montreal...))". For the sake of the fans of this franchise, let's hope that happens because Kabanov really would be a joy to watch.

To follow Kirill Kabanov on twitter look up @kabanov17

To follow HockeyPoints on twitter look up @hockeypoints



Ouellet scored 8 goals and added 35 assists for 43 points and 
earned a +27 plus minus rating through 67 games last season.
Xavier Ouellet is one of the newest members of the Detroit Red Wings.

The Montreal Juniors' 17 year old defensemen was selected by Detroit in the second round (48th overall) of the NHL entry draft last weekend in Minnesota.

Picking up Ouellet gives the Wings 3 players who have graduated or currently play in the Montreal Juniors (now Boisbriand) franchise; centerman Louis-Marc Aubry and right winger Trevor Parkes being the other two.

Ouellet is a puck moving defenseman who thrives offensively and is capable of quarterbacking a powerplay. Last season the Juniors often used Ouellet at the top of the powerplay umbrella playing along side Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, defenseman Charles Landry.

Ouellet will need two more years of Junior seasoning for his game to be ready to challenge for a spot at the pro level. Since he's a '93 born kid, he'll play as an 18 year old this year and a 19 year old in 2012-2013. Ouellet will likely challenge for a spot on Canada's 2013 WJHC roster. After his Junior career he'll need at least one season in the AHL to solidify his game and be re-evaluated at the pro level.

Ouellet has a solid work ethic and is stronger than his size may suggests. He's a tough kid too. Not afraid to drop his gloves to defend a teammate Ouellet is often successful at delivering hits to his opponents as they speed down the boards.

Ouellet is projected to be a bottom three defenseman with offensive upside.


Saturday, June 11, 2011


Joel Bouchard and his ownership group are
may be the next owners of the Montreal
Much has developed during the past 4 weeks surrounding the Montreal Juniors franchise. There was some news I learned of today which merrit a report. So here it is:

Pending sale and potential relocation of the franchise:

Accoring to an article posted by RDS, Montreal Juniors owner Farrel Miller has sold the franchise to RDS Analyist / Montreal Juniors Assistant Coach / Ex NHL player Joel Bouchard and his ownership group. The deal is reportedly worth $4 million. The deal has not yet been approved by the league's Board of Govenors. Should the deal be approved, the Bouchard group would re-locate the franchise to Boisbriand, QC, approximately a 40 minute drive from the Verdun Auditorium where the Juniors currently play. An effort would be made to relocate as early as the upcoming 2011-2012 season. Miller bought the franchise back in the spring of 2008 for $3 million. There is no indication of if the team would change it's name or what it would be called however I would expect the new ownership group to re-brand.

Kirill Kabanov:

A couple of weeks ago the Lewiston Maineiacs folded and the Montreal Juniors acquired two of their players from the league wide dispersal draft. Centerman Jess Tanguay and flashy right winger Kirill Kabanov, a highly toughted New York Islanders prospect, were acquired by Montreal. I'm excited to watch Kabanov play next year (hopefully out of the Verdun Auditorium). He has top notch talent and was lights out in the playoffs this spring for Lewiston. Kabanov can dazzle like the best of them and will bring great entertainment value to the fans who watch him play, similar to the way players like Angelo Esposito, Luke Adam, Jake Allen and Louis Leblanc have done over the past 3 seasons.

Roster changes:

Even with the acquisition of Kabanov and Tanguay, the Juniors still have plenty of work to do before next season. With so many veteran players moving on (Leblanc, Parkes, Meilleur, Berube, Chouinard, Gouchie, etc...) and others being traded during the draft last week (Rose & Landry), there are many holes to fill. The biggest question will start with who returns as the overagers. One thing is for sure, this team will be loaded with young players who may or may not be ready for QMJHL action.

More news to come.....


Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The Juniors couldn't beat a younger, less experienced club in the
Lewiston MAINEiacs.
Now that you're all done whipping the tears off your cheeks, let's get started and look at why the Montreal Juniors failed so badly in the playoffs this year.
Some critics have said the Juniors were simply out-coached. Others say the team's best players didn't show up to play. There are those who point to the man between the pipes. While others blame injuries, most notably to star left winger Viktor Hertzberg.

