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This article was published 18/2/2015 (2434 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Brendan Lemieux doesn't speak in hyperbole or cliché. Ask him a question and you get a straight answer.
He's thoughtful, articulate and to the point. And so, in many ways, the Brendan Lemieux in interview mode is the same as the Brendan Lemieux on the ice -- no shortcuts, no turning away from the action.
"I'm your prototypical power forward," began the Winnipeg Jets prospect in a telephone interview from Barrie, Ont., on Monday. "I saw (TSN's) Craig Button give his input on the trade last week and I like the way he said it: I go in straight lines, north-south."
Lemieux was one of the key components in the blockbuster deal completed by the Jets and Buffalo Sabres last week that saw Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian, along with goalie prospect Jason Kasdorf, head to western New York in exchange for Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford along with Lemieux, Joel Armia and a first-round draft pick.
In the aftermath, it was GM Kevin Cheveldayoff who said Jets fans are going to fall in love with his game.
"The trade definitely came out of the blue... it's not something you're expecting, that's for sure," said Lemieux. "But sometimes stuff like that just happens.
"It's not like I felt bad. I've been in the game and around the business long enough with my dad to know that these are all business decisions. If a kid is having a good year it just raises his value. My value had been raised.
"To be a key part of an Evander Kane trade... I'll tell you, that means a heckuva lot to a kid who hasn't played a regular-season game in the NHL yet."
Lemieux, FYI, is the son of longtime NHLer Claude Lemieux, who won Stanley Cups with three different teams and cut a large swath along the way with a style of play that was called hard-nosed, dirty, spirited, invaluable... and all things in between. Some of the descriptions, it's worth noting, aren't suitable for a family newspaper.
"You know, I've been around other players' sons and I never really understood why some kids feel the need to separate themselves from their dads," said Lemieux. "I'm proud of my dad. I'm proud of what he did as a player and the kind of person he is. I look up to my dad. I want to play the game as hard as he did and have as much success in the playoffs as he did.
"When people ask me about him, it makes me feel good. The more I'm compared to my dad, the better I feel like I'm playing. If they think I'm hard to play against or getting under people's skin or clutch in the playoffs, then I'm doing well, I'm doing my job. That's the way I want to make people feel."
Cheveldayoff and the Jets have already done their bit to make Lemieux feel welcome. The Jets boss took in the Barrie Colts-Plymouth Whalers game last Friday with Jimmy Roy, the co-ordinator of player development. Roy also watched Lemieux a night later against Saginaw.
He has also heard from Mark Scheifele who -- along with Bryan Little, Michael Hutchinson and Barrie head coach Dale Hawerchuk -- are part of a growing Jets-Colts connection.
"I played with Mark in my rookie year and he's one of my best friends," said Lemieux. "He called me a couple of hours after the trade. He's really a mentor for me. I've said it before: I think Mark's a better person than he is a player and obviously he's a great player. I'm so happy to be joining a franchise that he's a part of.
"We joke about the Jets-Colts connection. But my coach, obviously he's a big part of it and I think they just trust his opinion. Dale, as a hall of famer, just has that eye for talent."
Finally, as much as Lemieux understands being traded is part of the business, there is also a competitive fire in his belly. And he can't wait to prove some hockey types right... and a few wrong.
"I'm not in the same boat as a lot of kids now," Lemieux said. "I'm unique in this, having been traded before I've played in the NHL. Now I've just got to go prove that Winnipeg fans right and the Sabres fans wrong at this point.
"This is all I've ever wanted: to play somewhere that people cared about hockey. As long as people keep showing up, I'm happy to play. And I couldn't be more happy to play for a Canadian team, quite frankly."
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THE FARM REPORT
ST. JOHN'S ICECAPS (AHL)
Record: 23-23-5-2; 53 pts; last in Atlantic Division; 12th in Eastern Conference (heading into Tuesday's action).
ONTARIO REIGN (ECHL/SHARED WITH LOS ANGELES KINGS)
Record: 29-15-3-4, 65 points; 2nd in Pacific Division, 3rd in Western Conference.
