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LEMIEUX A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK

Brendan Lemieux wants to follow closely in his father's footsteps

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 10:36 AM / Features
By Chris Ryndak  - Sabres.com
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LEMIEUX A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK
Brendan Lemieux wants to follow closely in his father\'s footsteps

Brendan Lemieux wants to be hated.

The Buffalo Sabres second-round pick of the 2014 NHL Draft is just like his father Claude in that regard.

“I’m proud of the way he played and how hated he was,” Lemieux said. “I just love that about him. I think that I definitely want to follow in his footsteps.”

He’s expected to attend the Sabres’ Development Camp next week which runs from July 14-18. The annual Blue & Gold Scrimmage will take place on Tuesday, July 15 at 7 p.m. and the week will end with a 3-on-3 tournament Friday morning.

Lemieux models his game after his dad and so far, he’s done a pretty good job of gaining a reputation as a great agitator. Lemieux scored 27 goals and 53 points for the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League this past season. He also racked up 145 penalty minutes.

What’s most important is the postseason. That’s the kind of player I want to be. I want to come up big when it counts.Brendan Lemieux

Claude, however, knows how taxing that role can be and hopes that while Lemieux has a successful career, he doesn’t make as many enemies as he did in his playing days.

“Those are big shoes to fill. I was pretty hated,” he said. “Hopefully he’s not [as hated]. As his father, I hope he doesn’t get to that level but he likes to play as that instigator and [be an] in-your-face kind of player.”

Lemieux already has a chip on his shoulder. He thought there were a bunch of teams he could’ve been drafted by just because of ties to his dad. However, as the first round wore on, many of those teams went in different directions. Colorado, Montreal and New Jersey were among the teams that passed on him.

The first round of the draft was held on a Friday night and Lemieux had to wait until the next morning to see where he would go. He said he received a lot of support from his Colts coach – and Sabres Hall of Famer – Dale Hawerchuk, close family friend Jeremy Roenick and his dad even got a text message from the Great One, Wayne Gretzky.

Saturday morning, Buffalo selected Lemieux with the first pick of the second round.

“Wayne Gretzky sent my dad a text last night talking about how he proved a few people wrong in his day. A few experts though he’d never pan out and look where he ended up,” Lemieux said afterwards.

Claude was also a second-round pick, taken by the Canadiens in 1983. The draft position is one more thing they have in common.

“There were a few teams there [like] Colorado that really stung. I’m definitely going to love going into their arenas now and making it hard on their guys because they decided to pass me over,” Lemieux said. “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.”

“...But with that being said, I’m going to make my own path in Buffalo. I’m proud to be here and I’m proud to be selected. I just need to make the best of it now, go into camp and try to make an impact as quickly as I can.”

Claude’s brother Jocelyn played for Sabres coach Ted Nolan in 1994-95 when Nolan was an assistant coach in Hartford but other than that, the family has no real ties to Buffalo. Claude said that could really be a blessing. There’s certainly no pressure for Lemieux to do what his dad did in that uniform.

“It’s his career and it’s time to step outside my shadow and go play and be himself,” he said. “For that, I’m happy.”

Claude ranks ninth in all-time playoff goals with 80. He finished his career one goal ahead of Jean Beliveau and two goals behind Maurice Richard. He won the Stanley Cup four times in a career that spanned 1,215 NHL regular-season games. From 1986 until 2000, Claude’s teams (Montreal, New Jersey and Colorado) did not miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Like his father, Lemieux wants to establish a strong postseason resume.

“I definitely want to follow in his footsteps and I want to be that guy that can really step up in the playoffs and really be that playoff performer,” he said. “Because to me, that’s what’s most important is the postseason. That’s the kind of player I want to be. I want to come up big when it counts.”

One thing Claude can look forward to when he watches his son play for Buffalo is seeing old Sabres rivals like Rob Ray and Brad May.

“Brad always told me how much he loved Buffalo. I always said, ‘Really?’ It was one of the first few calls we got,” Claude said laughing. “A lot of memories. Thank God we don’t have to battle in that old rink anymore.”

And while Lemieux may want to be hated by his opponents, Claude doesn’t think it will take long for his son to become a fan favorite in Buffalo.

“He’s not quiet. He’s definitely not quiet. He’s a leader and he’s a winner. He loves to win and he plays the game the right way so I’m sure the fans will identify,” Claude said. “It’s the kind of player you need when you’re in a rebuilding mode. You want to have these character players.

“It’s like a recipe. You need a little bit of everything. You can’t just have potatoes in your beef stew. You’ve got to have a little bit of spice and he’ll bring that.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82