Primarily a left winger, Maxime Lacroix scored 25 goals and 22 assists in 70 regular season games. The Quebec Remparts had a grueling playoff run to reach the Memorial Cup and over the course of 23 games, the son of former Remparts and Quebec Nordiques defenseman Pierre Lacroix scored seven goals, two of which were short-handed, and added five assists. Although he went undrafted in the shortened 2005 NHL Entry Draft, 18-year-old Maxime is showing promise as a future pro.
Hockey’s Future spoke with Lacroix the morning after his team dropped the first game of the Memorial Cup 3-2 to the Peterborough Petes.
HF: How do you feel you’re doing so far?
ML: I had a so-so year so I wasn’t expecting to be drafted this year but I had a good playoff, especially at the start, so I started thinking about it. It’s fun, I’m excited. I want to play hard every game, every shift. If I do my job we’ll see in June, but if I play simple…that’s my part of the game, play hard, and play simple.
HF: Are you planning to go to the draft?
ML: I don’t think so but we’ll see.
HF: It depends if you get calls beforehand?
HF: In the game yesterday you scored the goal that started things off for your team. How did that feel scoring a goal in the Memorial Cup?
ML: (laughing) That felt great, especially because I didn’t score for like 12 games before that, I was in a slump. I was happy, especially on the PK. It was a big goal so I was really happy.
HF: As a player, what do you bring to your team?
ML: On my team my role is to bring energy and play simple. I know my limits so I try to do my best every shift and play hard and that’s what I did yesterday and I had good chances all night.
HF: Did you find the ice a problem last night?
ML: It was really hot in here so the ice was soft. It was hard to skate really fast. It was really hot (laughing), it was tough.
HF: On one of your chances, in the third, the puck looked like it was bouncing on you. Was that the ice issue?
ML: No, it wasn’t the ice but the ice was soft and it was really hot in here and it was hard to play.
HF: So what are your strengths as a player skill-wise?
ML: Probably my speed because I can skate very fast. Especially yesterday because [Peterborough’s] defense wasn’t very mobile so when we used our speed we had good chances. I’ve got a good shot. Usually I play winger but yesterday I played center. It’s an adjustment but I can play everywhere so that’s my strength.
HF: And your penalty killing?
ML: I kill penalties during the playoffs. We did well, me and Simon (Courcelles), for a couple of games and then [Coach Patrick Roy] split us up for some games. We had good chances even on PK. We played hard and surprised them a couple of times but we have to score more goals.
HF: Has your role been increasing a lot during the playoffs?
ML: Sure, especially on the PK. During the season I didn’t play that much on PK but during the playoffs I played hard and Patrick showed confidence in me and I played more on the PK with Simon on the third line so it was great and we played very well at the start and we had a good playoffs. He gave us a bigger role because we were the best line for a month in the playoffs so it was fun.
HF: Do you think it affected you guys that Moncton won the QMJHL title and got the extra day of rest to start the tournament?
ML: Especially the series before against Bathurst, we won in seven games so we were tired for the series against Moncton. Yes we are tired but it’s part of the game but we have to rest when we have time just like today and be ready for tomorrow.
HF: Your stick handling looked good yesterday too, is that something you’d mention as a strength too?
ML: Not really. Maybe during the practice I try, but during the games I don’t try very often to deke the players. I try to play simple. Like, when you deke a guy you one chance in ten to beat him but with good passes and speed you have more chances to beat him. That’s what I’m using. I play simple and it works more of the time.
HF: Is that a team philosophy or is that just your approach?
ML: It’s my approach, but we’re all different. It’s my approach.
Kevin Forbes contributed to this article. Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.