THE NOJHL ON OCTOBER 3

Five questions to ask three weeks into the 2011-12 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season:

1. What’s up with the Sudbury Cubs? Respected coach Bryan Verreault has announced his departure from the team. And the Cubs dropped a pair of decisions in Sault Ste. Marie on the weekend, losing 11-1 to the Soo Eagles and 4-3 to the Soo Thunderbirds. This can’t be good.

2. Do the reigning champion Soo Eagles have more depth and talent this year than they did last year? It would appear so. The Eagles have four players among the Top 10 scoring leaders — Brock Raffaele, Gavin Burbach, Shane Totten and Brian Depp. Not only that, the 8-0-1 Eagles have eight other players who are averaging at least a point per game.

3. Do the Abitibi Eskimos and North Bay Trappers have a legitimate shot at overtaking Sudbury in the East Division? As long as the Gong Show continues in Sudbury, you betcha!

4. Are the 0-10 Kirkland Lake Blue Devils a mere extension of the sad sack, erstwhile, Manitoulin Islanders? The numbers don’t lie. No wins, 10 losses, 25 goals for, 78 against.

5. Are the Soo Thunderbirds as good as the Soo Eagles? Without question. In fact, the Thunderbirds have an edge on the Eagles in the goaltending department with John Kleinhans, who is as good as its gets in the NOJHL.


81 thoughts on “THE NOJHL ON OCTOBER 3

  1. eaglefan

    Hi RR,
    I’m testing also!

    Went to Tbirds/Sudbury game Saturday. Good game, but the overtime was a fantastic finish. One second left in the 5 minute OT and Barbarie scored a beauty Great hands!

    Sudbury had a tough weekend. Don’t know what happened Friday night for them, but I hope they cure their ills.

  2. sigs2010

    Glad to see the blog woes appear to be fixed, RR. I was starting to get the DT shakes.

    Let’s give KL a break; as I overheard last Saturday, these are not like the Quebec Nordiques moving to Colorado with a loaded team, getting a few more #1 players and then winning the whole show a year or two later. KL inherited very little from the Isles, got no “newlyweds’ dowry” (1st draft picks or such type of advantage), are having to essentially start all from “scratch”, from getting corporate sponsorships, selling season tickets, to scouting and player development. THey’ve got their hands full and could use all the home support they can get. I suspect that some hard decisions will have to be made there too in KL, as I really wonder if that community can support both a Jr. A franchise and a AAA midget team, entrenched establishment of the latter not withstanding.

    Was at Saturday’s game and let’s put it this way, KL can use all the practice it can get and for that matter, the Eskis too, to sharpen their skills and tactics to take on the other teams who are extremely competitive. I saw a lot of good things from the black & gold (truly now B&G as their new blacks are truer to the original colors) from a creativity point of view, but also a lot of gaffs that would have resulted in costly mistakes against more talented teams.
    That hit by KL’s Scherer on AB’s Villeneuve late in the 3rd was truly ugly, and I’m astonished that Villeneuve got up at all. If he doesn’t have a concussion, I’ll eat my fedora. I hope that commish Mazzuca comes down hard on the bonehead; there’s no room for that kind of mindless cr*p in this or any other game.

  3. Cassio

    I dont think we know the whole story about Verrault’s departure from the Cubs…Rumours are that he and Ginson did not see eye to eye…Not hving Verrault’s coaching experise definitly hurts the Cubs IMO.

  4. upfront

    Big road game for the Birds tomorrow The way the Birds played the other day they were lucky to win still having problems on the back end maybe the new guys will change that for them good thing for JK

  5. Randy Russon Post author

    Just received word that Matt Scherer of the Kirkland Lake Blue Devils has been suspended for 8 games by NOJHL commissioner Rob Mazzuca for deliberately trying to injure an opponent during an October 1 game with the Abitibi Eskimos.

  6. upfront

    Big win for the Birds over Sudbury a few head checks last night ? interesting to see what the Commissioner does seeing how he has been handing out extra games all over
    The big money team not doing so well only playing .500 hockey at this point whats wrong to many ego’s ??

