Thursday, December 30, 2010


Janos Hari was born in Budapest Hungary
but moved  to Sweden to focus on hockey.

This week I had an opportunity to chat with Montreal Juniors left winger Janos Hari. Born in Budapest Hungary and growing up in Sweden, Hari talks about the early days in his career, his move to Montreal and his style of play.

Hockey Points: Talk about how you started playing hockey when you were younger, specifically when you were living in Hungary.

Janos Hari: My Dad took me to skate when I was around 5 years old. And that was it. From my first time on skates I just wanted to play hockey.

Hockey Points: Did you skate playing hockey on outdoor hockey rinks similar to many kids in Canada?

Janos Hari: First I actually started skating in a shopping center on a small rink. I had practices there for a while and then, later on I began to practice on outdoor rinks. There weren’t a lot of indoor rinks in Hungary during the time I was growing up.

Hockey Points: At what point did you realize you were a talented player?

Janos Hari: Ohh I don’t know. One year I scored about 20 goals in 15 games or something like that and I think it’s still some kind of record there. So I guess that’s when I knew I wanted to play a lot of hockey.

Hockey Points: You and your family moved to Sweden so you could focus on your hockey development. Talk about how you transitioned from Hungary to Sweden.

Janos Hari: Well my team in Hungary would play in tournaments in other countries. When I was 11 years old we went to a tournament in Sweden and did really good so they (one of the Swedish teams) invited me to a couple of practices. The next year we went back to the same tournament and I led the tournament in scoring by about ten points more than the next guy. One of the Swedish team’s asked if I would be interested to join their team for the following season. Me and my Dad moved there when I was 12 years old and the rest of my family came over the year after.

Hockey Points: Janos, it’s becoming more and more known that your nickname is “rat”. How did you earn this nickname?

Janos Hari: Well it comes from Sweden. My team always called each other stuff for fun and I guess that name always stuck with me because of the style I used to play back then.

Hockey Points: Describe that style.

Janos Hari: I guess I played good and I was able to get in everybody’s face. I was known for talking on the ice to the other team and sometimes playing dirty with spears and stuff like that. I hope to show Montreal more of my style this season.

Hockey Points: If you had to compare your style of game to an NHL player, who would that be?

Janos Hari: Patrick Kane I would say.

Hockey Points: Do you enjoy living in Montreal, how are things going with your billet and what do you do to relax during your down time?

Janos Hari: I like this city and my billet is great. Everything is going very well with my billet and they’re very nice with me. I enjoy playing X-Box.

Hockey Points: What games do you play?

Janos Hari: Call of Duty and NHL.

Hockey Points: Which player do you share the best on-ice chemistry with?

Janos Hari: Well, I haven’t had a chance to play with anybody for more than 3 games straight so it’s hard to tell.

Hockey Points: You’ve played left wing for most of the season. Is that the position you grew up playing?

Janos Hari: I’ve never played left wing before in my whole life. But it’s okay because I’m okay playing any position. Growing up I played mainly center and right wing a bit.

Hockey Points: Considering you’re the 4th youngest regular playing forward on the team, are you content with your production so far (3G, 7A for 10PTS and +5 in 22GP)?

Janos Hari: (Laughs again) Not really actually. It’s been really bad from my view. But I’ll keep trying to do my best and see what happens.

Hockey Points: If you can point out a highlight for your time in Montreal so far, what would that be?

Janos Hari: (Laughs) I think I’m still waiting for this to come. Hopefully this will come in the playoffs.

Hari, an 18 year old, has 3 goals and 7 assists for 10 points in 22 games played this season. 

Photo Credit: Ron Lemish


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Louis Leblanc #20 scored 1G and 1A in Canada's
8-0 victory over Switzerland last night.
Last night team Canada opened pre-tournament play with a bang, defeating Team Switzerland 8-0.
Montreal Junior Louis Leblanc scored 2 points in the victory.

During the first period Leblanc set up line mate Jaden Schwartz with a back hand pass from the corner. Schwarts made no mistake as he finished the play with a quick shot from about 20 feet out.

In the second period Leblanc converted a 2 on 1 Quinton Howden pass into a goal as the two players broke in on the Swiss goaltender.

So long as the line continues playing well you can expect to see Leblanc playing wing alongside centerman Brayden Schenn and fellow winger Jaden Schwarts. Schenn was drafted by the LA Kings during the 1st round of the 2009 NHL. Schwartz was drafted by the Saint Louis Blues in the 1st round of the 2010 draft.

The star of yesterday's game was fellow QMJHLer Sean Couturier of the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Couturier scored 1 goals and added 3 assists in the victory, showing scouts that he's the real deal building up to the 2011 NHL entry draft.

The other high end 2011 draft prospect to watch during this year's tournament is Adam Larsson of team Sweden. It'll be interesting to see if the media hypes up the match up as much as the Tavares vs. Hedman showdown was hyped during the 2009 tournament. Canada faces Sweden tonight at the Air Canada Center in Toronto.

Follow the 2011 WJHC on HockeyPoints.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Jeremy Gouchie has 9 points in his last 7 GP
The Juniors were hot and cold this weekend.

On Friday, they were cold. Montreal blew a 2-1 lead against Shawinigan and suffered their 5th regulation loss of the season by a score of 3-2. Shawinigan are a tough young team and proved they can play with the best in the league. Although young, they are a well coached machine possessing both size and skill. Right now they're sitting in 9th place overall which is not bad considering they're building their team to peak next season. Their hopes are to participate in the 2012 Memorial Cup and are one of 4 QMJHL teams bidding to host the event. They don't have the big names like the Saint John Sea Dogs but they have a tougher and more physical group of troops. As for this season, contending teams won't be wishing for a round 2 matchup vs. Shawinigan. They'll give their opponent the most they can handle.

Today the Juniors came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Drummondville Voltigeurs 5-3. The first star of the game was ex-Voltigeur and Montreal Junior forward Philippe Lefebvre. The left winger was driven mad by one of his ex-teammates midway through the second period which pushed his game to a completely different level. Lefebvre was hitting, blocking shots and skating like the wind in order to show his former mates who holds the upper hand. Lefebvre scored the Juniors 2nd goal and minutes later he set up the tying goal in order to get his team back in the game. Strangely, these two points ended Lefebvre's 5 game point-less streak. If he can find some form of motivation to keep his game at this level the Juniors will be even stronger going forward. Tonight Lefebvre played with lots of passion and a sense of desperation. It was a playoff type performance. Hats off to him.

Despite Lefebvre's slump he has actually been playing on the Juniors best line as of late. He just hasn't been as lucky as his line mates when it comes to putting up points. During the last 7 games played centerman Jeremy Gouchie has put up 9 points and right winger Trevor Parkes has 10 points. While Lefebvre has only 4 points during the same period, he has been playing very responsible hockey with a plus-minus rating of +7. Lefebvre currently leads the Juniors with a rating of +25 in 32 GP.

