Tag:Maxim Lapierre
Posted on: January 26, 2012 11:38 am
Edited on: January 26, 2012 5:08 pm
 

What would all-Quebec team look like for Habs?

By Brian Stubits

Go back a few weeks when Randy Cunneyworth's "hiring" in Montreal was all the rage. Literally, rage. It led to organized protests against the Canadiens organization, not just Cunneyworth (although that was the impetus).

Those who didn't support Cunneyworth's hiring because he doesn't speak French were upset not only with the Cunneyworth promotion, but what they called the entire Anglicization of the Montreal Canadiens, Quebec's only team since the Nordiques became the Avalanche.

The list of complaints went beyond the coach not speaking French, however. Here is what the Canadian Press reported about the protests.

Protesters also complained the music played at the Bell Centre is in English, that announcements are in both languages and that the team has few francophone players.

I laughed when I first saw that. Would the people of Quebec rather have a team of Francophones that stink than a team of Anglophones that wins (of course they have neither right now)?

So that got me to thinking: What would an all French-speaking, Quebec-born team look like? I wanted to take a look and see how good of a team I could put together, keeping salary cap restraints in mind. (Hey folks, it's the All-Star break, just having some fun here.) Consider this my own All-Star fantasy draft.

Let's just get right to it, shall we?

Head coach

Alain Vigneault is the guy. The Quebec City native has actually tried coaching the Canadiens before, making the playoffs only once from 1997-2001. He was fired midseason in the 2000-01 campaign. But he's found success since moving on to Vancouver, winning the Jack Adams once and coming in as a finalist in 2011 (he was also a finalist in 2000 with the Habs). A return trip to Montreal will hopefully go better this time.

Goaltenders

Marc-Andre Fleury, Jean-Sebastien Giguere get the nod here. Now this is a position where I have a lot of choices. Fleury I think is a pretty clear starter based partly on his age, but for the second spot there are a lot of veterans: Giguere, Martin Brodeur, Jose Theodore, Martin Biron, Mathieu Garon and Jonathan Bernier. They can stop pucks in Quebec, that's pretty clear.

In terms of salary, Fleury takes up $5 million, Giguere only $1.25. So $6.25 million in goal is a decent price to pay, but not bad.

Robidas has spent time in Montreal already. (Getty Images)

Defensemen

I'm going with (in no particular pairing order) Kris Letang, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Francois Beauchemin, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Stephane Robidas and Marc-Andre Gragnani. Letang leads the scoring punch while Bergeron, Beauchemin and to an extent Vlasic adding some more points. Defensively, Vlasic and Beauchemin highlight a pretty good two-way corps. But if anybody goes down, it gets thin after that.

As a whole, the defensemen don't cost that much. Beauchemin ($3.8 million), Letang ($3.5 million), Robidas ($3.3 million), Vlasic ($3.1 million), Bergeron ($1 million) and Gragnani (550,000) come in at a total of $15.25 million.

Center

Now this is a group of guys I like: Patrice Bergeron, Danny Briere, David Desharnais and Maxime Talbot. You'll notice one pretty big omission here and that's Vincent Lecavalier, but that $10 million per year is too big of a burden, I don't know how the Lightning do it. But I still have two guys who can score, arguably the best defensive center in the game, a young and promising player in Desharnais and a solid worker in Talbot.

Naturally this is costing me some cash here. Briere ($6.5 million) is costly, then add Bergeron ($5 million) before getting a little reprieve with Talbot ($1.75 million) and Desharnais ($850,000). In total, they take up $14.1 million.

Right wing

OK, I take it back about center. This is where my team is really loaded. Check out this lineup of Martin St. Louis, Jason Pominville, P.A. Parenteau and Alex Burrows. That's some serious scoring ability on the wing. I didn't have room for Maxim Lapierre or Pascal Dupuis at this position, but more on them later.

As you'd expect, this is the most expensive per-player corps on the team. St. Louis commands a cool $5.625 million, Pominville takes $5.3 million, Burrows costs $2 million and Parenteau a very reasonable $1.25 million. Total bill: $14.175 million.