  7. sigs2011

    Bird-pecked Cubs on the slide

    will the real Sudbury Cubs please stand up?
    or rather, which version of the club will show up @ the Igloo this Saturday?

    they’ve lost 5 of last 6 games, 4 of these to the Soo’s, and been outscored 25 to 14.

    Que Pasa?

  8. Mike

    Bryan Verreault and coaching expertise? In the same sentence? Come on now! Have you seen a Cubs practice in the last two years? Have you seen the gong show behind the bench with BV yelling and screaming? Have you seen BV playing a line and half for two years? How’s the defence? Are the young defensemen improving at all or getting worse? And as bad as I think BV is, I also think that Rod Mackenzie is a cheaper younger and not too bright carbon copy! How low will they sink? Anyone who saw last night’s game can attest to how bad they’ve become. A couple of their players should be in Midget A hockey! IN MY OPINION.

  9. Brown

    KL;
    Better start scouting the Jr B leagues on both sides of the border. Or start looking for the cuts coming out of the upper leagues. Also need to start looking at young up and coming players versus veterans. I just watched a couple of games where Motor city Chiefs played ACHA D1 teams and they had two standouts. Ellis a goalie stood on his head (think Klienis only at 5’11″ and a 94) and a kid named Speers D a 93 again under 6′ but fast and tough and one of the top scorers in the GLJHL and smart. If you want a big tough D look at Mcauliffe of Chicago though he is a 91 but he can score too or doyle F who has a couple of years left and has all the tools. Anyways they need to put their program together but need to be like the winners and start scouting. If they start bringing talent the rest will come.

  10. sigs2011

    B/Devils vs. Eagles:

    ….O……M…..G…….

    I think even Peachy will be at a loss for words; given he has maybe 50 in his vocabulary, that’s something.

  11. accessiskey

    hey sigs2011

    Since it seems pretty much all the arenas in Timmins are out of commission right now. What’s going to happen to the Eskimo games that were supposed to be played in Timmins?

  12. Eskimos

    Good game last night at the igloo.
    lots of speed on both side but eskimo played the system pulled out a W.
    good for them

  13. upfront

    Great weekend for the Beavers 2 wins They knocked the Eagles off there perch

    The big money team looses again WOW

  14. sigs2011

    what the heck?
    Everybody’s dropped off the face of the earth or what?

    On the way up:
    > Abitibi Eskimos- jumping past the Cubs and the Traps to take 1st place in the East division
    > M-A Begin – (where would the Eskis be without the Beg?) for leading the scoring race after Sunday’s game
    > B-R Beavers – who got 4 points this weekend, including a big 2x at the expense of the Eagles, who’ve yet to lose in regulation and who’ve only now lost twice in OT
    > T-Birds – who are steadily chugging up and have practically tied the Eagles for top ranking in the NOJHL

    Treading Water:
    > NB Trappers; who in spite of a 5/5 record, could be on the verge of an upswing

    On the way Down:
    > SUD Cubs , who have slid down to a 5 / 5 record, losing (check my math) 6 of their last 7 games. In spite of the ample talent and size of this club, could coaching changes and ego issues be starting to percolate at the surface of this club?

    > If their was a category for “how low can they go”, I guess that the KL Blue Devils would be it. Without their captain, hyper talented but perhaps troubled Dustin Roy, suspended 2 games last week, the Devils were outscored 27 to 2. So what does Roy do in his first game back vs the Beavs? He gets a GM 21 and gets another 2x game vacation. Atta way to take one for the team, Dusty.

