What’s Wrong in the Port City?
After a 2-0 start to the 2019-2020 season the young highly skilled Saint John Sea Dogs have hit rock bottom after a 9-0 thumping to arch rivals the Moncton Wildcats leaving everyone asking what’s wrong with the Dogs?
A Year of Promise
With so many top end 2020 NHL Draft Prospects on their roster and an overage goaltender, the Dogs looked poised to finally turn the corner this season after two years of struggle.
That’s just simply not the case.
The Dogs at times this season have looked very structured, systematic poised, talented and discipline.
That’s certainly not the case recently, it’s been downright brutal as of late.
The Dogs current slide started with the team blowing a five goal lead on the road in Cape Breton, things just haven’t been the same since.
It would appear Boutilier has to be spectacular just to make a game out of it.
The Dogs talented backend is still very young and have had some phenomenal individual efforts, but still haven’t found a way to incorporate that into a complete team effort.
Team defence, inconsistency and lack of “buy in” appears to be the cause of the Dogs woes.
There’s no doubt the Sea Dogs are building towards something special and there are going to be some bumps along the way, but it’s the way the Dogs are losing hockey games that have some people very concerned.
Junior hockey’s dreaded cycle takes time, patience, persistence and perspective, but this has a different feel.
Could the 9-0 shelling at the hands of the Cats be enough to elicit drastic change in the Port City?
Given the inconsistencies of the rebuild and the current trend anyone’s guess is as good others?
Sea Dogs President and General Manager Trevor Georgie has showed tremendous patience throughout the rebuild process.
The Dogs currently sit at 3-7 after 10 games which has them in 15th place overall in the QMJHL.
That’s not good enough and certainly wasn’t the start the team and organization was expecting.
A year that started with so much promise with so many young 17-year-old’s in the lineup has quickly morphed into survival mode which many of these player have experienced now for the better part of two seasons.
Junior hockey’s dreaded cycle is one thing, playing an inconsistent brand of hockey is another.
According to HockeyDB, the Sea Dogs record under Head Coach Josh Dixon is 30-99-17.
I’m not the greatest statistician, but that’s not good.
Dixon has been confronted with a multitude of players coming and going throughout his tenure with the Dogs. Nevertheless, it’s year three of the rebuild and the Sea Dogs faithful are anxiously awaiting results.
Patience in the Port City could be wearing thin.
So what is wrong with the Saint John Sea Dogs?
The team’s current record could be an anomaly in a few weeks when the young talented core find out what it takes to compete consistently, or learns how to play with a lead or plays as a team that sticks to its identity and systems.
I’m afraid the only ones that can answer that question are the coaches, management and the players.
No one said a rebuild was going to be easy, the history books can tell us that.