A look at some of the Jets prospects in Newfoundland:
Connor Hellebuyck, G: He's handled just about every test the IceCaps and Jets brass wanted to throw at him, especially an increased workload. He's 22-15-3 with a 2.44 GAA and .925 save percentage and has quickly made the transition to the pro game. It's not a matter of if he makes it to the NHL, but when.
Joel Armia, RW: Has appeared in two games with the IceCaps since the big trade, but has yet to register a point. Lots of skill (10 goals, 25 points in 33 games in Rochester before the deal) and may get a look from the Jets with their thin forward depth.
John Albert, C: Second to D-man Will O'Neill in IceCaps scoring. Has had look-sees from the Jets before but is 25 now.
J.C. Lipon, RW/LW: Has just one goal this season, but continues to be the IceCaps sandpaper-type player.
Eric O'Dell, C: Has 24 points in 34 games this year, but was injured a couple of times the Jets needed to dip into the system. Has the window closed?
Scott Kosmachuk, RW: His game has come on since Christmas, but still comes in the fits and spurts expected from a player in his first pro season.
Carl Klingberg, RW/LW: Leads the IceCaps in goals with 15. When he's on, he's solid on the forecheck. And when he's not, he's too much on the periphery.
Patrice Cormier, C: Clock is ticking. Plays a heavy game, can play wing or centre and is decent on the draw. But his call-ups are always brief and his opportunity limited.
Brenden Kichton, D: Much better offensive numbers a year ago when he had 48 points in 76 games. He's got six goals and 17 points this season and his path to the bigs is blocked by the blue-line depth with the Jets.
CHECKING IN ON THE KIDS
An update on how Jets draft picks have started off the 2014-15 season:
NAME Round/overall Pos. Team
Nikolaj Ehlers 1/9 LW Halifax (QMJHL)
Superb numbers with the Mooseheads with 28 goals and 74 points in just 37 games. Ready to take the step to pro, but still with junior eligibility left. Set club record Tuesday with points in 30 straight games.
Jack Glover 3/69 D U of Minnesota
Has played12 games with the Gophers and was the team's extra D-man on the weekend. Lots of growing left in his game.
Chase De Leo 4/99 C Portland (WHL)
Continues to rack up gaudy offensive numbers with the Winterhawks with 29 goals and 64 points in 51 games.
Nelson Nogier 4/101 D Red Deer (WHL)
Was traded by Saskatoon to the Rebels. Ironically, tonight is Nogier Bobblehead night in Saskatoon as the hometown boy returns home to face the Blades.
C.J. Franklin 5/129 LW Minnesota State (WCHA)
Has seven goals and 23 points in 29 games for the Mavericks as a freshman.
Pavel Kraskovsky 6/164 C Lokomotiv (KHL)
Played well for Russia in the Subway Series, but did not make the world junior team. Played in the Russian junior league all-star game after posting 22 points in 29 games for Loko.
Matt Ustaski 7/192 LW University of Wisconsin
Has four goals and eight points in 22 games in his first year with the Badgers.
D Josh Morrissey, Kelowna Rockets: Almost seems bored with junior hockey now after a run with the IceCaps and camp with the Jets. Has 13 points in 15 games since being traded from Prince Albert. Was solid during the world juniors and may get inspired again in the WHL playoffs.
C Nic Petan, Portland Winterhawks: Same old, same old: massive offensive numbers with 54 points in 38 games. Outstanding work at the world juniors, too.
G Eric Comrie, Tri-City Americans: Canada's No. 2 netminder in their goal-medal junior run. Putting up good numbers -- .912 save percentage, 16-15-1 record -- on a Tri-City team that is last in its division.
C Jimmy Lodge, Mississauga Steelheads: Leads the team in scoring, but now serving a suspension from the OHL.
C Andrew Copp, University of Michigan: Considered pro ready right now. Centres the Wolverines' top line, but is out now after suffering an upper-body injury and is doubtful for this weekend's games against Ohio State.
G Jamie Phillips, Michigan Tech: A Hobey Baker candidate; having a spectacular year with a 23-6-1 record, .934 save percentage and 1.76 GAA.
LW Brendan Lemieux, Barrie Colts: Has 37 goals, 54 points and 130 penalty minutes in 49 games. Lots to like.
-- compiled by Ed Tait