Montreal captain Nicolas Chouinard returned to the lineup today after missing a handful of games due to injury. Chouinard is one of the players that needs to start producing more offense and that will likely come once he starts feeling 100%. Similar to Lefebvre, Chouinard played a tough physical game and was throwing his body at the Voltigeur players without any fear or hesitation. This style of play is exactly what the Juniors need to get more of from their current roster if they aren't able to address this need via trade

In WJHC news......Louis Leblanc didn't play in Montreal's game against Drummondville today. That's because he was hard at work in Toronto at Team Canada's WJHC camp. It seems as though he's off to a good start. If you watch the inter squad game highlights on TSN you'll see Leblanc scoring a nice goal. He snapped a hard shot in the net while breaking in on the opposing team's goalie. Leblanc was interviewed by TSN earlier today and you can read more about that here; Leblanc is one of 5 players from the Q participating at the camp.

This week Montreal (currently #2 in the league standings) plays in Gatineau (T-#6) on Wednesday before hosting Lewiston (#5) on Friday. Should be two exciting games.

Photo Credit: Ron Lemish


Friday, December 10, 2010


Philippe Paradis has 27 points in 27 games with PEI this season.
Is Philippe Paradis the missing piece of the puzzle?

He may be for the Montreal Juniors who are currently sitting in 2nd place of the QMJHL standings with 52 points through 32 games played, only 2 points behind the league leading Saint John Sea Dogs. Montreal boasts a record of 24 wins, 4 losses and 4 overtime losses.

Paradis is enjoying offensive success with the PEI Rocket this season. Through 27 games he has scored 13 goals, 14 assists, 27 points, 28 PIMS and +14 plus/minus rating. The Rocket, however, haven't been as successful as a team and are currently hovering around the bottom third of the QMJHL standings, sitting in 12th place among the league's 18 teams.

Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes during the first round (27th overall) of the 2009 NHL entry draft, Paradis has since had his NHL rights traded twice. In December of 2009 Paradis' rights were dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Jari Tlusty. Then, after signing a 3 years entry level contract with the Leafs Paradis' rights were dealt again, this time to the Chicago Blackhawks as part of the compensation the Leafs swapped in order to land Kris Versteeg.

Knowing Paradis is a '91 born player and coupled with the fact that he will likely turn pro next season means the 6'2", 205 pound left winger's name will likely be mentioned in trade rumours during the next few weeks. If the PEI Rocket were a contender they would hold onto Paradis, but since this isn't the case we can expect his services to be shopped around the Q with various contending teams.

But why would Montreal want to acquire Paradis when their roster already includes a long list of talented top six capable forwards like Leblanc, Lefebvre, Parkes, Aubry, Chouinard, Gouchie and Rose? The answer is this. Paradis would add an element to the Juniors forward group which they are lacking; an intense (sometimes reckless) and physical forward who can score at a point per game pace.

The current group of top six forwards work hard to finish their checks. Nobody here says they're ain't doing a good job of that, because they are. But guys like Parkes, Aubry and Lefebvre are predictable when finishing their checks. Paradis is not.

For example, last month I went to Drummondville to watch game 2 of the Subway Series between Team QMJHL and Team Russia. During the 3rd period I witnessed Paradis destroy a Russian defenseman with a clean open ice hit. The result; for the rest of that game the Russians were both unfocused and indiscipline. The Paradis hit completely threw the Russian off their game. They wanted revenge against Paradis and Paradis didn't back down. He continued to hit hard and drove the Russian defensemen bonkers while driving their net after each and every whistle. He took punches to his face after the whistle which led to a couple of Russians players to receive minor penalties.

His style reminds me of Jean-Sebastien Berube who played in Rouyn Noranda the past few years. Another comparison is Danick Paquette who played in Lewiston and Quebec City during the last couple of seasons. Both of these players kept their opponents heads on a swirl because of their intimidating physical play and both were capable of putting up solid offensive numbers.

In summary, Paradis changed the tone of that game. He plays on the edge and it makes his opponents loose their focus. His style of play can benefit any contender and it's style of which the Montreal Juniors are currently lacking.

So if the Montreal Juniors try to acquire Paradis, what will be the Rockets' asking price? That's not an easy question to answer but let's take a shot at it anyways.

Looking at next season and beyond PEI has needs at every position. Therefore the question becomes less about what PEI want and more about what Montreal has to offer....and is it enough?

Every seller will ask the Juniors about Xavier Ouellet in terms of acquiring the stud d-man prospect for next season (similar to how Montreal's return for Jake Allen arrived the season after they dealt him to Drummondville last January). But Ouellet has 2 more years of playing in the junior ranks and is arguably already more valuable than Paradis so don't expect that type of deal to occur. The Juniors won't deal away the 2 best junior years of Ouellet for a few months of Paradis. No way that's happening.

So what else is available?

On defense, perhaps one of Montreal's three underrated defensemen (Provost, Narbonne and Micallef) would be of interest to the Rocket. Each rearguard has played a vital role for the Juniors this season and are the 3 best kept secrets in the league. In Montreal they act as the number 5, 6 and 7 defensemen however elsewhere they could fill a top 3 or 4 defense spot, if given the chance. Coach Pascal Vincent will probably want to keep all three players on his roster for the playoff push but all could be made available as compensation starting next June. Provost, Narbonne and Micallef were all born in 1992 and are therefore considered 18 years olds allowing their playing availability to last for at least 1 more season. Maybe 2 more if either were to play as overagers.

At the forward position Montreal has a few young assets that could be of interest to PEI. Jean-Christophe Laflamme (17), Michael Clarke (17) and Olivier Roy (16) are likely the club's best young forwards who can each play for another 2-4 seasons. Similar to Provost, Narbonne and Micallef, none of these players have played in enough games or enjoyed enough ice time to demonstrate their true abilities because of the fact that they're stuck lower down on the Juniors depth of the downsides of being a good young player on a contending team.

In terms of draft picks, Montral already dealt away their 1st rounder last summer as part of the deal to acquire Louis Leblanc's rights. In that deal they acquired Chicoutimi's 3rd rounder in 2011 therefore they still have 3 picks in the top 3 rounds to use as trade bait.

Perhaps a combination of 3 or 4 of these assets is what it would take to lure Paradis away from the Rocket? Maybe more. The word around the league is that this year's crop of players on the trade market is less than last year's group which could mean that the price for a guy like Paradis drives up higher than expected......ever hear of supply and demand?

As for now we'll have to wait and see.

In other potential trade news....there are rumours that Patrick Roy and the Quebec Remparts are about to make a move to acquire a very significant 20 year old player. Will watch that situation over the next few days.