I don't blame any area specifically, but I do consider each of the above reasons for why Montreal fell on their faces so hard and so fast.

A lack of (proper) focus:

Let's start at the top. Coaching. Was it completely the fault of coach Pascal Vincent that his troops lost in round two? Of course not. At least not entirely. Earlier this year Vincent was quoted as saying this was the best team (on paper) he had the pleasure of coaching during his entire 12 years of coaching in the QMJHL. And that's probably true. But as Pascal and company learned the hard way, it's about what you have on paper, but what you have on the ice. And Vincent was a big reason why the product on the ice was never as good as the product he had on paper.

So what could Vincent have done better? Well, from my unprofessional armchair quarterback position, I'll say this; the group lacked both focus and motivation.

Why a lack in focus? All season long the team talked about staying focused, focused about their ultimate goal....winning the Memorial Cup. Wait a minute. Did you say winning the Memorial Cup?!?!? Who cares about the Memorial Cup if you can't even win more than 1 series in your own league! You need to win 4 series just to get a ticket to the Mem Cup, remember??? Point is, it's great to aim high, but in this sport sometimes it's better to follow the good old boring cliche and just; "take it one game at a time". Montreal was caught up in so much hype thinking of what was to come "tomorrow" that they forgot about what they needed to achieve "today".

Why the lack in motivation? I can't really answer that question to be honest, but I do note this. There were players on this team who greatly underperformed this year, for example; Philippe Lefebvre and Charles-Olivier Roussel. Are the players to blame for their sub-par performances? Maybe partially. But in my mind, the coach is also to blame. How was Vincent and his team never able to get a handle on these players. Both were veterans in the league and had already enjoyed greater success elsewhere, Roussel in Shawinigan and Lefebvre in Drummondville. But why not Montreal? Bottom line: Vincent wasn't able to get enough out of two of his top players, nor was he able to get the best out of his team. 

Where were the top players?:

At the forward position, it's not like the Juniors didn't have the offense to beat Lewiston. If you look at the offensive numbers for most players, it becomes clear offense was not the problem. Rather, it was the defensive play of the team that lost the series. To give a few examples; Jeremy Gouchie was a minus -5. Trevor Parkes was a minus -4. Louis Marc Aubry was a minus -3. Extremely uncharacteristic of these veteran players to play so poor defensively.

And where was J-F Berube (more on him later)? I hate hinting blame on a goalie, but common! Look at the numbers. A 3.76 goals against average and a .868 save percentage isn't going to help any team win a series.


Okay. More on Berube. Like I said, I don't like to pick on goalies. But really, much like his peers, Berube was never at his best in this series. But it wasn't so much his numbers that hurt the team. It was more so the timing of certain goals that were surrendered, helping cripple his team in the process. Berube allowed untimely goals in this series that either lost games (in the last minute of play) or that gave Lewiston quick 2 goal leads, earned off quick back to back tallies. Was Berube fighting an injury that hindered his play? We'll never know for sure. But either way, when you only keep your opponent down to 2 goals once in six tries, it's not a good thing.


The Juniors had a few key injuries during the playoffs. None more important that the concussion injury to left winger Viktor Hertzberg. Before the playoffs Hertzberg was playing along side Louis Leblanc and Trevor Parkes. The line was dynamite but unfortunately for Montreal it never saw life in the post-season. Had Hertzberg played he may have been the difference the team needed to win a game or two, which would have changed the series.

The team had a few other injuries. Most notably to rookie forward J-C Laflamme and veteran forward Philippe Fontaine.

Looking back.....

All in all, this team will be remembered as a great team on paper, one that enjoyed a strong regular season but one that could never get it together during the playoffs. It really is too bad. But it is what it is.

Looking forward.....

Get ready for the re-build.

From Langkowi, Malaysia - I'm out!