Left wing

Here we have an Achilles' heel. The lineup we could toss out is Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Alex Tanguay, David Perron and Guillaume Latendresse, but that's an awfully risky group of players. Each of Bouchard, Perron and Latendresse have dealt with concussions while Tanguay has been suffering with a neck strain. So to add a little stability, I'm going to convert Dupuis to the left side and leave out Bouchard -- more expensive than Latendresse.

The good news is this group doesn't cost a whole lot. Tanguay ($3.5 million), Latendresse ($2.5 million), Perron ($2.15 million) and Dupuis ($1.5 million) run up a bill of $9.65 million.

Scratches

Since he didn't make the list at right wing, Lapierre is going to serve as our daily scratch. But really he's likely going to be playing a lot at left wing with the injury potential. What he also gives is a physical presence. He's at least not averse to dropping the gloves, having five fights this season for Vancouver. Maybe we could try and talk Georges Laraque to coming back and serving the enforcer role, but undoubtedly sitting in press row most nights.

Lapierre comes in at an even $1 million.

Overall

The total salary for this team checks in at $60.425 million, giving our GM (we'll just keep Pierre Gauthier) a little room to maneuver or sign maybe another defenseman that would likely sit in the press box most nights.

Moreover, the top prospect in the system would have to be Jonathan Huberdeau, the player who went third overall to Florida in the last NHL Draft. He's likely to be in the NHL next season and right now projects to be a center but he can also play on the wing, so he could help out with the weaker left side.

In the end, it's actually a much better team than I thought it could be. It might be a little lacking in the physical department, but the team has a lot of ingredients: It has some big-time scorers (seriously, a top two lines of Tanguay-Bergeron-St. Louis and Perron-Briere-Pominville isn't bad at all), it has some agitators (I'm looking at you, Burrows and Lapierre), is good defensively and I think it's solid in net.

And don't forget, everybody speaks French!

More from Eye on Hockey

Yes there were protesters in Montreal
Quebec group unhappy with Cunneyworth hire
Owner: Bilingual coach is important

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 29, 2011 10:05 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 10:06 am
 

Watch: Joe Thornton messing with Henrik Sedin

By Brian Stubits

One of the more understated rivalries in the NHL lives on the West Coast and has been bred through playoff hate, the battle between the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks (those Canucks sure do seem to have a lot of rivalries). So it's not above the players on those teams, even the captains, to engage in a little gamesmanship.

See: Joe Thornton.

The two foes remade acquaintances on Wednesday night in San Jose (a 3-2 Canucks OT win) and it was what hockey people love to call a chippy contest. Lots of shoving, hitting and animosity. But don't forget taunting. Take a look at Thornton during a captain's meeting with he, the referee and the Canucks' Henrik Sedin.

Oh Jumbo Joe, classic move. It harkened back memories to the Stanley Cup Final from the summer when there were all sorts of taunts revolving around Alex Burrows' finger bite of Patrice Bergeron and then also the little pounding that Daniel Sedin took thanks to Brad Marchand.

I laughed at seeing Thornton's schoolyard bully tactics here, reminded me of what a big brother would do to his younger brother, harmless teasing. Obviously Henrik wasn't terribly pleased afterward, barking some words at Thornton as they skated back to the benches.

But this is when I wonder why the Canucks are despised so much. I get why teams aren't fond of them, on-ice action can do that, but the seeming universal hatred doesn't compute with me. It seems more often than not to me the Canucks are the tauntees, for lack of a better word, than taunters. Sure, Alex Burrows and Maxim Lapierre (maybe Ryan Kesler to an extent) are pesky and annoy, but the Canucks seem to take a lot more than they give.

It just occurred to me, maybe Thornton was trying to show the referee some of the amazing merchandise left over from the Sharks Shopping Network?

Video courtesy of The Score

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 21, 2011 3:37 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 3:38 pm
 

Did Burrows pull door open on Winchester check?