  15. sigs2011

    Access,

    What do you mean there are issues with almost all venues in Timmins? The MAC continues to have issues, but unaware of same with the Sportsplex.
    Please elaborate…

  16. Tier 1 Scouting

    Wow, going after Captain Roy is not fair game mate. Dusty has been in the fight since the beginning and rest assured that his comments to the referee were more than a kind hello but not nearly enough for a 2 game break. He’s trying to win hockey games and there are walls everywhere. I’ve been watching this league for many years and Dustin Roy is a premier player with good leadership skills. He will likely play pro somewhere if that’s what he wants to do. The KL Blue Devils are inches from winning games and deserve time and space to make that happen. Do I think they will win 3 games, no but I would love to see it happen. The coach and ownership will likely have some work ahead of them figuring out how to play against different teams in the league but Blind River has figured out something in the Sault so you can bet the Blue Devils arn’t far behind. Someone is in for a thumping from KL and it’s likely to happen sooner than later. The Greschuk has stood on his head and the backup is young and steady. Gillespie for his part has kept it quite cool and has shown some brilliance on his creativity in structuring the PK as one of the better Specialty teams in the league. A couple of players in addition to Roy stand out. Forward has been playing a lot of minutes and the word around the rinks is he’s tough to play against and has better speed than would be expected from a big player. Scherer will be missed as a leader on the team as he and Forward share the “A” duties. Word also has it that Scherer victim hurled himself to the boards while Scherer’s hand was on his back and tryed to draw a bigger penalty which resulted in a 8 game suspension. Ryan Brain can put the puck in the net but needs work defensively while Eddy has no business in Tier 1. I’ll reflect more on the Blue Devils after I watch the 3 game series commencing in North Bay on 20 Oct.

  17. NOJHL fan

    I see Mr. almighty Ginson is continuing on with Gongshow he had going with the Islanders last year, really to bad, Sudbury has a better team than they are showing right now, however, appears they are lacking the coaching and leadership right now.

  18. kurlydo2000

    is there a rule

    Can someone explain why the Cubs dont have their names on the back of there sweater ? After playing 11 games you would think it would be done . it would be easier to follow the game hey. SAD to hear Paul Gagne father pass away yesterday

  19. Rob MacLeod

    Where is the Scott Restoule that dominated the league with Sudbury playing now?? is this the same Scott Restoule who is now playing with Nipissing??

  20. bayinfo

    Props to both Soo teams rated 10 and 11 in Canada. This seems to reflect a little more respect for our league than in the past when such a mention would take place either at the bottom of the list , or one would be mentioned and the other an HM. Good stuff.

  21. SooFan

    Should be a good game in Soo Michigan tonight – some injuries on the T-Birds. But always a good game – the game Saturday will be another can’t miss game… Nice to see both Soo teams in the Top 11 in the CJHL rankings – good for the league.

  22. Ron Bentley

    Nice pair of wins from BR….hope they put together a string….too bad they are out of town when I come up to close the cottages!

  23. Brother99

    The rankings are out. Way to go Eagles and Birds number 10 an 11 respectively. Wasn’t long ago when Honorable mention was good. Any thoughts RR?

  24. kenadian

    Took over a week to find this new site…….
    I posted about my previous posts awaiting moderation, was wondering if Noob’s are moderated and those who have been around a while can post freely.

    I used to post fairly regularly and have just come back to follow the NOJHL

  25. kenadian

    kurlydo2000 says:
    October 11, 2011 at 8:19 pm
    is there a rule

    Can someone explain why the Cubs dont have their names on the back of there sweater ? After playing 11 games you would think it would be done .

    They have their names on their jersey’s [with a white nameplate] at all the games I’ve been to, course they are home games.

  26. accessiskey

    sigs2011

    The Mac is down for the count, was supposed to be restarting to get ice put in today but I don’t think that will happen anytime soon. The Mount Joy was down for a day; the Whitney is small to take on a JR A game hell even to small to take on the Timmins Majors not to mention its location is out of the way. That leaves the Sportsplex to take on ALL of the bookings. What I’m saying is I hope the Eskimos brass has a plan in place if they can’t play in Timmins one day.

  27. sigs2011

    Tier 1 Scouting,

    Look, friend, I’ve indicated in several previous posts that I sympathize with KL’s growing pains and expressed my opinion that the community should be patient and do whatever it can to support the club. So no need to lecture me or anyone else on that point.
    In regards to Mr Roy, I also stated that he has oodles of talent. But the lad appears to have a temper and needs to lead by example. He behaviour is unbecoming of the “C” on his jersey.

