A couple weeks back I had the opportunity to catch up with three of the Montreal Juniors' newly acquired impact players;
20 year old defenseman Francis Meilleur (seen in photo) - acquired from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles as part of the Pierre-Antoine Dion trade.
19 year old centerman and Montreal Canadiens draft pick Louis Leblanc - acquired from the Chicoutimi Sagueneens as part of the Guillaume Asselin deal.
19 year old left winger and also property of the Montreal Canadiens Philippe Lefebvre (seen in photo on left) - acquired as part of the Jake Allen transaction.
Here is the third of the three Q&As - this time with newly acquired forward / Montreal Canadiens prospect Philippe Lefebvre.
Hockey Points: You’re coming from Drummondville, a team that was coached by the Tampa Bay Lightning’s new coach, Guy Boucher. What did you learn the most while playing for him?
Philippe Lefebvre: I would say work ethic. He’s a person that doesn’t accept people who don’t work. So that’s how I’ve enjoyed having success in the past, working hard in practice and in games. I would say that’s the biggest thing.
Hockey Points: After your 2nd year in the Q, you received a call from the Montreal Canadiens. How did that feel?
Philippe Lefebvre: It was an incredible feeling. First I went to the draft and didn’t get drafted. But then they invited me to their training camp and I did well there so they offered me a contract. It was a very nice feeling.
Hockey Points: What was your first thought when you learned were traded from the Drummondville Voltigeurs to the Montreal Juniors?
Philippe Lefebvre: I had a feeling before the draft I would be traded to the Montreal Juniors because of the trade that took place with Jake Allen last year. I was very happy to have a chance to play in Montreal and am looking forward to playing here.
Hockey Points: How do you expect playing in Montreal will compare to playing in Drummondville?
Philippe Lefebvre: I don’t know. I’ve only played in Montreal a couple of times. Those games had some great crowds and I’m excited to see what it’s going to be like in that building.
Hockey Points: Are you planning to wear number 94, the number you wore in Drummondville?
Philippe Lefebvre: (laughs) I hope so. I spoke to Pascal Vincent and he told me I can keep the number so I’m happy about that.
Hockey Points: Being a 19 year old this team you’re going to be one of the leaders. What have you learned about being a leader in this league?
Philippe Lefebvre: I’ve played with guys like Danny Masse, Yannik Riendeau, Mike Hoffman and Dimitri Kulikov. All of those guys were awesome leaders. They were there when we won the President’s Cup (in 2009). We’re trying to do the same thing here. So as a 19 year old I’ve learned from guys like that. I have to show an example, first on the ice and then on the ice. I need to perform on the ice and that’s the most important part.
Hockey Points: You played in the Memorial Cup as a 17 year old. Has that prepared you for this season in Montreal where the team is trying to achieve the same thing?
Philippe Lefebvre: You have to be very discipline, that’s the key. Throughout the year you have to do the simple things over and over again. You have to be a team that remains focused during success. When we won a series in the playoffs that year, we stayed calm. If we won the series in four games, we used our break to rest. If you want to go all the way, you have to use all the rest you have and be very discipline.
Hockey Points: What is your best asset that you bring to this team?
Philippe Lefebvre: I think I bring good speed. I can shoot the puck. With Guy Boucher I learned to play a strong defensive game so I believe I can bring a good two-way game to this team.
Hockey Points: How many players do you know on this team that you may have played with before?
Philippe Lefebvre: Well I’ve met these four new guys (at the press conference - Leblanc, Meilleur, Roussel, Landry). I participated in a preparation camp with Joel Bouchard last week where I met a few players like Rose, Fontaine, Gouchie, Narbonne. Also, my best friend is on the team, Louis-Marc Aubry, I know him very well. We played midget AAA together and throughout the years in summer hockey programs. We have good chemistry off the ice and I hope we get to have a chance to play together this the year.