By Brian Stubits

Let's take you back to Sunday night for the late game in Vancouver. The Canucks were playing host to the Ottawa Senators and the question on Monday was if they were being decent hosts or not.

Mid-way through the first period, Jesse Winchester of the Sens was playing the puck with his back to the Canucks bench. Seconds later he was put through the gate and at the feet of the Vancouver bench.

Take a look at the play (shameless plug: Subscribe to Eye On Hockey's YouTube channel).

You don't see this all that often. Normally the backup goaltender is dilligently handling the opening and closing of the gate. So what has people talking today (and after the game) is whether or not this was intentional. You'll notice the man on the other side of the gate is Alex Burrows, and let's just say he nor Lapierre have the most pristine reputations in hockey.

Winchester, who avoided serious injury on the play but did come away with a sore back, had this to say after the game. From the Ottawa Sun

“It’s not a safe play,” Winchester said. “I was under the impression my butt was against the wall, the next thing I know I’m through the bench. I couldn’t see behind me, I’m not paying attention to what’s on the bench.”

When Sportsnet reporter Ian Mendes asked Winchester if he thought Burrows opened the door intentionally, his response was curt: "Go ask him."

Burrows' take? He's innocent, he tells ya (and the Province).

"It was a line change and at the last minute he got hit pretty good there and the door wasn't closed completely," said Canucks winger Alex Burrows. "He's a Montreal guy and one of my friends so it's a good thing he didn't get hurt on the play."

Now that you've heard from both sides and seen the evidence, what's your take? Is Burrows guilty of a dirty play by opening the door or was this just an accident?

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 3, 2011 11:21 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2011 11:28 pm
 

Clutterbuck accidentally punches linesman in face

By: Adam Gretz

Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck is a physical player and is no stranger to hitting people on the ice. Body checks on opposing players, that is.

During his team's 5-1 win against Vancouver on Thursday night he delivered a different type of hit when he accidentally punched a linesman in the face.

While he was tangled up along the boards with Canucks agitator Maxim Lapierre, who was trying to lift him into the Canucks bench (all while Dan Hamhuis, sitting on the bench, tried to pull him in), Clutterbuck started to blindly throw punches and accidentally connected with the face of linesman Darren Gibbs. Observe...



Embarrassing and unfortunate, sure, but there's no way it was intentional. Clutterbuck, Lapierre and Hamhuis all received 10-minute misconducts for their roles in the scrum.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: August 8, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2011 6:52 pm
 

Daniel Carcillo is ready to play Vancouver

CarcilloBy: Adam Gretz

You may know Daniel Carcillo as one of the NHL's agitators and on-ice rabble rousers that is never shy about getting under the skin of an opposing player, and unless he plays for your team, you probably don't like him all that much because of it. Sometimes he takes it a bit too far, and sometimes he chooses the wrong time and place (like this, for example). But plenty of teams have found value in what he brings to the table, including the club that signed him this summer - the Chicago Blackhawks.

On Monday he had an opportunity to speak to the media for the first time -- along with fellow offseason addition Andrew Brunnette -- and was asked his opinion on the Blackhawks top playoff rival from the past couple of seasons, the Vancouver Canucks, and whether or not he's done any research on them in an effort to, basically, annoy the crap out of them

"I watched that series," said Carcillo. "I'm actually pretty excited to play them because there's a few guys there that I think played a little bit outside of their shoes, and I think I can keep most of those guys in check when we play them this year. I'm pretty excited to play them."

When asked specifically which players he was looking forward to playing he mentioned Maxim Lapierre (he placed him at the top of the list), Tanner Glass and Raffi Torres, with the only potential problem being that Glass and Torres no longer play for the Canucks, having signed with Winnipeg and Phoenix this summer. But Lapierre is still there, and between the two of them, there may be no two players that are disliked more across the league. So that certainly adds a bit of intrigue to a matcup that needed no additional hype. And, hey, with a preemptive strike to Glass and Torres, perhaps it makes their games with Phoenix and Winnipeg a little more interesting as well, and that can't hurt.