    And , in regards to your comment:
    “Word also has it that Scherer victim hurled himself to the boards while Scherer’s hand was on his back and tryed to draw a bigger penalty which resulted in a 8 game suspension.”

    That, with all due respect and IMO is a load of cr*p.
    “Word is” my *ss.
    700 in attendance will tell you different, and video exists to prove it.
    Your opinion constitutes accusing the league commish and other officials as easy dupes.
    Furthermore, “word is” the KL did not dispute the judgement.
    Meaning….
    So how’d ya like ‘dem apples?

    Peace, friend.

  28. eaglefan

    Brother 99, Soofan…
    Do you think it’s possible, given the ride the Eagles took Wellington on last year at the Dudley and the parity between the Tbirds and Eagles, that maybe the CJHL is taking a little more notice of the NOJHL?

    Can’t make the game tonight at the Pullar, but will be listening for updates between innings of the ball game. Great series eh Randy??!!

  29. ABITIBIAN

    I was wondering wtf was going on….nice to have the blog back up again.
    Getting caught-up on the here say ,my only comment on the Scherer hit is the suspension is well deserved.
    Are we having our game in Timmins this Fri. ?

  30. sigs2011

    NB vs ESKIS @ the Sportsplex in Timmins is ON for this Friday. Then back in I.F. for tilt vs the Beavers on Saturday.

  31. sigs2011

    access,
    Re. venues in Timmins, I’m sure that bridge will be crossed when the club gets to it.
    For this Friday, its fortuitous that the Sportsplex was booked well in advance. Unfortunately, the Majors play the same night, which rink though I’m not sure.

  32. Rob MacLeod

    Does anyone have the info on Scott Restoule?? is the one playing for Nip the same one who played for Sudbury

  33. Tier 1 Scouting

    Looks like the Blue Devils made it sooner than later as predicted, and every guy I mentioned except for the 2 under suspension factored in the win. Congrats to Dave Gillespie and Bob Kasner on their first win! Lets hope we don’t have to wait long for the next one. What is uppppp with Sudbury?

  34. Tier 1 Scouting

    sigs2011 – wow again there. Take it easy on your over opinions. I’ve seen your slight of hand comments on KL and you’re a wise player here on the blog so your contributions are useful but remain your opinions. Try not to drag everyone down with your ever-so-correct attitude and maybe this will remain one of the better blogs for Tier 1 NOJHL coverage. You carved Dusty and you don’t know a thing about what was said on the ice. I do, as I have spoken to both a ref and other people in attendance and Dusty got the gate for over zealous attention to a bad call… the commish is right and the games he was suspended for is a message to other players who might want to extend there happy thoughts towards the refs in the future. Scherer got the 8 games and from what I hear the wounded player never reported to the medical staff at any hospital in the area, but that said, I’m happy to see Scherer get a substantial penalty and suspension if it keeps this activity down. I’m only here temporarily so I won’t be engaging you specifically on any items as it just isn’t cordial atleast from where I sit. Good luck with your coverage and keep it balanced.

  35. kenadian

    Full marks to KL tonight and their goalie Appleby. Reffing (on the other hand) on the Chretien/Lacroix fight [forget which ref] had their hand up BEFORE the fight I’m assuming it was on Chretien for holding the stick yet when the penalties were called only 5 each for fighting what happened to the initial penalty? And then there was the KL “extended” too many men on the ice that for 4 officials to miss (when the crowd and Cubs bench was YELLING) guess they can’t see OR hear.

    Cubs are a mess, don’t know why they had a short bench, BUT to continually try the fancy dangling passes ALL night giving up odd man rushes etc……..looks GOOD on the “superstars” And the FLOATING and lack of disipline and back checking……..this teams in trouble with a rookie coach and some players doing their own thing on the ice

  36. upfront

    T-Birds win another one they just Gave the eagles a another loss this week Congrats Boys

    Should be a good one on Sat

    Congrats to the Devils on the big win

    Big trouble brewing in Sudbury

  37. sigs2011

    Re. KL over SUD,
    Good for KL, and this would be a great time for a Peachy:
    “Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha”

  38. Mike

    Yep, the “stress” is getting to Rod in Cubsland. The players, however, don’t seem too concerced with the coach’s “stress” level. After last nights performance, I think this team was better even before they played their first game. If you would put these 15 guys on the ice, without any coaching at all, they would be better than what they’ve become now. How many dangles do we have to see? How many stupid penalties? How many giveaways by this weak weak defence? How much ice time can one line get and still not produce?

