<b>The Q Returns to Montreal</b>
Junior hockey has been a tough sell in Montreal over the last couple of decades, but following 3 seasons as the St. John Fog Devils(and 5 seasons without a Major Junior team in Montreal), Montreal native Farrel Miller purchased the team and has moved them into the historical Verdun Auditorium as the new Montreal Juniors.
This is a fantastic move for the city of Verdun and for hockey fans all across Montreal and Quebec.
One would have thought that the QMJHL would have needed a strong franchise in Montreal to keep the league strong, yet over recent decades the city proved otherwise as attendance and interest in Major Junior teams in the greater Montreal area dwindled.
That is no longer the case.
Hockey fans in Montreal are rabid and often enough, 41 home games for the Montreal Canadiens sometimes just won’t suffice.
Enter the Montreal Juniors.
Smartly scheduling all of their home contests to not conflict with any of the Habs home schedule, the Juniors will offer a tremendous alternative for hockey fans in and around Montreal.
Not to mention that they have the most NHL prospects of any team in the Q!
Here is the list of NHL prospects on the Juniors roster this season:
<b>C. Angelo Esposito.</b> Property of the Atlanta Thrashers
<b>D. T.J. Brennan.</b> Property of the Buffalo Sabres
<b>C. Adam Luke.</b> Property of the Buffalo Sabres
<b>LW. Adam Fillier.</b> Property of Los Angeles Kings
<b>G. Jake Allen.</b> Property of the St.Louis Blues
It is unsure if all of these NHL draft picks will stick with the Juniors for the entire season, yet they will certainly provide the team a solid base for its future in Montreal.
Here is the <a href="http://www.lhjmq.qc.ca/la...equipe=37">roster
of hopefuls</a> attempting to secure a spot on the Juniors for this upcoming season.
<i>**If the link does not work, here is the address: http://www.lhjmq.qc.ca/la...mp;id_equipe=37</i>
And here is the lineup that graced the ice for the <a href="http://hockeydb.com/ihdb/...0039812008.html">
St.John’s Fog Devils</a> last year.
<i>**If the link does not work, here is the address: http://hockeydb.com/ihdb/...0039812008.html</i>
Out of both groups, here are the returning players:
C. Luke Adam
RW. Nick Layton
D. T.J. Brennan
D. Maxime Pomerleau
D. Pat O'Keefe
LW. Matt Fillier
D. Alex Wall
C. Taylor MacDougall
RW. Samuel Grenache
C. Chris Thorne
D. Maxime Dubuc
LW. Henrick Lavoie
LW. Vincent Paiement
D. Tyler Gale
C. Pierre-Antoine Dion
LW. Matt Boland
D. Jeff MacRoberts
D. Patrick Parfrey
G. Jake Allen
There is plenty of buzz around Montreal and the Juniors are looking to use this to their advantage.
<b>Game On: GAT 3 - MTL 2</b>
The Juniors played their first ever home game against the Gatineau Olympiques yesterday. It was the first time the team had ever played(as a team) on the Auditorium ice and approximately 2000 plus(2124, actually) people stopped by to check out the action.
The Juniors ended up losing the game by a score of 3-2, but certainly put up a heckuva fight.
Of the Juniors NHL picks, only Angelo Esposito and Jack Allen did not play, while a handful of veterans and roster hopefuls played in the afternoon contest at the Verdun Auditorium.For the most part, the Juniors outplayed the Olympiques, yet could not get the scoring going until it was a little too late.
The Juniors outshot the Olympiques 9-5 in the 1st, 15-7 in the 2nd and 12-11 in the 3rd, for a total of 36 shots for the Juniors to 23 by the Olympiques. Although I was unable to record full stats through the first 2 periods, I was able to record them for the 3rd. These stats are very indicative of the dominating play by the Juniors.
Shots: Mtl. 12 / Gat. 11
Scoring Chances: Mtl. 8 / Gat. 4
Shots Missed: Mtl. 11 / Gat. 5
Face-Offs: Mtl. 9 / Gat. 7
Hits: Mtl. 6 / Gat. 4
The final score was a direct result of the Olympiques stellar goaltending. Gatineau netminder Maxime Clermont was stellar in the first period and a half, not allowing a goal on the 12 shots that he faced. He made a couple nice saves, but was switched out for Philippe Magnan at 10:07 of the 2nd period. Magnan went on to face 24 shots in the next 30 minutes and was able to make a few spectacular saves and allow the Olympiques to hold onto their slim lead.
As it stands, the Juniors seem to be putting together a fairly talented and competitive team. The team is going to be strong and should contend for a playoff spot.
As a season ticket holder and an avid hockey fan in general, I am looking forward to covering the Juniors this season. It is going to be a fun winter of hockey in Montreal and I look forward to scouting these future NHL’ers.
Here is a recap of the Juniors’ weekend games from the Juniors site as well as more information regarding the team:
<i><b>MONTREAL JUNIORS IN FIRST EXHIBITION GAME AT VERDUN AUDITORIUM</b>
- Juniors lose 3-2
Montreal, September 1st, 2008 - Montreal Juniors played their first exhibition game at home today in front of 2124 enthusiastic fans. Despite the beautiful weather and the long weekend, fans invaded the Verdun Auditorium to see Pascal Vincent's players in action against the Gatineau Olympics. After a spetacular game on Sunday - Montreal Juniors lost 6-5 in overtime after a score of 5-1 in third period, Gatineau went back home with another victory.
Gatineau Olympics scored once in the first and once in the second period without any goal from Montreal. The new team appeared on the scoreboard in third with two goals but Mario Richer's team scored a third point.
"We are still trying to build team chemistry right now but I really think the third period has shown what we are capable of," said T.J. Brennan, defensive player of the Montreal Juniors. "Our mentality is to never give up and I think that's how you become a winning team! We need to work on our game in the D-zone but we also know that it's our first game in front of our fans. I'm so happy to be in Montreal with this team!" added number 5.
Montreal Juniors play in Gatineau next Friday and the Olympics will be back in Montreal on Sunday September 7, for the last exhibition game. Practice is scheduled on Wednesday.
To know more on the Montreal Juniors
The QMJHL is finally returning to Montreal in September 2008, after a five year absence. As an established team and legitimate Memorial Cup contender, the Montreal Juniors rely on a strong core of young, talented players and a group of dedicated coaches with Pascal Vincent as their leader. Recently renovated for the team, the Verdun Auditorium will host the local games where excitement, passion and energy will meet!</I>
I will be back with more on the Juniors this week as final cuts near. Practice is on Wednesday, so look for updates mid-week.
For the time being, I am using my [email][email protected]
[/email] address for any questions or comments that you may have regarding the Juniors. I will likely get a new one in the coming weeks, but feel free to send any of your queries to that address.