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.

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