Monday, December 6, 2010


#26 Francis Meilleur celebrates with teammates
Montreal Junior defenseman, Francis Meilleur earned himself 2nd star status for the QMJHL's player of the month honors for the month of November. Here is the quote for the league's website:

"The second star goes to Montreal Juniors defenseman Francis Meilleur. He was an offensive force in November, registering two goals and eight assists in eleven games. Moreover, he posted a steady +/- rating and collected at least one point in nine games. The Montreal Juniors won ten of their eleven games in November. The team is actually ranked second overall in the Q."

This award come as know surprise to me. Meilleur has been solid for th Juniors since day one this year. Although he is not drafted by an NHL team nor has he ever been invited to an NHL training camp, Meilleur's play this season has been very impressive and could very well give him that type of opportunity next summer should the right scout notice his talent.

Meilleur plays at his best when the Juniors have control of the puck. He's a smooth skater and puck handler. In his own zone, Meilleur is often seen making a crisp outlet pass which is paramount if a team wants to have a strong transition game. At the other end of the ice Meilleur's strength is quarterbacking the power play unit. His vision is excellent when it comes to passing the puck and he also uses his shot to score goals or create scoring chances.

For the greater part of this year Meilleur has been paired up with fellow defenseman Charles-Olivier Roussel. Meilleur has 5 goals and 23 points in 31 games played so far this season. He has also recorded 21 penalty minutes and carries a plus-minus rating of +14.

Photo Credit: Ron Lemish


Thursday, December 2, 2010


Earlier this week Montreal Juniors centerman Louis Leblanc was interviewed by the QMJHL's weekly radio show called "Inside the Q".

During the interview Leblanc talks about;
- the potential of representing Canada at the WJHC
- the success of the Montreal Juniors season
- when he expects to return from his minor shoulder injury

To listen to the replay of the interview, click here:


Photo Credit: Ron Lemish


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The Montreal Juniors have been on fire ever since the middle of October. Much of their success can be credited to the roster's depth at every position. Here's a few tidbits of news and notes:

- This Blog now has a forum! It only takes 2 minutes to register as a user and then you can participate in all discussions. To access the Forum, click on the HP FORUM link at the top of the page. Here's the direct link:

- Last night the Juniors crushed the Rouyn Noranda Huskies by a score of 9-2. Nine different Montreal players earned at least 2 points in the victory. Janos Hari (see in photo) broke a 10 game goal drought by scoring a power play goal late in the game. Hari now has 7 points in 13 games played. Although his production has slowed, he is still playing responsible hockey with a plus/minus rating of +5.

- Hari wasn't the only player trying to break a goal-less streak. On Sunday, Charles Olivier Roussel scored his 1st and 2nd goal of the season including the overtime winning goal during the Juniors 4-3 victory against the Drummondville Voltigeurs. He followed up this performance by earning 2 assists last night against Rouyn Noranda. If Roussel turns his season around, look out. He can be a big-time game changer when he's on his game.

- On Monday it was confirmed that Louis Leblanc made the list to attend Team Canada's final tryout camp in December. He hopes to earn a spot on Team Canada and to participate in the 2011 WJHC which takes place in Buffalo, NY. The tournament starts on December 26th. Leblanc is currently nursing a minor shoulder injury however it is not bad enough to prevent him from participating in the camp. Leblanc may return to action this Friday when Montreal hosts Shawinigan.

- Last night's victory shoots Montreal back to the top of the QMJHL standings with 45 points earned through 28 games played. The Saint John Sea Dogs are only 1 point back with 2 games in hand.

- The Juniors have been red hot since mid-October. They've won 9 of their last 10 games and boast a record of 14 wins and 1 loss in their last 15 games played. Their only loss was when they fell 2-1 to the Gatineau Olympiques a couple of weeks back. Hot goaltenders can steal games!

- Goaltender Etienne Marcoux played in goal for the Juniors last night and improved his record to 6-1-1. The 17 year old currently has a 3.19 goals against average and a .881 save percentage.

- The Juniors play in Val D'Or tonight in what will be their 6th and final game of their road trip. Enjoy the game.

Photo Credit: Ron Lemish


Saturday, November 27, 2010


In 48 hours from now Louis Leblanc should have a big smile on his face. That's because for a second straight year Leblanc will be invited to the final camp for Canada's National Junior U-20 squad that will compete at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships taking place in Buffalo, NY.

RDS has reported that Leblanc, along with 5 other QMJHL players are expected to be invited to the final camp. The other 5 players include forwards Michael Bournival of Shawinigan and Sean Couturier of Drummondville, defensemen Brandon Gormley of Moncton and Simon Despres of Saint John, and goaltender Olivier Roy of Acadie-Bathurst. Here's a quick blurb on each player (position & age):

Louis Leblanc (C/W - 19):

He has been the player to watch this year in Montreal. To date Leblanc has registered 12 goals and 28 points in 20 games played. Much of the attention surrounding Leblanc relates to his status as the Montreal Canadiens' 1st round pick from the 2009 NHL entry draft. He played on the same line as Sean Couturier at both the Team Canada summer training camp in Newfoundland and while playing with Team QMJHL in the Subway Series against the Russians. Perhaps Team Canada has already decided both Leblanc and Couturier will be on the final roster? Leblanc is currently nursing a minor shoulder injury but is expected to be in top shape to play before the camp in mid-December. He is listed at 6'0", 178 lbs.

Michael Bournival (C - 18):

He was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the 3rd round of the 2010 entry draft however earlier this month his rights were dealt to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defensemen Ryan O'Byrne. Bournival plays a feisty two-way game and skates well in his solidly build frame (6'0", 187 lbs). Bournival played for team QMJHL against the Russians earlier this month. He's wearing the "C" for his team these days and has posted 11 goals and 29 points in 22 games played this season.

Sean Couturier (C / W - 18):

He may be the most evaluated player at this year's World Junior Hockey Championships. Couturier, the QMJHL's scoring leader from last season, is expected to be the 1st overall pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft, so the scouts will be watching his every move. He was captain for Team QMJHL this year and performed very well against the Russians posting 2 points in 2 games played. He does everything well in all three zones. His skating and puck handling abilities are very smooth despite his large body (6'4", 191 lbs) Couturier has 15 goals and 39 points in 28 games played this year.

Simon Despres (D, 19):

Drafted by the Penguins 29th overall in 2009, Despres is a big time NHL prospect. This year at Pittsburgh's camp, Despres played so well that he almost stuck around for a full time NHL job. Since he was returned to the Sea Dogs Despres has earned his status as a star defenseman in the league while earning 5 goals and 18 points in 15 games played. He was unable to participate in the Subway Series after suffering an injury but will likely have that chance at the WJHC. Despres skates very well for a guy who is listed at 6'4" and 205 lbs.

