All Quiet In the Port City
The Saint John Sea Dogs plan to build a championship caliber team is still in motion or is it?
Obviously things have been very quiet on the hockey front since the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the remainder of the 2019-2020 QMJHL season.
The young Sea Dogs were finally going to make the President Cup Playoffs after a two year absence.
That alone would have been a massive accomplishment given where the hockey club has been.
It would be an understatement to say a lot has happened to the organization that prides itself as being one of the Canadian Hockey League’s best.
The Sea Dogs know that hiring Josh Dixon, with zero head coaching experience at this level, was a mistake. Their in-season firing of him was a tacit acknowledgement of that
Some would argue that Dixon was dealt a very bad hand with revolving door of player personnel.
The promise of championship glory in the upcoming years have Sea Dogs fans holding on to a glimmer of hope, but realistically is it in reach?
The up coming QMJHL Draft and subsequent Trade Period will undoubtedly be the franchises most important ever.
The framework of a potential championship team is in place, but the core that everyone has been raving about will be entering their third season together.
You can talk about the talent and publicize, promote and even pump tires all you want, but there’s still a lot of unanswered questions revolving around critical roster spots.
The Sea Dogs still have several significant holes to fill.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
The core group of this hockey club over the last two seasons have been beaten down physically and emotionally.
At times it was evident that they had their confidence stripped away.
Many people would say the Sea Dogs young talent weren’t insulated well enough and there’s no question they were exposed on several nights.
Is that really development?
Is that just the normal growing pains of a rebuilding team?
At times during the last two seasons they have looked defeated.
I get the rebuilding team argument.
I understand that completely.
I understand that there will be some growing pains, but there’s no denying the amount of turnover from a personnel and coaching perspective.
Who’s the Sea Dogs number one goaltending moving forward?
How are the Sea Dogs going to find a way to balance out their offensive attack and spread the wealth?
How are the Sea Dogs going to address their defensive structure and accountability?
Who will be the Sea Dogs overagers for the next two seasons?
Do the Sea Dogs have enough character and resiliency within their core group to become a championship team?
Perhaps the worst kept secret right now in the Port City is the return for Nicolas Guay trade.
Two sources suggest Océanic defensive stalwart Christopher Inniss will be patrolling the Sea Dogs blueline in the up coming season, which is fantastic news given his solid two-way style of play.
Inniss’ addition addresses one of the burning questions, but it certainly doesn’t answer them all like who is the Saint John Sea Dogs Head Coach?
Is Jeff Cowan returning as coach? The Sea Dogs have yet to remove the interim tag from his title.
When will a decision be made?
If Cowan does return who will they hire as a second assistant?
A veteran guy or another younger coach who can connect and relate to the players?
I’m reminded of a scene from Moneyball where the late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman who portrayed Art Howe discusses a one year contract and the perception of that to Athletics GM Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt.
It’s rumoured that the Sea Dogs have re-evaluated their collection of coaches over the past years at the end of every season.
Obviously, every franchise has the right to operate their club as they see fit and business is business, but one would think that the Dogs would ultimately want to know who their Head Coach is going to be before the upcoming QMJHL Draft.
Cowan did a very good job as interim Head Coach this season, but if the Dogs don’t decide to reup their long time Asst Coach who would they target?
The questions surrounding the hockey operations side and on ice product is one thing, but the off ice dealings are another.
Jim Midgley’s name keeps circulating and there’s no question that Midgley would be a fantastic fit if the job does become available.
Are the Saint John Sea Dogs hiding something?
The TD Station is a municipally-owned and operated building. How can the Sea Dogs justify keeping the terms of their deal with TD secret from the public?
With so many questions and so many unknowns floating around the Saint John Sea Dogs both on and off the ice at the current time one would assume that the organization is working diligently to resolve all of its issues.
As they say perhaps we should let sleeping dogs lie.