Monday, April 18, 2011


The Montreal Juniors have been knocked out of the QMJHL playoffs much earlier than expected after loosing to the Lewiston MAINEiacs in 6 games. That's right, in a year where expectations were built up so high, it's now game over for the Juniors.
The series against Lewiston will be remembered as a series where the Juniors just couldn't seem to get their game plan working for them. They were out worked, out skated and out scored by a younger and seemingly more motivated group of MAINEiacs.

To give you a sense of how Montreal never really got things going think about this. In all six games, Montreal either lost, or if they won, they had to do so in overtime. Here's a summary of the final scores throughout the series:

Game 1: Montreal wins 6-5 (OT)
Game 2: Lewiston wins 6-2
Game 3: Lewiston wins 2-1
Game 4: Lewiston wins 4-1
Game 5: Montreal wins 5-4 (OT)
Game 6: Lewiston wins 6-3

Lewiston scored 27 goals which averages 4.5 goals scored per game against Montreal. The Juniors meanwhile only averaged 3 goals scored per game for a sum of 18 goals. Not even close.

In my next blog I'll write more about this series and raise questions about what is to come that must be asked heading into the off-season. in the off-season. That post will be my last before I pull an 8 week disappearing act to re-allocate my energies to other areas of my life.....my upcoming wedding.

Until then.


Friday, April 8, 2011


First off let me start by saying that I feel like a huge slacker these days. Well, not really. In preparation for my fiance's wedding this May, I've been working hard both at the office and during evenings at home with event planning, etc....needless to say, planning this wedding has taken over my life. I'm obviously excited for the big day. But I also can't wait for all the rushing around to be over with! Okay.....back to what matters to my readers. Hockey.

Round 1 is over! The Juniors steam rolled over the Halifax Mooseheads in round #1, winning in four straight games that included two shutouts for goaltender J-F Berube.

Some of the highlights from round one; Louis Leblanc scoring a a goal per game pace (4 goals scored in 4 games played). Jeremy Gouchie's 7 points (2G and 5A) which leads the team in playoff scoring. And how about goaltender J-F Berube? He finished the series with 2 shutouts, a .955 save percentage and a 1.35 GAA.

We can't snub the flashes of excellence we saw from the Halifax side either. Super rookie Martin Frk was a pleasure to watch. He dazzled the Montreal crown with his shifty moves and crafty play. It's amazing to think this kid is only draft eligible in 2012. Should go top-5 or top-10 max. He's definitely one of the best 17 year olds I've ever seen in the Q......imagine the damage he could do if he had real line mates?

My MVP for Montreal in round 1 was team captain Nicolas Chouinard. He was excellent and did everything a team captain needs to do to help his team win hockey games. In game 1 Chouinard led the way offensively, scoring 1 goal and adding 2 assists. He treated every shift like his last, hitting everything that moved. He was named the game's 1st star.
Game 2 wasn't much different. Chouinard scored again and added an assist, giving him a total of 5 points through the first two games of the series, making him Montreal's leading point getter at the time. He was named the game's 2nd star.
When the series shifted to Halifax for rounds 3 and 4 Chouinard didn't register any points but he still finished the series as the team's 2nd leading scoring. Here are the Juniors top 5 scorers after round 1:

1. Jeremy Gouchie (2G, 5A, 7P, +7)
2. Nicolas Chouinard (2G, 3A, 5P, +4)
3. Louis Leblanc (4G, 0A, 4P, +2)
4. 4 players tied at 4 points (Lefebvre, Parkes, Meilleur, Ouellet)

Next up is Lewiston in round #2. Playoff predictions to be released shortly before puck drop.

