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  #1  
Old Posted Sep 22, 2015, 3:07 AM
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QMJHL 2015-2016 Thread

I don't know how popular this thread will be since some of the regular contributors from previous years have either left the forum or seem less active than they used to be, but here goes anyway.

So far the Moncton Wildcats are doing pretty well. They've won three out of four games and are tied for second place in the Atlantic Division (behind Charlottetown).

So far I've liked what I've seen. The defence seems pretty solid and I think we have good scoring potential up front. In particular, the Klima twins seem to be a good catch. It will be interesting to see what happens when Garland gets back from NHL training camp.

There are two big question marks. It isn't certain yet if Jacob Sweeney will be back after his stint at NHL camp. He is a 20 year old and could go pro. The second big question mark is the status of our goaltending tandem. I have big concerns about that.

The Atlantic Division should be stronger this year. Our big competitors should be Saint John, Cape Breton and Charlottetown. Halifax and Bathurst are in rebuilding mode and should be league doormats for the season........
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Old Posted Sep 22, 2015, 3:12 AM
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Oh yes, some news about the Moncton Coliseum:

Bubba Ray's is sposoring a fan zone with stand up tables and live entertainment where you can sip a beer and watch the action on the ice. It isn't big (5-6 tables), but it's a neat idea. I hope they can have something similar (but larger) in the new events centre.

Mexicali Rosa's has opened a new Mexican food concession on the concourse level as well. Now you can munch on a burrito or a taco while taking in the game. Again, I hope this is a harbinger for the future for the events centre. It would be really nice to have a wide variety of food options available during the games.
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Old Posted Sep 22, 2015, 3:08 PM
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I think another interesting thing is on the business side for the Wildcats. They've changed all the weekend game times to 4:00 instead of just Sundays. I know this has upset many long time season ticket holders, but seems like they are really chasing the family crowds. Will be interesting to see how that plays out long term.

Also Johnston has been traded to Chicoutimi so they should have some info that Sweeney is back to fill the 3rd 20yo spot. http://www.tvasports.ca/2015/09/21/j...aux-sagueneens
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2015, 1:39 PM
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Looks like Garland is back in fine form.

He has six points in his first two games since returning from NHL training camp.

The Cats are in first place in the division with a 5-1-0-0 record.
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2015, 2:11 PM
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Halifax and Bathurst are in rebuilding mode and should be league doormats for the season........
I was at the Saint John season opener and Halifax sure got walked all over by the Sea Dogs despite the fact that neither team was managing what I'd call a stellar game... so you're probably right about that.
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2015, 6:39 PM
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Saint John will probably take the division once their NHL camp players all return. Cape Breton will have a strong team but I can't imagine the Sea Dogs don't take it.
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Old Posted Sep 29, 2015, 12:35 AM
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The smart pre season money seemed to be on Cape Breton, Charlottetown and Saint John.

Moncton however could be surprisingly strong though. The Klima twins seem to have been a free agent gift, and we should have two relatively strong offensive lines this year, with a strong checking line too. The defense should be more solid than last year.

The question mark remains goaltending, but our 20 year old (Fortin) played well in the last couple of games. If he is able to demonstrate consistency, we should be right up there with the three pre season favourites.

The good news is that the Atlantic Division should be quite strong this year and this will mean a lot of high quality and meaningful games to watch........
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Old Posted Sep 30, 2015, 3:32 PM
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No QMJHL here in Freddy. Id love to go down to see a few games in Moncton this year. After the last few winters it was next to impossible to make it down to a game on a good Saturday night for me.
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Old Posted Oct 3, 2015, 3:41 PM
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Ugly game at the Coliseum last night.

The Cats played well, and defeated Cape Breton by a score of 5-2, but the Screaming eagles played a dirty game, provoking a number of fights. I guess it was similar on Wednesday when the same two teams played in Cape Breton with the Screaming Eagles winning 7-3.

Conor Garland got into a fight with three minutes left in the game, lost his helmet and then hit his head on the ice. He was dazed for several minutes and was nearly taken off the ice on a stretcher. I'm sure he has a concussion. Hopefully he won't be out too long.