Brandon Gormley (D, 18):

After "slipping" down the ranks in this year's NHL draft, Gormley has yet to disappoint the Pheonix Coyotes who drafted him 13th overall. A smooth skater, Gormely plays very consistent hockey at both ends of the ice and is a tremendous decision maker with the puck. To date he has 23 points in 20 games played. Listed at 6'2" and 190 lbs, Gormely is probably a lock to make Team Canada's final roster.

Olivier Roy (G, 19):

Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 5th round of the 2009 NHL entry draft, Roy is playing his 4th season of Major Junior hockey. He has been on Team Canada's radar since the age of 16 and is the favorite to be the starting goaltender for the team. In 17 games played this season Roy has 9 wins and 8 losses while posting a 2.98 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. He also has 1 shutout this season. Roy is listed at 6'0", 180 lbs.

To read about the final list of camp invites, visit Hockey Canada's website this Monday afternoon at

2 Montreal Juniors on the outside looking in?

Unfortunately for 2 other Montreal Juniors players, goaltender Jean-Francois Berube and defenseman Charles-Olivier Roussel, Monday will mark the day where their chances end to represent Canada at the World Junior tournament.

Jean-Francois Berube (G, 19):

He has been good for the Juniors but not great. Through 17 games played this season, his record of 13-3-1 looks great. But when you break it down and look further into the details, you notice that his numbers aren't as impressive as they could be, considering his situation. Berube's GAA is respectable at 2.60, however his save percentage of .897 is simply not something to brag about. Last season, playing for a much weaker Montreal team, Berube earned a 8.97 save percentage in 45 games played. If Berube wanted to lock a spot on the team he would have needed to have post a save percentage of at least .915 while between the pipes for the powerhouse Juniors.

Charles-Olivier Roussel (D, 19):

This season has not gone as planned for Roussel. After scoring 15 goals and 54 points in 64 games played last year with Shawinigan, Roussel has not been as fortunate while playing in Montreal this year. He still hasn't scored a goal and only has 7 assists in 17 games played. Speaking of 17 games played, missing games has been troublesome for Roussel this year. He has been both injured and suspended to miss a total of 9 games. For the sake of his career, Roussel needs to refocus his efforts on the opportunity he has in Montreal; winning a Presidents Cup and perhaps a chance to play in the Memorial Cup.

Photo Credit: Hockey Canada


Saturday, November 20, 2010


Coach Pascal Vincent is trying to find the right line combinations in order to produce the most offense possible.

Early in the season it seemed as though the number 1 line of Louis Leblanc, Philippe Lefebvre and Nicolas Chouinard would never be broken up. They were producing a lot of goals and were doing so consistently. The problem was that the rest of the team wasn't scoring. Here's a look at the current lineup:

1st line: Hari (18-LW) / Leblanc (19-C) / Chouinard (20-RW)
2nd line: Lefebvre (19-LW) / Gouchie (20-C) / Parkes (19-RW)
3rd line: Fontaine (19-LW) / Aubry (19-C) / Rose (19-RW)
4th line: Kindl (18-C), Anderson (19-C), Sherbatov (19-LW), Laflamme (17-LW), Clarke (17-LW)

Vincent has been rotating his 5 fourth line players in and out of the lineup. It's rare to see any one of these players sit out more than 2 or 3 games straight.

1st pairing: Meilleur (20) & Roussel (19)
2nd pairing: Landry (19) & Ouellet (17)
3rd pairing: Narbonne (18), Provost (18) and Micallef (18)

Vincent often dresses Narbonne, Provost and Micallef and dresses only 2 of his 5 4th line forwards in order to go with a lineup of 11 forwards and 7 defensemen. This is the right move since the depth of the Juniors' defense corps is clearly the strength of his team.

Starter: Berube (19)
Backup: Marcoux (17)

Expect Pascal Vincent to continue starting Berube in at least 75% of the Juniors games.

Injury Update:

It is obvious that Leblanc hasn't been playing at full health since returning from the Canada / Russia Subway Series. I'm not sure exactly what the injury is however I would guess that it may be groin related....Whatever the case, Leblanc must want to remain in Montreal's lineup in order to boost his exposure and chances of playing on Canada's National Junior Team. More to come on this if anything is learned. This just in......Louis Leblanc is sitting out today against Chicoutimi after playing last night in Baie Comeau. I'm guessing this is related to the minor injury he's suffering from. Charles-Olivier Roussel is not playing today either - due to injury, I would assume.

Photo Credit: Ron Lemish


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Yesterday NHL Central Scouting released their 2010 Fall Rankings for the 2011 NHL entry draft and Xavier Ouellet (seen in photo) ranked high on the QMJHL list as expected.

Ouellet, an offensive puck moving defenseman, is playing in his second season with the Montreal Juniors.

At 17 years old Ouellet is Montreal's youngest blue liner. Despite his youth, Ouellet is currently leading the Juniors' defense corps in terms of offensive production with 2 goals and 19 assists for 21 points in 23 games played. Ouellet also boasts a plus/minus rating of +8.

He has already surpassed his output of last season when he recorded 2 goals and 14 assists for 16 points in 43 games played. Note that last year Ouellet suffered a broken wrist early in the year which delayed his progress.

This past summer Ouellet represented Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament as a member of Canada's National Under-18 Team. Canada won gold beating Team USA in the final.

Just last week Ouellet had the opportunity to represent Team QMJHL and play against Russia's Under-20 Team for games 1 and 2 of the Subway Series. Participating in the event gave Ouellet yet another opportunity to demonstrate his skill set to Team Canada scouts. His chances of making Canada's Under-20 team this winter are extremely slim however, should his game continue to evolve, don't be surprised to see Ouellet represent Canada at either the 2012 or 2013 tournaments.

Ouellet is known best for his puck handling abilities. He possesses a sound transition game and is consistent in making sharp outlet passes when breaking out of his own zone. From time to time he will rush the puck up the ice and lead Montreal's attack. Ouellet is capable of quarterbacking the power play and makes good decisions in terms of knowing when to pass versus taking the shot.

Although Ouellet does not appear to be the smoothest skater, you can see the improvement in his skating compared to last season. It looks as though he has worked on the power he generates from his stride. He may still be growing into his body as well which may play into the "smooth" factor. His defensive play and positioning is rather sound. Ouellet covers his man well in his own zone, uses his body well in the corner and is smart with his stick. With NHL Central Scouting Ouellet is listed at 5'11.5" and 182 lbs. With the QMJHL he is listed as 6'1" and 177 lbs (I believe this to be more accurate).