Photo Credit: Ron Lemish


Friday, March 25, 2011


Yesterday HockeyPoints unveiled our prediction for the Montreal (2) / Halifax (15) series. Today we look at the remaining 7 match ups. Not only have we predicted who will win and in how many games, but we've also explained the main reasons why. Let's start with an easy one:

Saint John (1) vs. Cape Breton (16):

Saint John is coming off one of the best seasons of all time by any QMJHL team. Loaded with plenty of depth throughout their entire lineup the Sea Dogs are blessed with skill, speed and grit. Among others, Jonathan Huberdeau has been on fire all season and will surely take his game to another level this spring as he did last year. Sorry to say, Cape Breton doesn't stand a chance.
Prediction: Saint John Sea Dogs win in 4 games.

Montreal (2) vs. Halifax (15):

See yesterday's entry.
Prediction: Montreal wins in 4 games (currently leading series 1-0).

Quebec (3) vs. Val D'or (14):

Don't be surprised if Val D'or give Quebec a bit of trouble but at the end of the day Quebec will come out on top. Patrick Roy won't let his team loose control of the series to the point where they'd face elimination.
Prediction: Quebec wins in 5 games

Drummondville (4) vs. Chicoutimi (13):

Sean Couturier and company will drive the pace of every game in the series. The Voltigeurs play both an intense and consistently discipline style which will guide them to victory. Chicoutimi's only chance of winning the series is if star rookie goaltender Christopher Gibson stands on his head and steals a bunch of games.....4 to be precise.
Prediction: Drummondville wins in 5 games.

Gatineau (5) vs. Rimouski (12):

Maybe the most underrated team heading into the post season, Gatineau is likely to defeat Rimouski without too much trouble. Goaltender Maxime Clermont will shut the door behind perhaps the league's top blueline group. QMJHL regular season scoring leader P-M Devos will lead the team's offensive drive. Rimouski's only chance is to try and win low scoring games.
Prediction: Gatineau wins in 5 games.

Acadie-Bathurst (6) vs. Victoriaville (11):

While Bathurst is the light favorite heading into this series, watch out for the Tigres of Victoriaville as their team is no walk in the park. They can be as explosive as they are implosive (gulp). If VIC are to upset they'll need Pillip Danault to be at his best. The 17 year old draft eligible prospect has been excellent all year and his game is built for the post-season.
Prediction: Acadie-Bathurst wins in 6 games.

Shawinigan (7) vs. P.E.I. (10):

While most analysts will predict Shawinigan to win this series due in large part to their gritty and physical style of play, watch for P.E.I to try and match that intensity. We may see an upset here. Led by gritty winger and 1st round pick Philippe Paradis the Rocket will not go down without a fight.
Prediction: Shawinigan wins in 6 games.

Lewiston (8) vs. Moncton (9):

Alright. Almost every year there's some kind of upset. This series will be our "upset" pick.....even though the Wildcats are not exactly chopped liver. After winning the Presidents Cup last season and still competitive this year, Moncton will prevail under the leadership of coach Flynn and star defenseman Brandon Gormley. The Pheonix Coyotes 1st rounder in 2010 earned over a point per game this season and is excellent in all facets of the game. Also, mark my words.....Lewiston's penalty issues will be their death in the post-season.
Prediction: Moncton wins in 7 games.

Enjoy the action in round #1!


Thursday, March 24, 2011


17 year old Halifax Mooseheads forward Martin Frk
enjoyed a successful rookie season, finishing the year
with 22 goals and 50 points in 62 games played. Good
enough for 4th place in league wide rookie scoring. 
Today and tomorrow HockeyPoints will release its predictions for which teams will win each series in round #1 of the QMJHL playoffs.

The playoffs kick off tonight with game #1 of the Montreal-Halifax series being played in Montreal. The other series start tomorrow night.

Today we'll start by placing our bets on the Montreal Juniors / Halifax Mooseheads Series:

Montreal is the clear favorite here. Don't make any mistake about that. The Juniors finished the season with 102 points (2nd overall among the QMJHL's 18 teams), which is more than double the 45 points Halifax were able to earn (good enough for 15th overall league-wide).

Offensively, the Juniors have the edge. They scored 263 times this season for an average of  3.86 goals scored per game (4th best in the league). Meanwhile the Mooseheads recorded only 186 goals for an average of 2.73 goals scored per contest (15th best league wide).

