Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Maxed Out And Slighted

One has to feel for Maxim Lapierre, who has been sent down to the Hamilton Bulldogs by the Canadiens yesterday.

The demotion must feel like a slap in the face, taken in a certain light, and if I get a sense of the kid's inner determination and guts, he shouldn't be there too long.

I like Lapierre for a whole slew of reasons. I think he brings an element to the Canadiens that few others can bring, in that he is an irritant of the highest order, able to get under opponants skin and get them off their game. There's a brash eagerness to his play, being that he is the ideal third or fourth line player who can alter a game's tempo with an inspired shift or two.

In all fairness, Lapierre has had an average camp, and may need larger chunks of Bulldog ice time to find his game infull stride.

On the flipside, here we have a young talent, who was an exemplary leader of his youthful pack last year. He is as proud as any player to throw the CH over himself and head into battle.

Over the summer, he was one of the team's choices to model the Reebok jerseys and perhaps got to feeling just a triffle too secure.

Going back to last season, Lapierre was induced with a great sense of duty by the team and fans. After a surprise midseason call-up saw him score 3 goal in four games, he was returned to the Dogs within a week.

The move ignited a fury amongst fans. They lit up phone lines as the debate over whether it made sense or not for the Habs, under cap straights, to move a hot hand at the time. The fires were pissed out as the Canadiens brought him quickly back at the next opportunity. His play having cooled some, he made another brief Hamilton stint, before arriving back with the Habs to stay.

Or so it seemed.

According to Lapierre, when the Canadiens were eliminated from the post season, he let management know that he wanted to pursue his season and help the Bulldogs go as far as they could in the AHL playoffs.

From the first playoff date, until the final one, Lapierre was a dedicated leader taking on all the dirty work of defensive roles for the Dogs. Had Carey Price not been named playoff MVP, Lapierre would have been a worthy and popular choice for it.

Now I've never heard of an AHL Cup hangover, stunting and slowing the progression of a player at this level like it tends to wear on older gamers after a Stanley Cup run, but one has to admit Lapierre played an awful lot of on the edge hockey games this past winter.

Being all of 22, and crashing into the Habs lineup, before hoisting the Calder Cup must result in a cumulative head spin.

Think about it! Training camp is about to begin and the Habs annoint you as an off season merchandise poster boy. You're feeling pretty good about yourself, head all in the clouds, right?

Lapierre then plays poorly in a handful of exhibition games, likely figuring he's got his niche on the team carved out nicely based on his dual contributions in Montreal and Hamilton.

If he were a grissled veteran, perhaps he could be blamed for taking the pedal slightly off the gas.

But he's a young impresionable newcomer still, and the Canadiens likely want to cut complacency off at the path by throwing a fork in the road.

After Lapierre learns why the team prefered not to cut him any slack, and understands it, he'll become a better player for it.

Right about now, having seen Mathieu Dandeneault (a seventh D-man, crying out loud!) and Garth Murray edge him out in the Habs esteem, Lapierre should be about ready to combust.

This has to get Lapierre right in the pride.

Here's hoping he was sat down in both Gainey's and Carbonneau's office for a long hard talk, and that he left with an unequivocal belief that he remains in the team's best sights.

With his work ethic as his best friend, he should be back before long.


JJ said...

i am fairly certain that is was Aaron Downey loaned to the Providence Bruins.

JJ said...

100% certain:


Anonymous said...

Nice article.
My only issue with this blog: it could use some editing. The number of typos and grammatical errors is often distracting. I'd also limit the amount of "dramatic" turns of phrase like the one about the great white and the minnows, which didn't make a whole lot of sense in any case. I hope this is taken as the constructive criticism it's meant to be. Good work.

Anonymous said...

I was able to mention that it was Aaron Downey, but JJ beat me to it. Murray and Downey were both waived, but Downey was sent down while Murray remained with the team.

Murray cleared waivers, but no one picked him up, and they decided to keep in him the press box rather then send him down.

