Alexis Lafrenière pumped to play in front of friends and family in hometown of Quebec
Alexis Lafrenière has a little more pep in his step and sparkle in his eyes. For the first time in his young NHL career, the 20 year-old from the town of Saint-Eustache, Quebec will be playing in his hometown.
He’s been waiting for this moment a long time and the always smiling forward could barely contain his joy when talking with the media.
“To come here as a kid and now to be a player it’s pretty special,” he said. “I look forward to play in front of my family and friends and I’m really excited for tonight.”
Alexis Lafrenière pumped to play in Montreal
The Rangers now how special this is, as they had their three French-Canadian players; Lafrenière, Sammy Blais, and Julien Gauthier lead the stretches at center ice.
For the #1 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, it’s his first game here but also the first time his family will see him play in the NHL in person. Due to travel restrictions between the US and Canada, Alexis’ family did not see a single game live of his rookie season.
“They’re excited for sure,” he said. “It’s pretty unreal. They will be enjoying for sure too.”
Alexis did have to buy a few tickets for the game. “A couple,” he laughed. “I don’t have a number but I got a couple.”
When asked by the French media about playing in Montreal for the first time, Laffy took a moment to explain what it means to him. “It’s special to come in here and get on the ice. It’s a great opportunity,” he said in French. “I used to come to games when I was young, to see my favorite players. To play here on a Saturday night, it will be really special! “
Lafrenière’s is consistently improving
Alexis is averaging 14:39 through two games this season. He currently has no points, but it sounds like his coach thinks he might get one tonight.
“He’s definitely excited,” Gallant said. “You can see the jump in his step this morning. So hopefully he’ll have a real good game and play with a lot of emotion.”
The head coach also remarked that Laffy’s defensive game has improved and he see him being a star in the league. He did temper it down with the fact he’s so very young.
Last season, he finished last year strong with 21 points in 56 games thanks to 13 of those points coming in the final 25 games of the season. Lafrenière also scored 8 of his 12 goals in the team’s final 23 games.
The points will come, but what matters most is the type of player and teammate he is. One veteran Rangers made it a point to call it out in camp.
“The most impressive thing about him is he’s unapologetically himself, regardless of what’s happening,” Chris Kreider said. “He’s a bright, happy dude who loves to play hockey. He’s loves being here… He’s mature beyond his years, on the ice and in the room…He’s concerned about winning hockey…we’re incredibly lucky to have him.”
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