Month: December 2011

Belliveau Out?

Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune

By Henry Whitfield

According to an article in the Chronicle Herald today, it appears that the Dalhousie Tigers are getting ready to let Men’s Hockey Coach Pete Belliveau go.

The original story speculates that long-time Moosehead assistant Chris Donnelly, who joined the Tigers this off-season, would take over the reigns behind the bench.

If Belliveau is let go, it’s another big story for this Tigers program just weeks after it was finalized that their Arena would be taken down at the end of the 2011/2012 season as part of the Campus master-plan.

Timing is also strange, as the head coach was given a five-year extension in July 2010, which indicated that administration was happy with the rebuild process that was ongoing.

The Tigers have struggled this season, coming off their best season in a decade and making the playoffs, hit with injuries and bad luck. They sit with just two wins after 14 games, with a glaring -48 in the goals for/goals against category.

However this turns out, the Tigers will return to action on January 6th, hosting Troy Ryan’s St. Thomas Tommies.

Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Monday Morning at 10am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.

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Drouin coming, now what?

(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)

By: Henry Whitfield

Oh what a difference a year can make.

Last year the Mooseheads were struggling, no light at the end of the tunnel and continuing on what may have been the worst three years in the history of the Halifax franchise.

In what has been a complete turn-around, this team now boasts an embarrassment of riches that is highlighted by the 2013 NHL Draft’s top prospect in Nathan MacKinnon, Czech phenom Marty Frk, hot-shot goalie Zachary Fucale and now Jonathan Drouin.

Fresh off a 5-goal outing by MacKinnon, the Mooseheads are ready to welcome back injured forward Marty Frk this Friday against PEI, before they finally get to see the talented Drouin added to their roster.

With all indicators pointing towards Drouin joining the team early next week, the saga of whether Drouin would or would not report is finally coming to an end.

The second overall draft pick in this Summer’s QMJHL entry draft, taken just behind MacKinnon, had spent the rest of this season with his QMAA team in Quebec for the Lac St. Louis Lions, where he easily racked up 16 goals and 22 assists in 14 games played.

The team now has some difficult decisions to make roster wise, with the team needing to drop numbers once the dust finally settles.

It looks like the odd two out, once players return from injuries, would be Falkenham and Desjardins.

Falkenham falls prey to the fact he’s young and will still gain experience at a lower level, but he’s shown he’ll be a big part of this team moving forward.

On the other side of the spectrum, Gabriel Desjardins’ stock is higher than ever right now and his age plays against him, he’s great trade bait and Cam Russell has shown he’s adept at making the right moves at the right time. With 11 goals already, this could be a career season for the Mooseheads forward and it has other teams taking notice.

With those changes, here’s what i’d see the lineup looking like early in the new year once players return from international duties:

Ryan/MacKinnon/Frk

Grenier/Boudreau/Ashley

Ciampini/Andrews/Drouin

Critch/Cuzner/Randell

13th Forward:Cote

Of course, Drouin turning up six months ago is very different to turning up midseason and he will have to earn top ice-time and his way up the lines.

Ducharme is pretty happy keeping the CCR line as a shut-down line and i’m a big fan of the Ryan-MacKinnon-Frk combination, plus this is a Top 9 Forward situation where any one can score on any given night.

Add in that shutdown line and you’ve got a pretty dangerous set of forwards that can contend with the top teams in this league.

Oh what a difference a year can make.

Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Monday Morning at 10am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.

 

Moose Talk Monday

The reaction to MacKinnon's 4th goal, after a review.

(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)

By: Henry Whitfield 

Another edition of Moose Talk Monday and the Halifax Mooseheads just keep on rolling.

Gabriel Desjardins took over Friday night’s battle with the Gatineau Olympiques, playing the best game of his QMJHL career, scoring a natural hat-trick during the second period in the process.

Not to be outdone, Cole Harbour native Nathan MacKinnon stole the spotlight bringing his team back from a two goal deficit against the high-flying Quebec Remparts, scoring 5 goals on the night and becoming the first rookie to score that many goals in a game in almost a decade in the QMJHL.

To top the display off, MacKinnon scored four of those goal on Louis Domingue, one of the goalies invited to Canada’s World Junior camp, ironic after he was snubbed last week by the very same selection committee.

The MacKinnon Factor

Less than a week after a snub from Canada’s World Junior Hockey Camp, in a game against the nationally ranked Quebec Remparts and with a one-on-one battle against fellow standout rookie Mikhail Grigorenko and Nathan MacKinnon not only stole the spotlight, he grabbed it and sprinted away far into the distance with it.

During a night that many in Moose Country will remember for a very long time, MacKinnon scored five highlight reel goals and finally gave Mooseheads faithful something to cheer about.

Three long, hard years were made so much easier as MacKinnon scored goal after goal and then iced the game with an empty netter after dancing around a number of Remparts players.

The fans immediately stood, giving the 16-year old rookie a standing ovation that lasted for the last minute of the game.

Only one question was left unanswered after the game: How did this kid not get an invite to Team Canada’s World Junior selection camp?

Erasing History

Picking up their 19th win over the season against the Remparts, the Mooseheads have now tied their total wins from the 2008/09 season and with one more will tie how many they had in 2010/11.

With 39 games left, the Franchise record of 46 wins set in the 1998/99 season is a target that the team may have in its sights come March. Currently with a winning percentage of .707, staying on that path the Mooseheads would finish with 27 more wins, finishing with 46.

With players still to return to the lineup from injury and last season’s top returning scorer yet to hit the ice, that record could very well be broken.

Drouin Watch

Everyone is getting tired of the Drouin Saga, who missed games recently due to a groin injury, but we were able to debunk the photo that ran of the stick rack from a few weeks ago.

The reason that Drouin’s stick is present is due to the fact they were ordered pre-training camp and our very own #27 Brad Cuzner has been using the stick.

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Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Monday Morning at 10am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.