Up until now, Garland has been tearing up the league since his return from NHL training camp. He has 13 points in only 4 games. His loss would be a terrible blow for the team. The QMJHL had better look very seriously at what happened in Moncton last night. Apparently CB went out of it's way on Wednesday too in targeting Garland. This can't be allowed..........
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Old Posted Oct 3, 2015, 5:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post
Conor Garland got into a fight with three minutes left in the game, lost his helmet and then hit his head on the ice. He was dazed for several minutes and was nearly taken off the ice on a stretcher. I'm sure he has a concussion. Hopefully he won't be out too long.

Up until now, Garland has been tearing up the league since his return from NHL training camp. He has 13 points in only 4 games. His loss would be a terrible blow for the team. The QMJHL had better look very seriously at what happened in Moncton last night. Apparently CB went out of it's way on Wednesday too in targeting Garland. This can't be allowed..........
Every single game i've seen Garland play he's been targeted and does everything he can to draw penalties and simulate injuries. He's the best player on the ice but he often gets into scuffles and fights with other players. The book on him seems to be to get one of two players to just check him constantly throughout the entire game. The way he plays, fancy and flirty, just antagonizes players more.

In saying that he draws a ton of penalties.
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Old Posted Oct 17, 2015, 3:08 PM
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Moncton and CB played at the Coliseum again last night. The Wildcats won 7-4.

The game was a lot different than the teams first two meetings. I imagine the message was given from the Q League front office to smarten up. I wouldn't be surprised if the league didn't have observers at the game.

In any event, everyone behaved themselves. There were a few heavy hits, but no fights. One Cape Breton player was ejected for sassing the referee, but that was it.

It will be interesting to see how the remainder of the seasons series between the two teams plays out after all the dust settles. I think there's still a lot of bad blood there. They just contained it this time around.
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Old Posted Oct 18, 2015, 9:11 PM
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Well, I think my prediction of Halifax being the league doormat this year are right on the money. The Cats wiped their feet on the Moose tonight by a score of 7-1. We outshot them 40-14. The Moose looked like a pretty listless group, just going through the motions.........

The Cats are now 9-4-1-0 for 19 points and are fourth in the Q (first in the Maritime Division). We have exploded offensively recently and have scored 19 goals in the last seven periods. Garland remains our top scorer, but the scoring is pretty well distributed this year and we have two legitimate offensive lines.

Right now Moncton has three players in the top 20 scorers in the Q:

#3 Garland 7/15/22 in 9 games
#16 Weiderer 7/10/17 in 13 games
#17 Kevin Klima 6/11/17 in 14 games.
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Old Posted Oct 29, 2015, 2:35 PM
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The Moncton Wildcats remain in first place in the Maritime Division and have cracked the CHL top ten rankings for the first time this season.

Conor Garland is back in first place in league scoring with 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in only 13 games. The next player in the race (Anthony Beauregard of Val d'Or) has 30 points, but has played in 18 games.

If Garland could have played all 68 games this season, at this scoring rate he would have ended up with 162 points!
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2015, 4:44 PM
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Well, I'm embarrassed to say that I left the Moncton/Halifax game last night early.

The Cats were having an off game, were down 4-2 with five minutes left in the third period, and had just had a penalty called against them. I said "screw it" and left in order to beat the rush out the door.

The Cats killed the penalty, then Halifax had a late penalty called on themselves. The Moncton coach pulled the goalie for a 6-4 man advantage and we scored with two minutes left on the clock. After the next face off, we pulled the goalie again, and tied the game with 28 seconds left. To top it off, we scored the winning goal 50 seconds into overtime.

Garland was the hero, assisting on all three late Moncton goals.

I've learned my lesson. As the great Yogi Berra once said, "it ain't over till it's over"........
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Old Posted Dec 5, 2015, 5:01 PM
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Current Atlantic Division Standings

Code:
TEAM                            W  L  OTL  SOL   P
Moncton Wildcats               20  8    3    0  43
Saint John Sea Dogs            16  11   2    0  34
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles   15  13   3    0  33
Charlottetown Islanders        12  15   2    1  27
Halifax Mooseheads             11  15   3    1  26
Acadie-Bathurst Titan          10  18   2    1  23
I thought the Atlantic Division was supposed to be more competitive than this this year. Only three teams are above .500, and only the Wildcats are doing really well. Saint John is doing decently for having such a young team and I predict they will be the team of the future in our division for the next several years (but not this year).

Moncton's new back-up goalie (Blade Mann-Dixon) is proving to be rock solid, and has a current GAA of 2.73. He's doing really well for an 18 year old rookie.

