Memorial Cup Starts Today

First, here's a nice summary of what and who to look for in the Memorial Cup. Follow the link for more analysis. 

SenShot’s Memorial Cup Preview " SenShot | An Ottawa Senators Blog

The Memorial Cup begins Friday Night in Mississauga, with the host Majors being joined by Quebec League champion Saint John Sea Dogs, Western League champion Kootenay Ice and OHL champion Owen Sound Attack.

This tournament [...] is a 6 game round robin format. [...] Each team play one another once. [...] The best team in the round robin [advances] to the Final, while 2nd & 3rd place play a semi-final game.  

[...]

The Kootenay Ice

marched through the WHL playoffs with a record of 16-3.  [...] [They] swept the top ranked WHL team, the Saskatoon Blades [Brayden Schenn] in round 2 and the Medicine Hat Tigers [Linden Vey] in round 3.  

The Owen Sound Attack

get into the Memorial Cup as the OHL Champions after defeating the host Mississauga Majors in the OHL Finals.  The Attack beat the London Knights 4-2, and then swept the Plymouth Whalers [Robert Czarnik]. [...] The Attack dispatched the defending Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires in 5 games. They had their hands full with the Majors, but the Attack managed to pull out a game 7 OT victory to win the OHL title.

The Saint John Sea Dogs

come into the Memorial Cup as the clear cut favorites, having been ranked #1 for most of the season.  The Sea Dogs stormed through the QMJHL playoffs with a record of 16-3, sweeping Cape Breton in round 1 and then eliminating Drummondville in 5.  They swept the Lewiston MAINEiacs and then dispatched the Gatineau Olympiques [Nicolas Deslauriers]  in 6 games to win the QMJHL title.

The Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors

were named the host club last May, and they have geared their entire season towards this week.  The top ranked OHL team in the regular season, the Majors swept through the Belleville Bulls and Sudbury Wolves before taking out the Niagara Ice Dogs in 5 games.  They then took a 3-2 series lead over Owen Sound before dropping the last two games to finish as the OHL runner-up.

GAME SCHEDULE [...]

[THESE TIMES ARE EASTERN]

  • Round-Robin Game 1 – Saint John vs. Mississauga on Friday May 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm
  • Round-Robin Game 2 – Owen Sound vs. Kootenay on Saturday May 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm
  • Round-Robin Game 3 – Mississauga vs. Kootenay on Sunday May 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm
  • Round-Robin Game 4 – Owen Sound vs. Saint John on Monday May 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm
  • Round-Robin Game 5 – Kootenay vs. Saint John on Tuesday May 24, 2011 at 7:00 pm
  • Round-Robin Game 6 – Mississauga vs. Owen Sound on Wednesday May 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm
  • Tie-Breaker (if necessary) – Thursday May 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm
  • Semi-Final – Friday May 27, 2011 at 7:00 pm
  • Championship Final – Sunday May 29, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Memorial Cup capsules

The Memorial Cup begins on Friday at the Hershey Centre, with the host Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors joined by the Kootenay Ice, Saint John Sea Dogs and the Owen Sound Attack vying for national junior hockey supremacy. Here’s a closer look at the four teams:

Kootenay Ice

Western Hockey League champions

[...]

The skinny: Eakin, Reinhart and Matt Fraser — an undrafted free agent who has signed with Dallas — combined for 43 goals (11 of them game-winners) and 38 assists in 19 playoff games. McNabb, the Ice captain, led the WHL playoffs with 24 assists and a plus/minus of plus-23. But goaltender Nathan Lieuwen has been one of the biggest stories for Kootenay. The undrafted 19-year-old led the post-season with a 2.24 goals-against average, three shutouts and four overtime wins. [...]

Owen Sound Attack

Ontario Hockey League champions

[...]

The skinny: Owen Sound is the only team in the tournament that did not place a player on Canada’s world junior team earlier this year, and it could be considered the Cinderella story of the bunch despite its OHL title win. The small-market Attack are led by the OHL’s coach of the year (Reeds), and have the OHL’s two most productive playoff performers in Mignardi (15 goals, nine assists) and Hishon (five goals, 19 assists). The Attack are a resilient bunch, winning the OHL title despite having trailed 2-0 in the series. They could win if: They are able to establish consistency in goal. The Attack copied the Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs, rotating through all three goaltenders on the roster (Binnington, Stajcer and Zador). It worked for Owen Sound, but as Philadelphia showed, it cannot work forever. [...]

Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors

Hosts, OHL finalists

[...]

The skinny: Cameron is chasing the final jewel in what could have been his triple crown of a season, having already lost in the OHL and world junior title games, along with his captain, Cizikas. Mississauga is not a flashy offensive team, earning its success with hard work in all three zones and a commitment to defence.

They could win if: Kitsyn recovers from the apparent (or assumed) stage fright suffered in Game 7 of the OHL final, when he finished minus-one, and without a point in his team’s crushing home defeat. The 19-year-old Russian has 19 points in 20 playoff games, and he has the ability to use his size and skill to dominate in the offensive zone.

[...]

Saint John Sea Dogs

Quebec league champions

[...]

The skinny: With four potential first-round draft picks, Saint John’s strengths are youth and depth of skill. Huberdeau, who finished third in league scoring with 105 points, is the offensive leader, while Phillips (95 points), Jurco (56 points) and Beaulieu (45 points) are no slouches. The team, which lost to Moncton in the Quebec championship a year ago, was beaten just three times during this year’s playoffs.

[...]

Much will be expected from Huberdeau, who had 16 goals and 30 points in 19 games and became the fourth 17-year-old to win the playoff MVP award (Sidney Crosby, Dale Hawerchuk and Guy Lafleur are the others).

You can stream the games live for $7 here: MasterCard MEMORIAL CUP 2011. NHL Network is carrying all the games, but some (like tonight's) are delayed. 

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