2014 NHL Draft - Portraits

Be afraid: Brendan Lemieux wants to follow father Claude’s footsteps


Future opponents probably don’t want to hear this, but Buffalo Sabres second-round pick Brendan Lemieux is more than fine with following in the (in)famous footsteps of his father Claude Lemieux.

If that doesn’t inspire people to keep their heads on a swivel, he also seems a little vengeful about falling to the Sabres at the 31st spot today.

“He was definitely disappointed. He was crushed last night,” Claude said to the Newark Star-Ledger.

Of course, that opens the door to the common draft storyline of having added motivation to “prove his doubters wrong.” Roll your eyes at the trope as much as you want, but it’s a scary thought to imagine an angry player who’s more than fine with emulating his notorious father, isn’t it?

Brendan Lemieux definitely didn’t shy away from his father’s legacy of controversial hits and antagonizing behavior, as Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy reports.

“I’m proud of the way he played and how hated he was,” Brendan said. “I just love that about him. I definitely want to follow in his footsteps and I want to be that guy that can step up in the playoffs and really be that playoff performer. To me, that’s what’s most important is the postseason and that’s the kind of player I want to be. I want to come up big when it counts.”

The 18-year-old prospect certainly showed signs of that snarl during his career, especially during the 2013-14 season. He amassed 145 penalty minutes to go with 27 goals and 53 points in 65 games with the OHL’s Barrie Colts.

Much like Henrik Samuelsson to his father Ulf, it doesn’t sound like Brendan Lemieux has any issues emulating his father’s style.

He won’t wear the same duds as Claude, at least not to start. His father believes the New Jersey Devils made a mistake passing him up at the very end of the first round, yet Brendan seems most steamed about missing out on the chance to play for the Colorado Avalanche (who chose Conner Bleackley with the 23rd selection instead).

“There were a few teams there that really stung,” Brendan told Puck Daddy. “I’m definitely to love going in their arenas and really making it hard on their guys because they decided to pass me over, so I’m just going to use this as fuel.

“They gave one of the more fiery guys in the draft, I’d like to say, a lot more fire.”

Uh oh, indeed.

Stepan to miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs

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Derek Stepan is out 4-6 weeks with broken ribs, the New York Rangers announced today.

Stepan was hurt Friday on a controversial hit by Boston’s Matt Beleskey. The Bruins’ forward did not receive any supplemental discipline for the check, despite admitting it was “maybe…a little bit late.”

At any rate it’s a big loss for the Rangers, who suddenly find themselves on a three-game losing streak. Considering the timeline, New York could be without one of its top centers for 12-18 games, give or take.

The Rangers host Carolina tonight.

Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

Price to miss minimum six weeks, so no Winter Classic for him

Carey Price,
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Carey Price will miss a minimum of six weeks with a lower-body injury, the Montreal Canadiens announced today.

That means Price will miss the Winter Classic against the Bruins on New Year’s Day. The 30-year-old goalie has only appeared in 12 games this season.

On the bright side, the reigning Hart Trophy winner will not require surgery. And considering the Habs have already built up a 13-point playoff cushion in the standings, well, if something like this were going to happen during the season, now is as good a time as any.

Related: The latest on Price’s injury

Report: Jets offered Byfuglien for Hamonic, Isles said no

Dustin Byfuglien

If Travis Hamonic could choose one team to be traded to, he’d probably choose Winnipeg. The 25-year-old Islanders defenseman wants to be closer to his family, and his family is from Manitoba. Hamonic already owns a condo in Winnipeg.

So far, though, the Jets and Islanders haven’t been able to work out a deal. The Jets have three right-shot defensemen in Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba, and Tyler Myers who could, theoretically, be swapped for Hamonic, also a right shot.

“I think the Islanders were offered Byfuglien and they said no,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said this morning on Sportsnet 960 (audio), per Today’s Slapshot. “And I understand why, because Byfuglien’s got no term left.

“I think they’d love to have Trouba, but the Jets aren’t really there to do it. Myers, if it’s happened – I can’t say for sure it has or hasn’t – I’m not sure that’s the deal either team really wants to make, to be perfectly honest.”

Byfuglien is a pending unrestricted free agent who’s expected to cash in big-time on his next deal. The 30-year-old may not be the most disciplined player, but at his best, he’s an absolute force on the back end.

That the Isles reportedly said no to Byfuglien shouldn’t really come as a surprise, given his contract uncertainty. However, it does make one wonder about his future in Winnipeg. Remember that the salary cap is not expected to go up by much, and the Jets have another pending UFA in captain Andrew Ladd, plus a couple of key RFAs in Trouba and Mark Scheifele.

While it’s never easy to tell what GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is thinking, the big question with Byfuglien and the Jets may end up being when, not if, they part ways. Will it be after the season or before the Feb. 29 trade deadline?

Preds still haven’t found their scoring touch

Mike Fisher

The Nashville Predators got off to a relatively good start this season, but something seems to have happened to their offense over the last six games.

Prior to Nov. 20, the Preds had only been shut out once in their first 17 games. Since then, they’ve been blanked three times and have just six goals in their last six contests.

If you remove Mike Fisher from the equation, the numbers are even more dreadful.

Fisher’s scored three of those six goals, while Filip Forsberg, Shea Weber, James Neal and Mike Ribeiro have none.

After Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Buffalo , here’s what coach Peter Laviolette told the Tennessean: “I thought we could’ve had more gas, to be honest with you. The energy just wasn’t there; maybe the second period had something to do with that or the road trip, which was a long trip. I’m not making any excuses, but I think when we play at a higher tempo that’s when we’re at our best, and we had more to push in that area tonight.”

The first game back home after a long road trip is typically a difficult one for most teams, so we’ll see how the Predators respond on Tuesday night when they host Arizona.