Rangers find grit and agitation in Brendan Lemieux, a bitter rival’s son
Rangers fans who lived through the glory years of the 90’s know who Claude Lemieux is. For more than a decade, he was probably one of the most hated players in the NHL and his reputation for getting under the opposition’s skin was legendary.
That reputation earned him the nickname Pepe Lemieux which was a play on the Looney Tunes skunk character, Pepe Le Pew. Oddly enough, the only things they had in common was the French accent and the fact that people really don’t like skunks.
Blueshirts fans clearly remember the countless battles Lemieux and Adam Graves had during those bitter rivalry days. One particular incident led to an all out brawl during the 1992 playoffs.
Starting at about the 2:02 mark, you can see Claude Lemieux antagonizing the Rangers and Adam Graves in the melee. After watching his son Brendan Lemieux last night, you can literally see the same attitude and demeanor.
A Chip off the Old Block
Brendan Lemieux has played two games for the Rangers since the trade and already has made an impression with the fans. Many of them are calling him the next Sean Avery, but Lemieux looks like he can give the Rangers a little more.
The 22 year old winger brings a little speed, some size, some skill, and a whole lot of nasty to his game every night. He doesn’t shy away from it and seeks it like his dad once did. His father is the player he says he compares his style and game too. I mean is anyone really shocked?
“I’ve said it before, but I think I have a better tendency of making people upset than I do having them smile. I try and get a good laugh in the room from the guys and then piss off the other team as much as possible, and luckily it just comes natural.”Brendan Lemieux (NY POST)
Last night his target was Canadiens star, Max Domi. He was in his face all night and could be seen chirping him from the bench. At one point he appeared to be making a reference to his sister.
I will let you read his lips, but let’s just leave it that whatever he uttered might make Sean Avery blush.
More Than Just A Mouth
Lemieux is a banger and a high energy guy. He’s been credited with 2 blocks and 8 hits as a Ranger. He’s already earned his first 10 minute misconduct too (I can’t imagine why). More importantly, he notched his first goal as a Blueshirt and it is the type of goal hockey teams need. Late in the third, Lemieux drove to the dirty area of the ice in front of the net and potted a rebound.
His father Claude Lemieux was considered one of the game’s clutch players. In 1215 regular season games he scored 379 goals and 786 points. Claude’s reputation was well earned in the playoffs, where he scored 80 goals and 158 points in 234 games and finished with 4 Stanley Cups.
Now fans hope that one of the all time great agitators and bitter Blueshirts rival will have a positive impact to the team’s future. Can Brendan play the role on Broadway that his dad played so well for the Canadiens, Devils, and Avalanche?
It is very early, but Brendan has already made a big impression on Rangers fans. His next step is to continue this style of play and build a reputation around the league. A reputation that makes him hard to play against and in turn, makes playing the Rangers difficult.
Who knows, maybe the league will start to call him Pepe Lemieux Jr..