Meanwhile Conor Garland has been tearing up the league the last couple of weeks. He now has 65 points in 26 games and leads the QMJHL scoring race by 13 points! He was named the CHL Player of the Week last week, and after our last game against Charlottetown on Wednesday, the Islanders coach admitted that Garland is a "superstar". There is no doubt he is the linchpin of the Wildcats.
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Old Posted Dec 19, 2015, 4:02 PM
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Current Atlantic Division Standings (at Christmas Break)

Code:
TEAM                            W  L  OTL  SOL   P
Moncton Wildcats               24  10   4    0  52
Saint John Sea Dogs            20  13   2    0  42
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles   19  15   3    0  41
Charlottetown Islanders        13  19   2    1  29
Acadie-Bathurst Titan          13  19   2    1  29
Halifax Mooseheads             12  18   4    1  29
Analysis - For a division that was supposed to be competitive this season, things are a little disappointing. Three of the four worst teams in the Q are in the Atlantic Division.

The Wildcats are exceeding expectations. With the loss of Barbashev and Dubeau from last years team, most people expected the Cats to be no better than third or fourth in the division. On the other hand, the Charlottetown Islanders and the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles have been somewhat disappointing so far this year - especially the Islanders. If I was the Islanders coach, I would be watching my back. The Sea Dogs are probably where they should be. Their team has oodles of talent, but the roster is quite young. They will be a top ranked team for the next 2-3 years. The Mooseheads are in the doldrums and will remain there for the next couple of years. The Titan are disappointing (as usual), but have shown signs of life just before the Christmas Break. I expect improved performance in the second half of the season.

Conor Garland continues to tear up the league. He currently has 21 goals and 59 assists for 80 points after only 33 games. He leads both the QMJHL and the CHL in scoring. To put this into perspective, the next leading scorers in the Q (Guillaume Gauthier & Francis Perron) have only 58 points. I just can't believe how the Americans left Garland off Team USA for the World Junior Championships. That's just daft!!!

The Wildcats have made some moves in the trade period already:

- They acquired 19 year old goaltender Keven Bouchard (as well as a 4th round pick in the 2017 QMJHL draft) from the Baie Comeau Drakkar. In return, they gave up forward Eric Leger and 2nd round QMJHL draft picks in both 2017 & 2018. Bouchard is a highly rated goalie with playoff experience (including the Memorial Cup), and is a 7th round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers.

- They also acquired 19 year old Czech right winger Vaclav Karabacek (and a 2nd round draft pick in the 2016 QMJHL draft) in exchange for a first round draft pick in the 2016 QMJHL draft. Karabacek is a natural scorer and a 2nd round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres.

Because Karabacek is a European, the Cats have released German defenceman Max Glassl from the team in order to make room.

Analysis - These are good moves. We need a starting goaltender on the club and Bouchard fills the bill. I predict that Blade Mann-Dixon will be our back-up going forward. He's been pretty solid since being called up to the club a couple of month ago. Karabachek will give our already potent offence some added punch. It will be interesting to see if he is put on the same line as Garland and Askew. I think these moves indicate that Robert Irving is planning on going for it as far as the President's Cup is concerned. This will be a tough year to do it though. Both Val d'Or and Rouyn-Noranda have potent clubs this year.

It always makes me nervous to see the Wildcats trade away future first and second round picks. We have a bad habit of doing this, which means that we tend to build our team through free agents and gambling lower draft picks on American players leaning towards the US college hockey route. Fortunately, we have had considerable luck with this in the past. Americans are more likely to play for a team like the Wildcats rather than a Quebec based team like Baie Comeau or Val d'Or, mostly for cultural familiarity.

I think we have a good thing going with the Wildcats this year. I hope the management doesn't plan on any more earth shattering trades. I think what they have done so far may be enough.
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Last edited by MonctonRad; Dec 19, 2015 at 4:12 PM.
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Old Posted Dec 19, 2015, 9:05 PM
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I just can't believe how the Americans left Garland off Team USA for the World Junior Championships. That's just daft!!!
Word on the street is that he spoke poorly of the American National Development Program. Similar to Ho-Sang with Team Canada, if you speak ill of the national program you'll never been invited. Ever. The Americans are stricter with this than Canada.
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Old Posted Dec 25, 2015, 8:48 PM
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I see that Conor Garland got a nice Christmas present.

He's signed a three year entry level contract with the Phoenix Coyotes.

This pretty much guarantees that this will be his last year with the Wildcats.
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