Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Habs AHL Affiliate in Holding Pattern until Montreal Finds a General Manager: Hamilton Bulldogs in Holding Pattern

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Habs AHL Affiliate in Holding Pattern until Montreal Finds a General Manager: Hamilton Bulldogs in Holding Pattern

Article excerpt

HAMILTON - Clem Jodoin answered every question he could on the Hamilton Bulldogs' failed season -- but what he couldn't answer was what's next.

"Everything is up in the air right now," said the Hamilton coach, ditching his usual suit jacket for a crisp white golf shirt as the team cleared out their lockers Monday.

"What's the role that we're going to take (with Montreal)?" Jodoin asked. "Who are going to be our veterans next year?"

"Even for us (coaches), we don't know if we're going to be here. Maybe the new GM will bring somebody from his group."

Since former Habs general manager Pierre Gauthier was fired at the end of March, the team has been under the control of Montreal assistant GM Larry Carriere. The Habs insist the future direction of the club -- and the Hamilton Bulldogs -- is up to the next GM. It leaves the Dogs in a state of limbo with 16 roster players all looking for contracts, five of whom are unrestricted free agents.

On the ice, the Hamilton Bulldogs failed to make the playoffs this year, dropping out of the picture early after making the Western Conference finals for the past two years.

Hamilton won their final two games with nothing on the line after Montreal returned six players including forwards Blake Geoffrion, Aaron Palushaj, Louis Leblanc, Gabriel Dumont, defenceman Frederic St. Denis and goalie Robert Mayer.

Hamilton finished the season 34-35-7, good for last in the North Division. The late nearly .500 record masks a two-win November in which the team struggled to skate a full lineup,

"There were a few stretches in there where we were so undermanned and under-confident that it kind of bit us," said Brian Willsie, the team's leading scorer with 18 goals and 44 points.

"It would be, 'Okay we finally have our team,' and then something would happen in Montreal and we'd lose a couple guys," Willsie added. "We had a few long stretches where we couldn't seem to score goals."

Hamilton scored the fewest goals of any American Hockey League team this season with 185. …

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