Montreal did not have a successful weekend. They lost
against Rouyn Noranda 5-1 and to Val D'Or 3-2. Both
teams rank near the bottom of the Q standings.
On Friday, RDS' QMJHL guru Stéphane Leroux released a controversial blog containing his opinion about the management of the Montreal Juniors front office. Leroux's words will without a doubt create a stir around the city and the league but the Juniors can only hope the news generate more followers heading into the Q playoffs. The timing of Leroux's blog is strange considering the Juniors success this season. You'd think he'd wait until the off season to share such a fierce opinion. I'm sure Leroux made these comments with good intentions in an effort to push the Juniors to improve their operations in areas he has identified as weaknesses. But he did so by making some very strong statements. If I was him I'd probably be ducking my head around the Verdun Auditorium during the next few games.
The next piece of bad news came on Saturday during the team's bus drive up to Rouyn Noranda. Somehow the team bus found itself suck in the snow and the players reportedly (again by RDS - see report here) had to push the bus back onto the road. This resulted in the Juniors loosing 25 minutes of travel time. To make matters worse, this event couldn't have occurred at a more inconvenient time. One of Leroux's comments in his blog was about how the Juniors shouldn't be driving so far (Montreal to Rouyn Noranda) on game days in order to help avoid issues such as this.
Finally, on the ice (which is what this blogger really cares about), Montreal had their worst back to back performances of the year. On Saturday they lost to Rouyn Noranda 5-1 and on Sunday they lost to Val D'Or 3-2 in shootouts. To put that in perspective, Rouyn Noranda is the last place team in league standings, ranked 18th, while Val D'Or sits in 14th place. The Juniors still rank 2nd overall in the Q.
In more positive news.....
....Louis Leblanc is heating up at the right time. With only 5 regular season games remaining before the playoffs Leblanc is playing through his best run of the year. In his last 8 games, he has 8 goals and 7 assists. Much of Leblanc's success relates to the chemistry he has developed with his linemates, LW Viktor Hertzberg and RW David Rose, both of whom are also producing big numbers during the past three weeks. Hertzberg has 5 goals and 9 assists during this time, while Rose has 3 goals and 7 assists.
Looking forward to the playoffs.....
....Montreal is on pace to square up against the Halifax Moosehead in the first round. The Q has changed their playoff format this season which now looks like this:
Of the 18 teams in the league, teams ranked 1-16 make the playoffs.
In the first round:
#1 vs. #16
#2 vs. #15
#3 vs. #14
#4 vs. #13
#5 vs. #12
#6 vs. #11
#7 vs. #10
#8 vs. #9
In the second and third rounds:
The highest ranked winning team from the round prior plays against the lowest ranked winning team from the round prior.
Then in the final, we all know what happens. The last two teams standing battle it out for the Cup.
That's all for now.
Photo Credit: Ron Lemish