    Tell you one thing… the mood in the stands was not pretty and fingers were being pointed everywhere. The fat mommas were whining and the fathers were whispering in little gatherings.

  39. Fan of the game

    It would appear to an outsider looking in that the Cubs are throwing games..are the players unhappy with management decisions? Are they protesting on the ice? Just seems so strange that a team loaded with talent is really at the point where you have to ask “can it get any worse?”….

    Time to have some real heart to hearts with the players…….

  40. Brother99

    Eaglefan;
    Absolutely, I am also a big fan of Kevin and Bruno for the kind of talent they have brought to the league as well as many of the other well run organizations and coaches. When you have high intensity competition night in night out your game improves. I think upper leagues have taken notice and I am sure the college scouts are too. More importantly I would refer a kid from a lower development league up here today before I would the NAHL. In otherwards the coaches of feeder teams to the NOJHL just took notice and to me that is the most important factor of the formula. For local talent to get better you need a good talented mix of outside players to bring the level of play up of both. Build it from the bottom up and upper level scouts will come and take a look.

  41. Mike

    Re : It would appear to an outsider looking in that the Cubs are throwing games

    The owner has two kids on the team that aren’t that good.

    The head coach has coached one year of AAA Bantam hockey and that team basically imploded as I was told.

    One assistant coach has never coached before.

    The other assistant coach coached Rebels “A” hockey in Valley East up to Peewee.

    Any other NOJHL team have such a pathetic coaching staff? Can they implement a system? Can they improve the struggling defence? Can they instill discipline on the bench? The players consider them a joke.

    Any other NOJHL contender carrying only 3 lines?

    Coach Mackenzie must be feeling the “stress”.

  42. scott

    IMO – Cubs losing streak seems to be all on Rod. Players have no respect for him and have yet to be penalized for it. Havent played a hard game for the guy yet. Cubs were impressive in the showcase but with a different roster from training camp seems they have lost some grit and will. Where is Haines Jr. i calll him. The one who scored hat trick after hat trick with verrault behind the bench. Him and mcmillan were solid in soo mich. When we played them again in regular season they had no top two lines. the second line was carried by haines with no one to pass too. Soo teams win cuz of respect and coaching. Before the season started sudbury won because of the players and now they are losing because of coaching IMO

  43. eaglesrock

    Eagles in a bit of a slump but I think it is good for the League when Blind River wins over the Eagles as its good for the competitiv balance.

  44. American Eagle

    Zoo Birds arefor real and Eagles needtopick up there socks…
    BORDER BATTLE again on Saturday in Canada…Can’t wait!
    Come on Brian, Gavin, Shane, Traves, Derek…
    GO EAGLES GO
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. sigs2011

    THank you, Peachy.
    My day is complete, now I can sleep soundly.
    Goodnight, and here’s to another weekend of great hockey action!

  46. kenadian

    So why weren’t my posts approved last night?
    You have IDIOTIC comments on here (not following the terms of service and netiquette) but MY post doesn’t get approved?
    Must be nice to sit there and allow a good hockey forum to go to crap,
    Keep up the HACK work then, Randy.

  47. LeJib

    Am I missing something here? A team, loaded with genuine talent, is leading by 12 or 13 goals against a hapless new team, mid-way through the 3rd, and they continue to play their top scorers, even on power plays? Can you say ‘running up the score’? ‘Padding their stats’? If this attitude continues against Kirkland, and possibly even Blind River, it seems to me like a sure-fire recipe for a 5-team NOJHL. The Soo has 2 very good teams, but is that really what they want?

  48. kurlydo2000

    Way the go Eskies hope i dont watch another hockey game like tonight with those 2 mickeymouse Reffs.

