Saturday, May 29, 2010


I thought this would interest all the video gamers out there....

Last week it was announced that EA Sports and the CHL reached an agreement to expand the depth of the NHL video game to include all three Canadian Junior hockey leagues, their teams and rosters. Gamers will now be able to play as their favorite CHL team in both the exhibition and season mode. NHL 2011 will be released in September and will include the CHL feature. Here's the press release:

This is a wise move by the CHL since many video gamers are kids and teens who also happen to be the core of the CHL's target fan base. The game will act as yet another tool for the CHL and it's teams to connect with their audience.

I've fallen off the video game scene since my mid-teens but I have to admit that I'll probably hit up a store to buy the game. After I win the Presidents Cup (playing as the Montreal Juniors of course) I'll place the game back in it's package and store it on my video game shelf, right next to EA Sports NHL '93, the greatest hockey video game of all-time!

Speaking of NHL '93.....I'm a believer that, like cars, they don't make video games like they used to. Here are the top 5 reasons why NHL '93 rocks:

5. You can play as vintage teams (Hartford / Quebec / Winnipeg) - just classic;

4. Dangling with Gretzky and Lemieux's skills - keeping their dominance alive;

3. Getting punched by your buddy after using the classicaly cheap "wrap around" glitch move against him;

2. Being able to watch Marty McSorley fight Bob Probert over, over and over again;

1. Nothing beats playing as the Habs' Stanley Cup winning roster;

Monday, May 17, 2010


As the June 5th QMJHL entry draft approaches, you'd have to assume the Montreal Juniors are beginning to think about which over age players they plan to ask back next season.

In you're not already familiar with the rule, every Major Junior hockey team is allowed to have three over age players on their roster. Next season over age players, also known as "20 year olds", will be identified as players born during the year 1990.

Often times 20 year olds are among the most valuable players on their team both from a production standpoint and from a leadership perspective, making the ability to fill these roles all the more crucial. During this year's playoffs 4 of the top 10 scoring leaders were over age players.

So what should the Montreal Juniors do? Who should they keep on board? Pickings are slim since only four 1990 born players remain from last year's roster. The team will need to choose from right winger and team captain Nicolas Choinard, centerman and leading point scorer Jeremy Gouchie (seen in photo), checking line forward Chris Thorne, and steady defenseman Vincent Bourgeois.

My guess GM Pascal Vincent will elect to keep two of the above listed players, both forwards, and will then look to acquire a third 20 year old player, most likely a defenseman, via trade. Should the Juniors elect to make a move, it'll probably occur sometime this summer.

So who do they keep? Nicolas Choinard seems like an obvious choice to stay on board. He seems like a good choice to captain the team once again as he provides everything you look for in a captain. Choinard proved he can put up good numbers as he scored 59 points in 66 games last season. He battles hard along the boards, finishes his checks and sticks up for his teammates. Choinard plays excellent 5 on 5 hockey and is often used on both the penalty kill and the power play. Consider Choinard a lock.

After that the decisions get tougher. Who should Montreal choose between Jeremy Gouchie and Chris Thorne?

Gouchie seems like the obvious choice. He's a skilled centerman and led the Juniors in scoring last season with 65 points in 67 games played.

But not so fast. While Thorne doesn't carry the same skill set as Gouchie he does bring a much needed physical element to a Juniors lineup that lacks both size and grit. At 6'0" and 210 pounds Thorne played on the Montreal's checking line for most of the year and finished with a respectable 15 goals and 10 assists in 66 games played.

Then there's Vincent Bourgeois who has the potential to fill a top four defenseman position but also appears to be ready to focus on his education and will likely walk away from junior hockey. Last season Bourgeois attended McGill University and was a runner up for the QMJHL's academic award. If Bourgeois does move on to focus on education you can bet the Juniors will shop around to replace him with another defenseman this summer, most likely a 20 year old player.

No matter who the Juniors select as their over age players they better make it count if they want to be a true contender next season.


The Moncton Wildcats - cough cough, as predicted by HockeyPoints, cough cough - are the 2010 QMJHL Playoff Champions.

The Wildcats (seen in photo) defeated their New Brunswick rival, the Saint John Sea Dogs in 6 games. Moncton's fire power proved to be too much for Saint John to handle as they outscored the Sea Dogs 32 to 18 during the series.

Moncton Wildcats veteran forward Gabriel Bourque was named MVP of the series and playoffs. During the final 6 game series Bourque, a Nashville Predators draft pick, scored 7 goals and added 6 assists for 13 points while earning a plus/minus rating of +11. Throughout the entire playoffs Bourque played in 21 games and registered an outstanding 19 goals, 10 assists for 29 points while posting an impressive plus/minus of +19. Well deserved.

On the other side of the rink Saint John had their fair share of "no shows" amongst their veteran players. First line centerman Mike Hoffman (Ottawa draft pick) was held pointless during 4 of 6 games. Top defenseman Simon Despres (Pittsburgh draft pick) was absolutely terrible. In 6 games Despres registered only 1 assist and had a plus/minus rating of -8. Between the pipes, Marco Cousineau (Anaheim draft pick) was exactly what I thought he would be.....weak. Behind a slumping defense Cousineau posted a .881 save percentage and a 4.16 GGA during the final series.

Back to the champions, another player who should receive some recognition and be congratulated is Mr. Alex Wall who was traded from the Juniors to the Wildcats earlier this year. After cheering for this smooth skating defenseman during the past two seasons it's nice to see him experience success with his new club. Wall acted as one of the Wildcats top four defensemen along with David Savard (Columbus draft pick), Mark Barberio (Tampa Bay draft pick) and the soon to be drafted / highly touted Brandon Gormely. This foursome along with Moncton's goalie, Nicola Riopel (Philadelphia draft pick), are a major reason the Wildcats won their 2nd ever Presidents Cup.

Congratulations Moncton!

Friday, May 7, 2010


The Montreal Gazatte has reported that the Montreal Juniors have shown interest to become the anchor tenant for a new Laval arena that is expected to be ready for use at the start of the 2012-2013 season.

The Juniors aren't the only hockey club known to have an interest to use the new arena. The Hamilton Bulldogs, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, have said they would like to relocate to Montreal and would call the new arena in Laval their home.
The new arena would accommodate up to 7,500 fans for hockey games and up to 10,000 spectators for concerts. The plan would be to build the arena close to highway 15 and St. Martin Blvd. This area is known as the heart of the still developing downtown Laval. The cost to build the arena is expected to be around $93 Mln.
If the Juniors are successful in becoming the anchor tenant for the new Laval arena, the seating capacity for a game would increase from 3,700, which is the legal seating capacity at the Verdun Auditorium (seen in photo), to 7,500, essentially doubling fan seating space.

I'll try to provide more information on this story as it unfolds...