Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

QMJHL: Gallant banks on staying in Saint JohnAn early storyline for next season, of course, is whether the Saint John Sea Dogs can repeat as MasterCard Memorial Cup champions. The moving parts are presently too numerous to predict with any certainly, particularly after scoring star Jonathan Huberdeau was selected No. 3 overall in the NHL draft last weekend by the Florida Panthers, putting him on the junior-or-pro bubble. (Huderdeau, it says here and elsewhere, needs more time in junior even though the Panthers' forward depth chart is so thin you could read your Kobo through it. Plus an incentive-laden rookie contract would help them reach the salary floor; just sayin'.)

That being said, it seems pretty clear head coach Gerard Gallant is returning, as he told CBC Radio's Island Morning. Apparently, there was never anything to the former Columbus Blue Jackets coach being up for the Ottawa Senators' top bench job, as was reported around Memorial Cup time.

Brendan Elliott (CBC): "Winning the Memorial Cup certainly would be a pretty decent thing to have on the resume for a return to the NHL. Are you getting calls? Are you putting feelers out to return?"

Gallant: "You know what, no, neither. I've had a couple little feelers, but nothing serious, to be honest with you. There was some reports that I interviewed for the Ottawa Senators [head coaching] job, which never happened. I don't know how the report got out to be the way they were. Like I said, we'll see what happens here. I'm very happy with where I am in Saint John.

"... If something comes up, would I want to be back in the National Hockey League? Of course I would." (Island Morning, with audio)

There are a couple good nuggets in there if you have five minutes and 14 seconds to listen to the whole interview. Gallant made a note the Sea Dogs, having turned over half of their regular defence corps along with leaders Mike Kirkpatrick and Mike Thomas from their forward ranks, are looking into signing some U.S. free agents. There's also some good riffing on the reward of helping junior players mature that calls to mind the saying how the real coaching challenges take place at the lower echelons of the sport. It's akin to what Bobby Knight once said about he would be more satisfied to be the winningest coach of all time in high school basketball instead of college.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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