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