Saint John Sea Dogs fans know her as BeeGee, who runs the Saint John Sea Dogs Snippets blog. Some of you Montreal fans may know her from her Habs and Habs Not blog. Today, she graciously offers her 2 cents about current Canucks prospects – and Sea Dogs players – Yann Sauve and Steven Anthony.
CHB: Yann Sauve and Steven Anthony were pretty highly-regarded prospects not too long ago. What do you think of their progression so far?
BeeGee: Yann will be starting his 4th season with the Sea Dogs this fall and Steven Anthony will be playing his third year. Last season was a disappointment for the entire team and there were ups and downs throughout the year that also affected the play of these two Canucks prospects. Both players have steadily improved in their scoring chances and production. They seem to be on a steady course towards reaching their hockey goals. Last January when our top center Chris Diddomenico and defenseman Alex Grant were traded it meant others had to step and help fill the gap left by their departure. Anthony was one of the centers who responded and Sauve now shares as one of the top two defenseman with Simon Despres.
CHB: Which NHL player or prospect do they remind you of and why? What are their biggest assets?
BeeGee: There’s really not anyone that instantly comes to mind who they seem to model. However there are some similarities I’ve noticed between Anthony and Andrei Kostitsyn of the Canadiens although Andrei is a left winger, Both Anthony and Kostitsyn have a wicked and accurate shots but they often pass instead of shooting the puck. I think Steven improved that somewhat in the latter part of the season. He is a good skater and has a very accurate shot. Steven is a playmaker at heart.
Sauve reminds me a little of Roman Hamrlik in size and defensive play. They are both big and strong and can be hard to play against. They both can get into trouble when they have the puck. Yann can score goals but his biggest asset is behind the blue line.
CHB: Gerald Gallant has just been hired as the Sea Dogs’ coach. How do you think this change will benefit Sauve and Anthony?
BeeGee: Sea Dogs fans are hoping the old hockey cliche – “a strong defence produces a great offence” will be the result of our new coaching changes this season. Gallant who was a defensive forward and who coached in the NHL will bring a different approach and dimension to the Sea Dogs game. The Sea Dogs won 4 out of their 6 pre-season games, which is a good start. Sauve had 1 goal and 1 assist and Anthony had 1 goal and 2 assists. Only time will tell how this change will turn out, but they should do well under the Gallant team coaching system. Both players have a goal to play in the NHL and Gerard Gallant knows what it takes to get there. So we’re hoping he can push the right buttons to get the best from them and all the Sea Dogs.
CHB: What are your expectations of the Sea Dogs – and specifically Sauve and Anthony – this upcoming season?
BeeGee: In Saint John we are cautiously optimistic about this coming season. We’ve seen many changes behind the bench and with hockey operations. There will be several new faces on the team including two European imports that are highly-touted. We’re expecting a better season and a playoff position that goes beyond being swept in the first round. Sauve and Anthony will continue to grow in their game and mental toughness. I think they will be become better with the different hockey experiences they’ve been having, such as the Canucks training camps. Each year they have improved their stats on the team and barring injury, they will surely continue to improve their game.
CHB: What do you think Sauve and Anthony need to work on in order to take the next step (i.e. AHL and evenutally the NHL)?
BeeGee: Both players need to continue to work hard. Sauve needs more work on his two-way game (puck handling). Anthony needs to have more confidence in his scoring ability and to shoot the puck more. Steven Anthony and Yann Sauve are two young men that we in Saint John are proud to have on the Sea Dogs team. They are great ambassadors for the game on and off the ice. Wherever their hockey careers take them, they will always be Saint John Sea Dogs to us.