Ranked at number 7 in the Q, Ouellet has a shot to be drafted in the 1st round but is more likely to be selected in the 2nd round. I'm basing this comment mainly on the trend we witnessed during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft when it became a trend for teams to place less of a priority on drafting defensemen (ie: Fowler & Gormely fell about 8-10 positions at the draft).

I've listed the top QMJHL ranked players (see below). Sean Couturier deserves to be ranked #1 and is probably the #1 ranked player in the world right now. I'm a bit surprised to see Tomas Jurco listed behind Olivier Archambeault. I've seen the two play a number of times and in terms of NHL potential I'd give the nod to Jurco, hands down. Another surprising find was seeing Zack Phillips ranked down at number 11. I would've expected to see him much higher as well especially considering his teammates (Oke and Tesink) are ranked above him. I saw Phillips play last week for team QMJHL and would argue that he was one of the team's better forwards and fierce competitors. Here's the list:

NHL Central Scouting - 2010 Fall Rankings for 2011 NHL Entry Draft - (QMJHL only):


1- Sean Couturier, Drummondville
2- Jonathan Huberdeau, Saint John
3- Nathan Beaulieu, Saint John
4- Phillip Danault, Victoriaville
5- Olivier Archambault, Val d'Or
6- Tomas Jurco, Saint John
7- Xavier Ouellet, Montreal
8- Maximilien Le Sieur, Shawinigan
9- Scott Oke, Saint John
10- Ryan Tesink, Saint John
11- Zack Phillips, Saint John
12- Jean-Francois LeBlanc, Val d'Or
13- Jonathan Racine, Shawinigan
14- Brent Andrews, Halifax
15- Yannick Veilleux, Shawinigan
16- Guillaume Cloutier, Saint John
17- Logan Shaw, Cape Breton
18- Samuel Henley, Lewiston
19- Gabriel Beaupre, Val d'Or
20- Sean Girard, Rouyn-Noranda
21- Josh Currie, PEI
22- Stephen Woodworth, Cape Breton
23- Axel Rioux, Quebec
24- Olivier Daoust, Moncton
25- Olivier Jodoin, Cape Breton


1- Christopher Gibson, Chicoutimi
2- David Honzik, Victoriaville
3- Maxime Lagace, PEI
4- Andrei Makarov, Lewiston
5- Jeffrey Noonan, Rouyn-Noranda

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I was in Drummondville last Wednesday night to catch game 2 of the subway series between the QMJHL and Russia's Junior National Team, a game won by the Russians by a score of 4-3.

During the 2 game series against the Russians, team QMJHL's roster was filled with 7 players from the Montreal Juniors franchise; Goaltender Jean-Francois Berube (19), Defensemen Charles-Olivier Roussel (19) and Xavier Ouellet (17), Forwards Louis Leblanc (19), Philippe Lefebvre (19), Trevor Parkes (19) and Louis-Marc Aubry (19).

The first half of the game was rather tame. The Quebec players (seen in photo) were playing a more cautious style than the Russians. You could sense the players were a bit nervous playing in front of so many scouts. For many of the players, this game represented a final chance to make an impression in front of Team Canada's scouting staff before they finalize the roster for the pre-tournament camp.

Meanwhile, the mentality of the already finalized Russian team seemed to be more focused on executing a game plan and to beat what they considered to be one third of the Canadian junior program. In other words, you could sense the Russians trying to make a statement, sending "massages" to the faces, via fists, of any Q player who tried to approach their crease after the whistle.

A handful of players really stood out on this night. The players of the game for team QMJHL were Sean Couturier (he really is in a class of his own) and Philippe Paridas (who's NHL rights belong to the Chicago Blackhawks).

At 6'4" and 195 lbs Couturier is a very big young man. Despite his size he plays a very smooth skating / puck handling style of game. Couturier is Strong positionally in all three zones. In terms of production, Couturier was the most notable player on team QMHJL scoring 2 assists.
Philippe Paradis was Q's most noticeable player, by far. He and his line mates were effective every shift, often creating pressure with their down low cycle game. I haven't seen the stats but Paradis must have led the game in body checks. He looked as though he was hitting everything that moved, maybe averaging 1 legitimate check per shift.
The hit of the game was manufactured by Paradis early in the 3rd period. A hulking Russian defender standing over his own blue line was admiring his pass when Paradis clocked him. Paradis' shoulder hit the chin of the Russian and the momentum followed into his chest. Boom! It was one of those hits where the stick pops right out of the victim's hands and flies to a not-so-close area on the ice. In this case the Russian's stick flew through the air and just missed the center ice scoreboard before landing on the other side of the neutral zone. The player was okay but was bleeding from the mouth. The Russian coach was livid.
After the hit the physicality of the game really picked up. Paradis became the target to the Russian squad as they seeking their revenge.
The Russians held on to win the game 4-3 despite being severely out shot by team QMJHL. This loss to the Russians marked the first time the Q has been defeated in both games by the Russian team in the same year. Since the beginning of the Subway Series (2004, I believe) team QMJHL has 9 wins and 7 losses.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Lucky number 7! The Montreal Juniors won 3 games this weekend to expand their winning streak to 7 games. The team has now won 8 of their last 9.

At home on Friday night, the team enjoyed a come from behind victory and beat the Remparts 5-4 in a shootout.

On Saturday the team headed to Quebec City for a rematch game and managed to win once again, this time in regulation, by a score of 3-2.

On Sunday the Juniors were back at home to host the Baie Comeau Drakkar who are suffering this year and are the last place team in the QMJHL. The Juniors cruised to a 5-3 victory with Louis Leblanc earning 1 goal and 2 assists along the way.

This game marked the first where the Juniors had the option of starting any of their regular players. This is because Louis-Marc Aubry (seen in photo) returned to the lineup after missing over 10 games with a knee injury.

The 6'4" center man finished the game with no points and a -1 plus/minus rating, however it was promising was to see Aubry's success in the face off circle. Aubry won 16/19 face offs (84.2%) which is incredible. This is an area where Montreal can use some improvement hence why it's a positive to see Aubry return to good health.

The Juniors are playing at home against Cape Breton this Thursday morning (nov. 11) at 10:30 before travelling to Gatineau on Saturday (nov. 13) to play against their division rival. They return home to play Sean Couturier and the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Sunday (nov. 14) at 15:00.

Photo Credit: Ron Lemish


Saturday, November 6, 2010


On Friday night the Montreal Juniors earned themselves a huge statement victory over the Quebec Remparts and improved their record to 12-3-2-1.

Montreal won the game in style. After coming back from a 4-2 deficit with only 10 minutes left in the game, the Juniors won the game in a shootout. Jeremy Gouchie scored the winner allowing the Juniors to walk away with a 5-4 victory.