Examining the defensive side of the game, the numbers again look to be in Montreal's favor. Montreal allowed only 185 goals against throughout the year for an average of 2.72 goals against per game (ranking 3rd best in the Q). Halifax was scored on 262 times for an average of 3.85 goals against per game (14 best in the Q).

Further, Jean-Francois Berube's goals against average finished the season at 2.60, good enough to rank him 4th best among league goaltenders.

During the season Montreal and Halifax met three times, with Montreal winning each game by scores of 5-3 (in HAL), 5-2 (in MTL) and 2-1 (in MTL).

Overall Outlook:

The Juniors' deep group of veteran player will be too much for the younger Mooseheads players, especially while under the playoff pressure cooker. Even with forwards Viktor Hertzberg and Philippe Fontaine on the IR likely for most of round #1, the Juniors will be too much for Halifax to handle.


Montreal wins in 4 games.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Juniors scoring goal vs. the Halifax Moosehead earlier this season.
The Juniors finished the season with a record of 46 wins, 12 losses, 5 overtime losses and 5 shootout losses, earning themselves 102 points in the Q standings which ranked them 1st overall in the Telus West division and 2nd overall throughout the entire QMJHL standings.

This means Montreal will face the 15th overall ranked Halifax Mooseheads in round one of the playoffs. Halifax finished the season with a record of 20-43-2-3, which landed them in 5th place out of six teams in the Maritime division.

The Halifax franchise is both owned and coached by former Montreal Canadiens star Bobby Smith who took over control of the bench earlier this season.

Halifax is one of four QMJHL teams bidding to host the Memorial Cup in 2012 therefore their team is built to peak next year and not this spring. But that doesn't mean this series will be a walk in the park for Montreal...

The Halifax roster is built with loads of young talent, a group of players highlighted by 17 year old super Czech prospect Martin Frk (that’s right – no vowels in his last name) and 16 year old Luca Ciampini, born in Montreal.

The Mooseheads have 2 NHL affiliated players. Konrad Abeltshauser was drafted in the 6th round (164th overall) of the 2010 draft by the San Jose Sharks and Sawyer Hannay who was drafted in the 7th round (205th overall) of the 2010 draft by the Vancouver Canucks. Both players man the blueline for Halifax.

Game #1 of the best-of-seven series starts this Thursday night in Montreal, with the puck dropping at 7:05pm. Here's a complete list of the series schedule:

Game 1: Thursday March 24th @ 7:05pm ET (in MTL)
Game 2: Friday March 25th @ 7:05pm ET (in MTL)
Game 3: Tuesday March 29th @ 6:00pm ET (in HAL)
Game 4: Wednesday March 30th @ 6:00pm ET (in HAL)
Game 5: Friday April 1st @ 6:00pm ET (in HAL)
Game 6: Sunday April 3rd @ 3:05pm ET (in MTL)
Game 7: Tuesday April 5th @ 7:05pm ET (in MTL)

Note that due to travel time considerations, the Juniors would play game 5 in Halifax (if necessary) and games 6 and 7 would be played in Montreal.

Here's a list of the match ups league wide:

Saint John (1) vs. Cape Breton (16)
Montreal (2) vs. Halifax (15)
Quebec (3) vs. Val D'or (14)
Drummondville (4) vs. Chicoutimi (13)
Gatineau (5) vs. Rimouski (12)
Acadie-Bathurst (6) vs. Victoriaville (11)
Shawinigan (7) vs. P.E.I. (10)
Lewiston (8) vs. Moncton (9)

HockeyPoints will be releasing our Round 1 Playoff Predictions later this week. Last year we predicted 7/8 first round winners correctly and 14/15 winners correctly for the entire playoff bracket. Our mistake? You guessed it! Picking the Juniors in the 1st round. They blew a 3-1 series lead to Gatineau before loosing in double OT of game 7. Wish me luck in going 15 / 15 this year.....but I don't think it'll be easy.

Until the next entry.

Photo Credit: Ron Lemish