Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates get a sneek peek into the future

Courtesy of Southern Maine Digital Photography

Courtesy of Southern Maine Digital Photography

Portland, ME – The Lewiston MAINEiacs will take on the Quebec Remparts for a pair of games at the Cumberland County Civic Center this weekend, beginning tonight at 7pm.

For the Portland Pirates faithful, when the Remparts take to the ice, they’ll be getting a glimpse into the future with promising prospect Jean-Simon Allard, who could possibly sign with the Sabres in the off-season and be in a Pirates jersey sometime next fall.

Allard, playing in his fourth year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, was drafted by the Sabres in the fifth round (147 overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. At 6-2, 185-pound, Allard is known for his offensive playmaking skills, something that should fit in nicely with the Sabres’ style play.

It hasn’t been all easy for Allard, who is trying to get back on track after suffering a broken jaw during training camp. The injury required surgery and forced Allard to miss more than a month, but it didn’t take long for him to find his way around the ice when he returned.

“When (Allard) came back, he came back quickly and he played well,” said Quebec head coach Patrick Roy. “He worked hard (rehabbing from his injury) and is playing well right now. He understands (the system) better, now.”

“I’m sure he’s the type of player that fans in Portland will have a chance to see and enjoy.”

In 26 games with the Remparts, Allard has eight goals, 14 assists for 22 points since his return, but even he will admit it took him a little bit of time to get going.

“The first five or seven games (the injury) sat in my head, but I tried to forget about it and just play my game,” Allard said. “After (such) a big injury at the beginning of training camp, I changed my outlook on the season. After 25 games, I’m pretty happy with my play.”

Although Allard is looking forward to playing Portland, he’s not looking too far into the future because he’s not yet under contract, like another Sabres’ draft pick Ben Breault.

“Buffalo is another step, but I just want to worry about being here and winning right now,” said Allard.

Courtesy of Southern Maine Digital Photography

Courtesy of Southern Maine Digital Photography

As for Breault, he’s not sure what to make of his situation with Buffalo. Drafted in the seventh round (207th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, he wasn’t offered a contract by the Sabres this summer. Buffalo had a June 1 deadline, but opted to not sign Breault to a contract catching the young 20 year old by surprise and leaving him with little options other than re-entering the draft or going back to junior as an overage player and becoming a free agent after the season is over.

“(Buffalo) got in touch with my agent around May and said I had to sign by June 1st,” said Breault. “And, well I didn’t sign.”

“If I can get to the end of the season (playing well) I’ll attract a few offers.”

He’s hoping that maybe Buffalo is a team who shows some interest in the off-season.

Both Allard and Breault are coached by Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, who is part owner, General Manager and coach of the Quebec franchise. His #33 was recently raised to the rafter’s at the Bell Center in Montreal and is without a doubt one the top-3 goaltenders to ever play in the National Hockey League.

When Roy walked into the Civic Center for the morning skate, it brought back some sweet memories, a time when he was just 19 years old and playing for the Sherbrooke Canadians, Montreal’s AHL affiliate at the time.

“The last time I came here was ’85, it was against the Mariners and there have been a lot of changes since then,” said Roy with a smile. “It was a good time. I was a 19 year old kid the last time I came here.”

“It’s fun as I try to refresh some of the things in my mind.”

Roy, who just finished play with the Granby Bisons of the QMJHL, joined the Canadiens when his season was over. He’s play 13 games that season, including three games at the Cumberland County Civic Center. He was very fond of the atmosphere, especially after game five, in which Sherbrooke would win, 6-5, as they would go on to win the Calder Cup.

“We went up early in the game,” he said. “The fans got into the game, I mean really got into the game as a couple fights broke out in the stands and Maine came back to tie it.”

“We’d get the winner in OT, but that was a special time and this was a cool place to play.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply