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22 ANS, toutes mes dents....
The tits - We may have a Sean Avery on our hands. We had a gem of a pest in Darcy Tucker a while back. We gave him away. Lapierre's career was barely a few weeks old when he single handedly created a rivalry between the Penguins and the Habs, between he and Sidney Crosby. The FHF are enthused that the Habs may finally have the cliched "hate to play against him, love having him on your team" type of player. The Habs brass kinda knew as much. This kid and his handful of big league games seems destined to reprise his role as Doctor Pain in the Ass. His audition was convincing enough to give the Habs marketing team the foresight to get his mug on one of the posters at the entrance of the Bell Centre. It reads: Maxim Lapierre, 22 ans, toutes mes dents. He's not going back to Hamilton.
His first stint with the Habs bred hope that a new scoring machine had arrived. He was sent back to the minors quickly though after injured players healed and left him without a roster spot. The fans were not happy. Back by popular demand, he showed little signs of the scoring touch that had people thinking power forward. He lost the red light skills but retained the power in power forward. A pest was born. Lapierre was smart. Knowing full well he would not crack the top two lines, he had to make himself invaluable to the 3rd or 4th. That meant he needed a mean streak. That's what would have made Carbo reflect: this kid's a little son of a bitch, I kinda like him.
Lapierre never looked back. He gave this team the little prick (both meanings apply here) they needed. He got under the opposition's skin, whether it was the best player on the opposing team, or the best player in the world. Every night, he found a way to relay the message and give the other team assurances that tonight boys, I'm gonna make life miserable for you and you're going to hate me for it.
The cellulite - When thinking of a downside to Maxim Lapierre, I can't help but think of Dennis Rodman. Here's why. The two-part arrival that was Lapierre's NHL debut last year featured two very different styles: swift, gritty power forward (like Rodman's early years with the Pistons -hair was black, the only holes in his body were his natural orifices), then came the pest, the Tucker-Avery, not really an enforcer because he lacks the physical frame (think Dennis giving Michael Jordan a three year migraine, yes along with three championship rings). If Lapierre has found fame in the latter role, how far will he take it? How mature can he be in arresting himself when his nagging antics no longer benefit the team and prove more of a distraction or even a liability. It doesn't ever have to get to this point and he'll have ample opportunity to show us his character as he attempts to fuse both players he has been into one very complete performer. If that happens, hold on to your helmets. If he shows up at practice with green hair and a date with Madonna, brace yourselves...
The armpit hair - Is a sequel to The Pierre Dagenais Story in the works? Can the kid stay focused enough to keep his roster spot? Inevitable line juggling, roster shuffling and injuries could make Lapierre the odd man out, unless he plays his role PERFECTLY. He's not a natural offensive talent, nor is he truly gifted despite his interesting dimensions. This explains why he has molded himself into the player he is today. More so than anyone on this team, Lapierre in his agitating ways is suiting up for a role, it's an act. If he fails to convince he'll be forced to reinvent himself in Hamilton.
In the VIP Room - The Habs missed the playoffs, although he tried his best to avert that disaster. He went to Hamilton. The extra reaction time afforded in the minors allowed him to regain his scoring touch. He scored, he hit, he annoyed, he did it all. The Bulldogs won the Calder Cup. He was instrumental in victory. The intangibles he can bring to the Canadiens were all on display in the AHL playoffs. He can be a pillar for the Habs for years to come, because he'll never cost them a fortune, will always be a fan favorite and will allow his leadership to solidify a bond with the organization; this can make Montreal his destination of choice when time comes to contemplate his options.
Chez Parée bound?... Through the back door, with several strippers waiting to perform a Lappy Dance for him.
7.5 Lap dances (out of ten) - This is based on his performance last year, on sheer speculation and on the hope and promise that the Habs may have found a player that can be shaped into what coach Carbo once represented, with a splash of what Kirk Muller provided. The result may be a blend of character, relentlessness, offensive imagination and a "Who do you think you're fucking with?" smirk that commands the opponent's respect along with a sudden need to decapitate.
Signature Song: Les Boys. As Eric Lapointe once said, si "y a l'coeur à la bonne place", this kid will go places.
4 am Smoked Meat Sandwich:
HF10: Sidney Crosby's still thinking about how much Lapierre annoys him. I hope he becomes this generation's Esa Tikkanen, the one guy in the league every number one centre hates for the sixty minutes of faceoffs lost, bruises received, and insults hurled in an incomprehensible accent that result when Maxim lines up against them.
HF29: I’m sorry I can’t say anything negative about him I’m afraid of a spear to the groin.
Panger: If he scores 10 goals, gets around 100 PIM and is over 50% on faceoffs he’ll be challenging Begin for most popular energy guy by the end of the season. Let’s hope his hair doesn’t get in the way.