The reason they kept Murray and not Lapierre: Murray is not going to become a better player, be in the Hamilton or in the press box. Lapierre will. So Murray is now getting paid to stick around in case of an emergency, yet even then, I think Dandenault is higher up on the pecking order when it comes to forwards

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with jj on this one. Aaron Downey was sent to the providence bruins for Sauve when Halak was called up to big club and Danis was injured.

Anonymous said...

I can’t understand all the fuss about Lapierre going down. Murray has no future with the habs, that’s why he will be spending all is time in the press box. Lapierre is going to Hamilton to be in better game shape so he can be ready when he's needed. Just shows Habs management appreciate him better than Murray.

Big E
PS In deed it was Downey who went to Providence

Robert L said...

Thanks JJ - I'd read back somewhere else that it was Murray who was switched for Sauve.

Last time I trust a comment thread to be correct. Live and learn!

Now onto a subject that rankles me - Anonymous comments!

The moderator has been enabled and will remain that way from here to eternity.

Why you wonder?

It starts with folks being more responsible for what they leave in here if their name is attached to it.

I`d like to see the comments pertain to the subjects discussed.

Having said that, I'm pretty much fed up with comments addressing the odd spelling mistake or grammatical error.

I often work 12 hours days before posting my articles. I get home and have possibly a three hour window to write something and it`s not always easy to be fresh. I`ve put a lot of effort and dedication into this site in one year, and I try to post a fresh page per day for the benefit of 700 daily readers. It`s a challenge.

I do quick proof reads without subjecting the pieces to spell checks because most aren`t perfect, and time is often an issue.

My grammar`s not perfect, and often mistakes arise via oversights from tired eyes. I`ve read few blogs that don`t have errors, but I don`t go around acting superior and commenting all over them about small details and analogies I didn`t catch onto.

On top of having to decipher 5 separate anonymous entities from one another in some posts comments, I actually, unlike other bloggers, try to answer each comment when it warrants it, thanking readers for their simple kindness in regards to my work.

It gets quite time consuming, to juggle a wife and family, a job, hockey travel team duties, and a blog all at once.

And I`ve just wasted a half hour on this!

There isn`t a plethora of income based advertising to clog my blog. I have one small ad that will likely never be cashed. I`m not in this to make a dime, let`s just say.

I enjoy writing about the Canadiens - period! I`ve posted close to 100 posts, just in this offseason.

I`ve had mild cerebral palsy since birth, I`m not a typist by any means ( I look at every single key I hit!), and my wrists feel awful tight some days, after using them in the same capacity at work.

If someone can`t be bothered to even show enough respect to allow me to identify them by unique name, why should I continue to answer them.

I acknowledge that my little rant here is not aimed at all particular no name artists - it just needed to be said to certain ones.

Sorry if I can`t tell you apart.

BTW - Nice spelling, I only have one issue with it!

M. Richard said...

Hey Robert,

It's been a while since my last correspondence but it's time to speak up!

Please do not let those few comments about spelling and stuff bother you too much. You are probably like myself though and take everything you do to heart and so comments like that can sting. Well hopefully some positive feedback will help ease that.

I have not had much time to read as many of your posts in the past 6 months as I would like but I ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS enjoy your columns, your point of view, etc, when I do find the time to do so. Anyone can read about the Habs at TSN.CA but it's all vanilla crappy news. Your posts are full of interesting information and insight sprinkled with personal thoughts that you can't find anywhere else and I for one appreciate all the hard work you do to bring this to me!

So be encouraged, most of us do not care about spelling mistakes and enjoy your personality in these posts so continue to be yourself.

Many thanks,

Robert L said...

Thanks for the lift Mo!
I just needed to rant a little, LOL! Your kind words did me good.

It's great to hear from you again. I'm sorry that I lost track awhile back. I seems for a time last winter, with the kids hockey and odd work shift that everything was overwhelming for a while.

Did you ever get that pic of you and Henri?

Keep in touch, and thanks for the lift!