The Verdun Auditorium was jam packed and a memorable atmosphere was noticed by all. There wasn't a seat open in the building and there were plenty of fans packed into the standing zones, including a large number of Remparts fans who made the trip from Quebec City.

Seeing Quebec and Montreal battle for 65 minutes gave me a craving to see a match up between the two team in the playoffs next spring. That would be a Quebec hockey fans' dream. Both teams are well coached and deep at all positions, not to mention the memories that spark when thinking about a Quebec City vs. Montreal match up.

24 horse later I find myself sitting in the press box at the Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City. It's my first time visiting this building and I have to say, I like it. It's old and gives you a feel of the "old nhl". There's a main seating level plus an upper deck. The seats at both end zones of the upper deck level pile higher than they do along the sides of the rink.

But despite the old feel, there's also a modern twist. The Remparts have an NHL-like introduction which plays on 4 sides of the octagon scoreboard hanging above center ice. The introduction allows fans to see each player, while flashing visuals of the city's well known landmarks, thereby linking a relationship between the fans, the city, the team and it's players. The atmosphere here is far closer to that of a Habs game than that of a Juniors game. Needless o say, the marketing people are earning their salaries.

Now to the action. It is obvious that Louis Leblanc is a marked man in this city. Not only are the Remparts checking him tight with the likes of Frederik Roy and Matthew Brown but the fans boo him whenever they get a chance.

Speaking of Leblanc, he is playing his second straight game with a new set of line mates; team captain Nicolas Chouinard and European Janos Hari. So far they're doing well. Leblanc had a goal last night and another tonight (eventual game winner).

The second line of Philippe Lefebvre (LW), Jeremy Gouchie (C) and Trevor Parkes (RW) has looked very impressive. Every time they're on the ice the Juniors are achieving strong pressure down low in the Remparts zone. This line has played so well you could even call it the 1st line.

The team dressed 7 defenseman and 11 forwards tonight leaving center man Denis Kindl on the sidelines as a last minute scratch. It's not the first time coach Pascal Vincent has made this move and surely won't be the last. Francis Meilleur and Charles Olivier have formed a unit together all year. Charles Landry, who returned recently from a fractured jaw, is paired with Xavier Ouellet. Matt provost, Jonathan Narbonne and Alex Micallef, all 18 year old junior aged players, make take up the 5th, 6th and 7th spots on the blue line rotating in playing time.

The David Rose and Philippe Fontaine formed the 3rd pair of wingers. Sherbatov and rookie Laflamme made up the fourth. Anderson spent time centering both lines as did the other two pivots (Leblanc and Gouchie) from time to time.

The game has now ended. Leblanc's goal became the winner. Quebec pressed the Juniors towards the end of the game but were unsuccessful in their attempt to tie things up.

27 hours ago the Quebec Remparts were ranked #1 in the country out of 60 CHL teams. Montreal has now beat Quebec twice in as many nights. I guess you could say I'm looking forward to next week's rankings.


Sunday, October 31, 2010


The Montreal Juniors have played 17 games this season and at this point it is safe to say the Louis Leblanc (seen in photo) trade has been a success.

On June 5th of this year the Montreal Juniors traded their 1st round pick in 2011 and Guillaume Asselin to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in exchange for Chicoutimi's 3rd round pick in 2011 and the rights to Louis Leblanc. Note the word rights. This trade was no guarantee for Montreal because although the franchise had acquired Leblanc's rights, they still needed to do their part in convincing him to give major junior a shot and leave the hockey program at Harvard University.

When speaking with Leblanc the Juniors leaned heavily on the "pros" associated with playing in Montreal and in the QMJHL. Among those; a chance to play with a contender in the "Q" and an opportunity to get a taste of the pros and play a NHL-like 68 game schedule. Playing in Montreal also meant Leblanc would be playing in the backyard of the team that drafted him, the Montreal Canadiens.

Another bonus for the star centerman was being able to move closer to home. Leblanc was born and raised on the west end of the island of Montreal and his family still resides in the area.

Accepting the opportunity to play with Montreal also gave Leblanc a chance to reunite himself with a few old hockey buddies; Eliezer Sherbatov, Charles-Olivier Roussel and Philippe Lefebvre. Sherbatov played with Leblanc in their younger days. Roussel has participated in summer camps with Leblanc throughout the years. Lefebvre is a familiar face from the Montreal Canadiens development camps since he was signed by the Habs during the summer of 2009. Lefebvre and Leblanc have developed superb chemistry since day one. The two were united during Leblanc's first exhibition game vs. Shawinigan and they've played on the same line ever since.

Leblanc's number have been nothing short of expectations. Through 13 games played Leblanc has scored 9 goals, 11 assists and 20 points. Over a 68 game season this translates into 47 goals, 58 assists and 105 points. To put that into perspective, last year the QMJHL scoring leader was Sean Couturier at 96 points.

Leblanc has played consistent hockey for the Juniors. Of his 13 games played he has scored at least 1 point in 11 games. Only Moncton and PEI have been able to keep Leblanc off the score sheet.

Leblanc has also played very well in clutch situations. He participated in 3 shootouts and scored the winning goal in 2 of the 3 attempts.

His defensive play has been impressive. Leblanc is a +8 on the season and has only been a minus in 1 game this year when he was -1 in the season opener against Shawinigan, a 5-4 loss at home.

One area of Leblanc's game that needs improvement is his face off abilities. In 13 games Leblanc has won 140 / 285 face offs. That translates into a 49.12% winning percentage. While this isn't terrible by any means, it should still be a concern for Leblanc should he want to improve his chances of making the Montreal Canadiens within the next couple of seasons. At the NHL level much of the focus in the game today surrounds puck possession and this often begins in the face off circle. Leblanc's aim should be to bring his winning percentage up between 55% and 60% before the end of the season.

Next Friday night (November 5th) should be a good test for Leblanc and the rest of the Montreal Juniors as the Quebec Remparts will be visiting the Verdun Auditorium. The Remparts have a record of 14 wins, 1 regulation loss and 1 overtime loss. By contrast, the Juniors have 11 wins, 3 regulation losses and 3 overtime losses. By your ticket and enjoy the game!

Photo credit: Ron Lemish


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Last weekend was a success in many ways for the Montreal Juniors.

On Friday evening the team hosted a spaghetti dinner to raise money & support the battle against breast cancer. The dinner proved to be a success when over 200 fans showed up to participate at the event.

Fans had the opportunity to collect autographs and take pictures with their favorite Montreal Juniors. There was even an auction where the winner was able to eat dinner with the player of their choice.

Tap your sticks on the ice for a great cause! In other news.....

Injury Update:

After missing 8 games with a minor fracture to his jaw Charles Landry returned to the Juniors lineup this past Sunday and helped his team defeat the Drummondville Voltigeurs 6-3. Landry recorded 2 assists and was a +2 in the game.