The Blackhawks and Canucks have met in the postsesaon three years in a row, with Chicago taking the series in 2009 and 2010, while Vancouver managed to hold on for a Game 7 win in the opening round this past season after letting a 3-0 series lead slip away.

The two teams meet for the first time on November 16 in Vancouver.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: June 10, 2011 11:42 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2011 8:10 pm
 

Game 5: Canucks in trouble? Not with home ice

It's a truism in any playoff series, from baseball to hockey. You aren't in trouble until you lose a game at home.

After two embarrassing showings in Boston, a lot of people thought Vancouver was in serious jeopardy. It's easy to see why. The Bruins throttled the Canucks 12-1 in the two games, taking a massive helping of momentum with them back to the West Coast.

But something funny happened when they returned home -- the Canucks remembered how to play defense. They were stingy, didn't give too many scoring chances to the Bruins and were as physical as they have been at any point in this series.

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This is nothing unusual; it's why you fight all season long for home-ice advantage. Since 2009, home teams are nearly invincible in the Stanley Cup Finals, going 16-2 with Friday's 1-0 Canucks win in Game 5 the latest example.

It's hard to pinpoint the exact reason home teams are doing so well in the final round. Before the Finals, the home/road numbers were close to even, with host teams going just 46-40, a .535 winning percentage. But in the Finals ...

Maybe Vancouver's Maxim Lapierre has an explanation.

"First of all, we were playing with more confidence," Lapierre said.

After those games in Boston? Yea, about the only reason for confidence I can find is playing in their arena. If it helps the players get more right between the ears, then so be it.

The crowd certainly helps. From the opening faceoff -- no surprise -- the Canucks nuts were in full throat, roaring to each and every Canucks hit, takeaway, shot and save. I'm not one much into intangibles, but it is hard to deny the role a juiced up crowd can play. Sometimes it just helps the adrenaline flow a little freer. Whatever works.

"The two teams that are here are good team and they don't give home-ice advantage away that easily," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I think we've been a decent road team for most of the season, and right now, what we have to do is go back home and create a Game 7 so we get another shot at 'em here."

So while home ice cured the defensive woes and Roberto Luongo -- who saved all 31 shots he faced -- it's still no fix for the offense. Vancouver, and the Sedin twins in particular, are still being stymied by Boston and Tim Thomas. The twins and the Canucks had more opportunities -- some turned away by Thomas, others flat out missed -- but they need to find a way to get more biscuits into the basket. Again, it was improved, but there's still work to be done.

Lapierre scored the only goal of the game midway through the third period. It was a pass -- or shot? -- from Kevin Bieksa that sailed way right of Thomas in the cage and ricocheted right to Lapierre sitting on the other side of the net unmanned. From there he skipped the puck off Thomas from a sharp angle and we had the game's lone score. Lapierre admitted to the good fortune on the play.

"We got lucky, good bounce. It was challenging there for us, right spot at the right time."

When your defense is playing so well and Luongo is back on his game after being pulled in Game 4, Vancouver will take that. Luongo was great once anew, pitching a 1-0 shutout for the second time in this series.

"Everybody in our dressing room and around our organization knows Roberto's character and his competitiveness and how he prepares himself," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "He went out tonight and he played a great game for us. The games in Boston, a lot of attention was put on Luongo but it was the whole team."

Nothing like home to get it right.

Now Vancouver is one win from hoisting that Stanley Cup. And they have one more game at home, if needed. Considering how things have been going, I'm sure they'll need it.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: June 4, 2011 11:03 pm
 

Lapierre taunts Bergeron in middle of Game 2

Nothing like a little gamesmanship in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Midway through the third period, the Canucks' Maxim Lapierre found himself right by the Bruins' Patrice Bergeron in a scrum, as in the guy who had his finger bit -- I mean, possibly bit, sorry NHL -- in the first game by Alex Burrows.

So what does Lapierre do? He put his finger right up to Bergeron's mouth, of course. Not that Bergeron took the bait, but it was still pretty funny to see.

-- Brian Stubits

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com