Ryan Tesink, who plays a gritty game while being built like a whippet, has probably accumulated more than his fair share of bumps and bruises over three seasons in the QMJHL.
There probably isn't a player in major junior who gets through a season that frankly is longer than is actually healthful for teenagers without needing physio and regular visits to the training room. That doesn't necessarily mean someone is injured, though, especially when he only missed two games in the first half of the season. The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada are contending the Saint John Sea Dogs concealed that Tesink's knee injury before their Jan. 2 trade. He had one, but it didn't impair him from playing. To get Tesink, the Armada traded Saint John back its 2013 first-round pick to get the 19-year-old forward, which could end up being a top five selection.
Tesink played in 35 of Saint John's 37 games before the deal, missing a pair of October contests due to suspension. The St. Louis Blues draft pick skated in the Armada's first six afterward before his knee became too injured for him to play; along the way he was named first star in each of his first two games. After he was injured, a cone of silence descended over his status. The QMJHL has not dismissed it out of hand, scheduling a hearing for Feb. 18.
From the Sea Dogs' media release:
The team has been summoned to a hearing to discuss the deal that sent Ryan Tesink to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in exchange for the Sea Dogs’ own 2013 1st-round pick.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is hosting the hearing in Montreal on Monday to discuss the case put forward by the Armada.
“We have always made the health and safety of our players a top priority,” says Sea Dogs President Wayne Long. “We will be reiterating our point on Monday, but ultimately this is a league matter.”
Knowing Saint John's fractious history with the QMJHL office, it wouldn't do to predict how this will be resolved. Sea Dogs supporters, not without some justification, can recite the entire litany of league decisions that have gone against Saint John. There was the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup host decision. Last season, Saint John had to forfeit a win because forward Maxime Villemare played in a game before his player transfer was cleared, even though the impression was that it was selective enforcement.
No doubt there will be accusations flying from Saint John that this is a ploy by Armada GM Joël Bouchard. Saint John is 15th overall in the 18-team QMJHL, so that selection could be used to land a player that Blainville-Boisbriand will need when it has to rebuild. One should also wonder how Bouchard feels about pulling the trigger on a big deal and having it fizzle. Speculating about agendas does not clear the Sea Dogs, though.
What this might boil down to is whether the Armada can prove to the QMJHL whether Tesink was already badly injured when he joined their organization. That might be exceedingly difficult after they played him in six games and waited a month to lodge a protest. That's outside of the normal 30-day return policy, but "normal," "QMJHL" and "Saint John Sea Dogs" should never be in the same sentence.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.