Louis-Marc Aubry continues to nurse his knee which suffered a minor injury back in early October. Montreal won't rush him back into the lineup until the injury, which is believed to be a sprain, heals completely. Consider Aubry a "game day" decision to play against Quebec City in Montreal on November 5th.

Hungarian born Janos Hari is expected to return perhaps as soon as this Friday when Montreal travels to Baie Comeau for their first game of the season against the Drakkar. Hari hasn't been lucky with his health this year. Because he suffered from mononucleosis and then from his sprained ankle, Hari has been limited to playing only 2 games, scoring 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 points and a +2 plus/minus rating.

Photo credit: Ron Lemish


Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The Montreal Juniors will be well represented at this year's Subway Super Series. That's because 7 of Team QMJHL's 25 players are part of the Montreal Juniors franchise.

The Subway Super Series is an annual six game exhibition tournament held between a select team of Russian junior players and all-star teams representing the three leagues of the Canadian Hockey League.

Team QMJHL will play 2 games versus the Russians, first on Monday November 8th in Saint John, New Brunswick, and then on Wednesday November 10th in Drummondville, Quebec. The Montreal players named to the team include:

Goaltender: Jean-Francois Berube (19)

Defensemen: Charles-Olivier Roussel (19), Xavier Ouellet (17)

Forwards: Louis Leblanc (19), Philippe Lefebvre (19), Louis-Marc Aubry (19) and Trevor Parkes (19).

In order to manage the larger than usual roster certain players will participate in only one of the two games including Montreal Junior players Jean-Francois Berube and Philippe Lefebvre. Both players will suit up in Saint John but not in Drummondville.

The game will give Leblanc, Berube and Roussel another chance to shine in front of Canada's Junior National Team scouting staff. All three players participated at Team Canada's summer development camp (essentially part-1 of a try-out) and are eager to try and make the team for this winter's tournament.

Xavier Ouellet will also have a chance to show off his skill to NHL scouts who will be preparing for the 2011 NHL entry draft. Ouellet's name has shot up the charts ever since his production sky-rocketed this season. He is producing offence by rushing the puck, making strong outlet passes and by quarterbacking the power play. Ouellet is playing well defensively and has been the producer of a few big hits this year as well. To date he has 2 goals and 13 assists for 15 points in 13 games played.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The Montreal Juniors received a wake up call during their road trip out East last weekend. Playing three games in three nights started well with a 5-2 victory over the Halifax Mooseheads. But a 3-2 shootout loss to Moncton on Saturday followed by a 5-2 loss to the #1 ranked Saint John Sea Dogs on Sunday gave reason to raise some red flags.

Winning 5 straight games prior to the loss in Moncton, the Juniors were playing consistently well. However as well as they were playing, the majority of their victories came against average teams. Having a chance to beat Moncton and Saint John in their own buildings would have been a major statement and could have given Montreal the #1 ranking status in the Q.

So what went wrong? Who failed to step up and play their best when it mattered most? Here's my suggestion; secondary scoring;

Montreal's #1 scoring line (Lefebvre / Leblanc / Chouinard) has been nothing short of excellent since the beginning of the year. Lefebvre has 15 pts in 10 gp, Leblanc has 14 pts in 8 gp, and Chouinard has 12 pts in 12 gp. The line's production was sound even during the team's Eastern road swing as they scored 7 of 9 Montreal goals. While this great news for Montreal's #1 line, it doesn't speak well of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th units.

David Rose has been a bright spot for this team. Rose started the season on the 3rd line playing with Philippe Fontaine and Denis Kindl. But after a hot start (10 pts in 12 gp) Juniors coach Pascal Vincent has given him more of a second line type role.

Fontaine has produced a nice amount of offence (7 pts in 12 gp) especially given that he was pencilled in as a 3rd or 4th liner for this season. Rose and Fontaine have demonstrated they share chemistry and will likely be kept together as the season continues.

Now lets talk about the players who need to give more.

Jeremy Gouchie (seen in photo) led the Juniors in points last season, scoring 65 pts in 67 games played. Back then Gouchie had 1st line playing time and played on the 1st power play trio. This season Gouchie is off to a slow start with only 7 pts in 12 gp. His production, and efforts at times, has been at a level far below what he's capable of. When everyone is healthy Gouchie plays on the second line with Trevor Parkes and Louis-Marc Aubry, a trio that should be capable of scoring 1 goal per game at a minimum. But that hasn't been the case. Bottom line, Gouchie needs to get going.

Surprisingly, Trevor Parkes hasn't been much better. Parkes missed a handful of games at the start of the season after attending the Red Wings training camp and looked great after his return scoring 2 goals in his first 2 games. But since then Parkes' production has been limited to 1 goal and 2 assists in 6 gp. Another cause for concern has been Parkes' plus minus rating. Parkes is currently +1 on the season. Last year, on a weaker Montreal Juniors team, Parkes finished at +19, therefore he is far off the pace based on last seasons' results. Bottom line, the Juniors need more out of Parkes.

There's a similar situation on defense. Xavier Ouellet (14 pts in 12 gp) has been nothing short of spectacular and is proving why he should be considered one of the top prospects to come out of the Q for next year's NHL entry draft.

Francis Meilleur has also played very well and provided Montreal with a stable flow of offense coming from the back end. Meilleur has 8 pts in 12 gp.

Where there is room for improvement is with Charles-Olivier Roussel who currently has no goals, 5 assists and is a -1 in 9 games played. For a player of his caliber, that's terrible, and I'm sure Roussel himself would be the first person to admit it. Last season Roussel dominated the Q scoring 15 goals and 51 points in 64 games played. He's obviously far off that pace. But what concerns me more than Roussel's point production is that his defensive play. Roussel has made a few errors while handling the puck in his own zone which has led to unneeded goals. Often these mistakes are made after the forwards have already left the zone and he's one of the last 2 players between the opponents and his net. Bottom line, if the Juniors want to be a true contender Roussel has to be better.

Photo credit: Ron Lemish


Monday, September 27, 2010


The Juniors enjoyed a successful weekend which started on Friday as the team earned a victory over the #1 ranked Saint John Sea Dogs by a score of 4-1. On Saturday afternoon Montreal defeated the Val D'or Foreurs convincingly 6-2.

The victory over the Sea Dogs is significant because the Juniors (ranked #2 in the "Q" by The Hockey News Magazine) now know they're are able to challenge Saint John (ranked #1) for top spot in the league. It is important to note that both Montreal and Saint John were each missing key players who were still participating at NHL training camps.

The Juniors win over Val D'or showed just how dominant the team can be. The shot count after the first period of play was 19-4 in favor of Montreal. After three periods of play the Juniors finished with an overwhelming 48 shots compared to Val'D'or's 12.

