(Arlington, Virginia) “Hockey players, we will always face obstacles. Let’s just say that I got more than I wanted in my junior career … ”
Posted at 9:00
The observation could pass for bitterness, but it is not. After four seasons punctuated by a series of trials and woes, Hendrix Lapierre is turning the page on his time in the QMJHL. “Finally!”, Would have exclaimed others besides him.
The Gatineau native, on the other hand, points out, with a smile, the “good memories” he keeps. About how much he “enjoyed” his three seasons in Saguenay and another in Bathurst.
“It makes me something to finish the juniors, even if I’m happy to get to the professional level,” he confided to The printTuesday, on the sidelines of the NHL Rookie Showcase.
I will always maintain a sense of belonging to the Saguenéens, the Titans and the QMJHL.
His junior career was ultimately limited to 128 games spread over four years. On average just 32 per season. The COVID-19 pandemic obviously disrupted the 2020-2021 campaign across the league.
But it was his injuries above all that cost him dearly. One, in particular, on the neck, deprived him of almost the entire 2019-2020 season, the draft year of him. The recruiters had, however, kept in mind his exploits of the fall and the previous season, since the Washington Capitals had managed to make their choice in the first round, in 21.And rank.
In 2021-2022, it was a “strange” lower body injury that disrupted his season: a “bad luck” that is in no way comparable to what he suffered two years earlier. He was able to return in time for the playoffs.
Leave a mark
Nothing surprising, in short, to hear him express the desire to “play a whole year without having a little annoyance”. And it is in Washington that he hopes it will happen.
Rested and in excellent shape after a summer of training, he will return to the Capitals field with the aim of repeating last year’s exploit. In the fall of 2021, the central player particularly took advantage of an injury to Nicklas Bäckström to play six games for the big team. He then scored a goal, the first of his career. He was later transferred to his youth team.
He is obviously aware of the possibility that his professional career will start in Hershey, in the American League instead. But he is going to do “while [s]we can ”to make our mark in the federal capital. And this, even if the Caps are shown complete in attack. At least on paper.
“Last year, no one expected me to play six games,” said Lapierre. If I can catch up a few games this year, I could show them that I can spend the year there. From there beautiful things will happen. ”
“I have no expectations”, he insists, adding that he has put himself “in a situation to be successful”.
“I will arrive with my head held high and with a smile on my face. I’ll be ready. ”
To see the confidence he has shown in uttering this last sentence, one can certainly take his word for it.