According to him, he’s yet to fully return to earth. In fact, he’s still processing the start to his 2021-22 season.
Washington Capitals forward prospect Hendrix Lapierre has been in Acadie-Bathurst for about two weeks now, but his the time with the Capitals to start the season is still being processed.
The last three months have been filled with strong emotions, but he’s enjoyed every second of his time with the Capitals. But for now, he’s trying to put his time in Washington behind him, because there’s work to do for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
“It’s been really intense, I’ve been through a lot of emotions – a lot of ups, especially,” said the 19-year-old forward to NHL.com.
“I was in the moment and I didn’t really realize what was happening to me because it was my daily life. It has been such a positive and exceptional experience. I have been in Bathurst for almost two weeks and still trying to get back to earth. I have to focus on the Titan.”
By his own admission, his first four games with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan haven’t been up to par. Lapierre had spent only a few weeks with the Titan before flying to Washington. He is still in adaptation mode.
He has to get used to the level of play, a new system and his new teammates. All this, while the team is going through difficult times – 3-7-0 record in its last 10 games – in a season where the expectations were very high. Titan head coach Mario Durocher was also fired Thursday.
“It’s a really different system than the Capitals,” said Lapierre. “I have to adapt to it, but I’m ready for anything. I watch a lot of videos to analyze the trends of my line mates. It’s different, but it’s part of the job of a hockey player. ”
The Capitals’ first-round pick in 2020 amassed eight goals and 31 points in 21 games with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens last season.
“I do not see myself as a savior,” said Lapierre, who is in his fourth season in the QMJHL. “We have a very good team and a lot of players who are capable of producing. I try to bring positive energy and help the team by taking a big role and playing in all situations.”
Lapierre has admitted before that he still has a lot of work to do.
“I still have a lot to prove in this league since I have never played a full season with the Sags. I want to live the experience of playing a lot of games and to feel that I am part of the of the team.”
Lapierre’s also focused on another big goal to end the calendar year…making Canada’s Junior National team for the upcoming World Junior Championship in December and January. Lapierre was cut from last year’s team.
“I’m not going to get there one step ahead or with a different status,” he said. “I am now in the juniors like everyone else, and it’s up to me to find my place. There is nothing for granted. It won’t be a walk in the park. […] I’m going to arrive with the same mentality as at the Capitals’ camp.”
Lapierre has learned from last year’s Team Canada training camp.
“I put too much pressure on myself,” he concluded. “I was stressed and asked myself too many questions every time I had the puck. My role is to transport it, to play games and to be creative. This time, I don’t want to put pressure on myself. I want to help this team in any role. I feel ready for this challenge, and I know what to do better than last year.”
Team Canada’s U20 training camp will open in mid-December. This year’s World Junior Championship is scheduled to run from Sunday, December 26 to Wednesday, January 5.
By Jon Sorensen
Different system and now with the coach fired, perhaps yet another different system. 4th year in the Juniors. I just have to wonder how much he will learn this year. At least those sent to Hershey get to play in a system coordinated with the Caps.
With ya NoVa. The firing of the coach was the last straw for me. I’ve watched three of his games and the team is just disjointed. I don’t think they are using Lapierre correctly, even on the power play. They need to get him out of there, and the sooner the better.