  49. ABITIBIAN

    Wow another win by K-L…who is this Tier 1 Scouting who predicted this outcome for the Blue Devils…Sigs2010 , you should rub elbows with this guy & throw in some predictions for the Eskis.
    Congrats to K-L keep up the good work, that’s how you earn some respect. See if they can keep the streak going in N-Bay.
    Tonight @ the Igloo for a visit from the west div. Beavers.

    Lejib- that’s the way it is…..it happens every yr in every league

  50. LeJib

    Hey Abitibian – Sorry, but you seem to suggest that this is a common occurrence, which it is definitely not. Good and fair-minded teams use that scenario as an opportunity to give their third and fourth lines plenty of ice time and experience.If your suggestion were true, every league would be reduced to a handful of strong teams. There would be no developing ‘weak sisters’, because there would soon be no fans supporting them. The referred-to situation was, purely and simply, unsportsmanlike. That’s how I see it, anyway.

    On another note, you once again have an excellent team to root for. You may rely heavily on a couple of premium players, but that does not detract from the fact that you consistently have one of the best-coached NOJHL teams to come down the pike in many a year. Well done!

  51. ABITIBIAN

    LeJib:
    Don’t want to make a debate out of this & I totally agree with you, this is when your 3rd & 4th liners get to see more ice and work on your specialty teams but it is a commun occurance, wait till titles are on the line at season end.It’s frustrating when you are sitting on the other side.
    I remember the early Eskimos when we would get blown out & the big clubs would come in with their big guns ….winning wasn’t the priority, titles were the main focus.Que sera sera.
    And yes we are fortunate here in Eskies land. Peace brother

  52. sigs2011

    Eskimos Lick B.R. Beavers,

    10-3

    Begin 5 p’s, Jus Kord & Therrien get 4p’s each.
    Solid team effort by Eskis, doing proud for their in-absentia coach Gagne who’s lost his dad this week.
    Congrats to the leaders on the team for keeping focus, and to ass’t coaches Cashmore & Hamel for steering the club to a 4 of 4 point weekend.

    Good crowd for a crappy (weather) night during hunting season.

    Now to refocus to prepare for first visit to Igloo of the Eagles next Saturday.

    :)

  53. LeJib

    Hey again Abitibian – I think we have agreed to disagree on the finer points. I also think I have found another objective Jr. hockey fan to whom I can relate. Maybe our paths will cross some day and we can really discuss ‘the game’ over a cool one. Meantime, peace to you too, bro. Enjoy the moment.

  54. ABITIBIAN

    Disapointed with the outcome last night, I was expecting a better game from the Beavers especially after losing the first encounter.It’s still early ,I’m sure Capy will work on finer details and has the tools to work with ,the likes of leaders McCaig, McAuley upfront, Pymaki, Hoffer on D and some young prospect coming up the AAA rank. There might be goaltending issues, can’t comment on McDonald, don’t know him, but Currie who was the starter for the Nickel City Sons last year got chased out early in the first.Impressed with the work ethics of #4 Thomas .
    On a brighter side, the game didn’t turn into a shit show, thumbs up to the Beavers

    LeJib: Blue Line club is always open… Cheers

  55. SooFan

    Thunderbirds won without 4 top end forwards – nice job! I’d say a few tweaks and this team will be hard to beat!! Nice job by the management and coaching staff… 3 wins in a row over the Eagles! Nice!

  56. kenadian

    I’d like to formally apozogize to Randy for my comments here (and in the Sault paper) in regards to a “hack” [at least I used a hoceky term...]
    I was frustrated that a couple of my posts questioning some of the posted content never got “approved” While some posts (that weren’t even hocky related) were approved.
    We’ve emailed each other a couple time and I think the matter has been settled (I did my 10-MISC in the box and I’m ready to play again)

    On a final note, I’ll ask again are all posts moderated? Or are we noob’s on probation for a set time (or number of posts)?

  57. Randy Russon Post author

    kenadian,

    apology accepted, no sweat, man.

    As for “awaiting modertion”, all post are set up this way by Sun Media, which controls this Blog.

    Regards,

    RR

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