The 3 stars for Montreal this weekend were:

1. Xavier Ouellet: The 17 year old defenseman showed that he's able to produce offense. Ouellet earned 5 assists and a + 4 plus/minus rating during the two games.

2. Etienne Marcoux: Another 17 year old, Montreal's young goaltender managed to allow only 3 goals on 36 shots, translating into a .916 save percentage and a 1.50 GAA. The keeper was especially good against Saint John where Marcoux made a handful of cross-crease pad saves.

3. Janos Hari (seen in photo): The "Rat", as they call him, made his season debut for the Juniors this weekend. Against the Sea Dogs we saw the Rat at work. During his first shift he punished Tomas Jurko with a thunderous hit, only seconds after stepping on the ice for his first shift. Against Val D'or, Hari displayed his talent by scoring 2 goals and adding 1 assist. He finished the weekend with a +3 plus/minus rating. Hari left the game with under 10 minutes to play after suffering an apparent knee injury.

The Juniors next two games are at home. They take on ex-Montreal Junior Guillaume Asselin and his Chicoutimi teammates on Friday night. On Sunday the Juniors host the Victoriaville Tigres.

Photo credit: Ron Lemish


Thursday, September 23, 2010


It's been a busy start to the season for the Montreal Juniors. Here's a few updates for you to chew on:

Trevor Parkes (seen in photo wearing a white jersey) has been signed to a 3 year entry level contract by the Detroit Red Wings. Going undrafted back in June has proven to be a benefit in disguise for Parkes. Accepting the Wings' post-draft invitation, Parkes participated at Detroit's rookie camp back in July. The last two weeks he's been at their rookie and pro camps and demonstrated enough potential to Red Wings management that he earned himself a contract. Bravo Mr. Parkes!

Janos Hari, one of Montreal's import players, is recovering from mononucleosis and is expected to make his season debut in the very near future, perhaps even as early as this weekend. The Hungarian born Hari developed his hockey skills in Sweden from age 12-17. This will be his first season playing in North America. The left winger is known for his ability to produce offense and his chippy play. He describes himself as a "rat on ice" and has therefore been nicknamed; "Rat".

David Rose is on fire this season. He has already registered 2 goals and 3 assists in 4 games played. Rose's skating has definitely improved since last season. He is generating more speed from his stride and is skating to the right areas on the ice in order to create more room for himself when he has the puck. Last season Rose scored 18 points in 32 games played.

Louis Leblanc played his 1st game in the NHL last night as the Montreal Canadiens took on the Boston Bruins at the Bell Center. He seemed a bit timid during his first few shifts but looked more comfortable as the game continued. Leblanc played well along the boards and demonstrated his willingness to be a complete player at both ends of the ice. The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 4-2.

Speaking of NHL action, Montreal Juniors goaltender Jean-Francois Berube will start in goal for the LA Kings tonight.

Photo Credit: Ron Lemish


Tuesday, September 21, 2010


During the past 10 days I was completely disconnected from the hockey world. Traveling in Spain and France, I wasn't able to watch any hockey, check "Q" scores, etc... I guess that's healthy every now and then.

One of the highlights of my trip was having an opportunity to attend a Barcelona FC match. Strangely, it felt like a hockey game because of the high amount of offensive production. "Barce!", as the fans call their club, beat a Greek team named Panathinikos 5-1 in Champion League play. My highlights were:

1) Lionel Messi. Many consider him to be one of the best players in the world. He scored two goals, hit the cross bar and was stopped on a penalty shot attempt. A treat to watch.

2) The stadium. It holds about 92 thousand supporters and the crowd is as passionate as Montreal hockey fans. My fiancee and I paid 55 euro each for nose bleed seats but our birds eye view was extraordinary none the less.

3) The fans. Simply put, they're very passionate people. Throughout the game, whenever the referee made (or didn't make) a call, the fans displayed their displeasure by pretending to axe their own heads off with their hands, as if to say: "off with his head".

Okay. Okay. Back to hockey. Below is a summary of the seven Montreal Junior players who have been attending NHL training camps along with a status report on each player:

Louis Leblanc, Centerman (19), Montreal Canadiens:
The Montreal Canadiens' 1st round pick in 2009 is off to a hot start in the Habs' training camp. He scored a couple of goals in one of the team's Red and White inter-squad games. Today it was announced that Leblanc will play in his first ever NHL game when the Habs face off against the Boston Bruins tomorrow night at the Bell Center. The game will be televised on RDS.

Philippe Lefebvre, Left Winger (19), Montreal Canadiens:
Undrafted in 2009 Lefebvre earned an invitation to the Montreal Canadiens training camp last summer. He made good impression with the team and left with a 3 year entry level contract. Lefebvre was back at the Habs' camp this year however he was cut yesterday and therefore won't have a chance to participate in any pre-season NHL action. Lefebvre will be in the Juniors lineup this Friday night.

Louis-Marc Aubry, Centerman (19), Detroit Red Wings:
Aubry was drafted by Detroit this summer in the 3rd round of the NHL entry draft. Participating in his first camp Aubry played in a number of rookie games. He was cut today along with 12 other junior aged players. He is expected to make his season debut with the Juniors this Friday.

Trevor Parkes, Right Winger (19), Detroit Red Wings:
Strangely he went undrafted last June. But days following the draft he was approached by both the Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings with camp invitations. Parkes decided the Wings were a "better fit". He attended their development camp in July and their training camp this September. The Wings sent 13 junior aged players back to their club teams today but surprisingly Parkes name wasn't on the cut list. I'm assuming he's still at the Wings camp and they're deciding whether or not to offer him a contract. If they don't, Parkes becomes available to any another NHL franchise.

Charles-Olivier Roussel, Defenseman (19), Nashville Predators:
Drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 2nd round of the 2009 NHL entry draft, Roussel participated in his second training camp this September. Earlier today it was announced that Nashville would trim their camp roster down to 50 players and Roussel would be one of 6 junior players sent back to their respective Junior teams. Roussel will suit up for the Juniors this Friday night.

Charles Landry, Defenseman (19), Tampa Bay Lightning:
He took part in the Tampa Bay Lightning's training camp after being a last minute camp invitee. Landry took advantage of the opportunity earning a 3 year entry level contract that was signed last week. Tampa Bay General Manager Steve Yzerman has said Landry will continue his development with the Montreal Juniors Hockey Club for the remainder of the 2010-2011 campaign. Landry is expected to be in the Juniors lineup this Friday night.

Jean-Francois Berube, Goaltender (19), Los Angeles Kings:
He was drafted by Los Angeles in the 4th round of the 2009 NHL entry draft after the Kings traded up a few draft position to snag him. Berube is still participating at the Kings' training camp and is expected to start in nets for an exhibition game this Thursday night.