I had the great opportunity to exchange with Maxim Lapierre, former NHLer, about his journey in the European hockey leagues and his draft eligible teammate, Lukas Reichel. After playing more than 600 NHL games, mostly with Montreal, Vancouver and St. Louis, Lapierre is currently pursuing his career in Germany with the Berlin Eisbären.
Et pour les francophones, voici la version originale en français: https://docs.google.com/file/d/193DN_9ROqKgUXBg6QmqDKMMkGZxSP7UX/edit?usp=docslist_api&filetype=msword
Q: How did you find your first year in the DEL ?
Lapierre: I loved my first year in Germany! Our team belongs to the same owner as the Los Angeles Kings so the arena is NHL quality. It was special to live in a city with such a particular history as Berlin.
Q: Was the language ever an issue for you in Europe ?
Lapierre: For what is about the language in Europe, it has never been a real problem since we all communicate in English here.
Q: How went your transition from Switzerland to Germany and is there a difference between the NLA and the DEL ?
Lapierre: My transition from Switzerland to Germany went pretty well. The German league fits better my style since it’s more physical and structured. Berlin set-up looks a lot like a NHL one due to his owner.
Q: To this day, do you enjoy your stay in Europe and what do you like about playing out there ?
Lapierre: I love playing in Europe because I can visit the country during the breaks, and since I don’t travel a lot to get to a game compared to the NHL, I have much more time to spend with my wife and my three daughters.
Q: If you’re comfortable talking about it, do you have any idea of your future plans when your contract with Berlin will end ?
Lapierre: Concerning my career after playing hockey, we’ll see. The podcast that I have started with Guillaume Latendresse goes extremely well. I also like coaching so… we will see!
Q: From your perspective, what makes Lukas Reichel such a remarkable player ?
Maxim Lapierre: He is a fluid skater, very fast and does all that without even sweating… skating is effortless for him. His puck handling is also really really good and his greatest strength is his smarts on the ice. His game readings and his positioning are top notch, especially for a youngster who plays among men.
“Lukas Reichel is a really mature young man who will probably have a great career in the NHL. He was only 17 years old and he considerably helped our team to win games. He was my left winger for the whole season. I shared my experience as much as possible. I think that Lukas will get drafted in the first round.”
Q: In your opinion, what must he improve before jumping in the NHL ?
Lapierre: The only thing that he must work on is his physical strength. But all that is because he’s 17. I believe it will all come pretty soon.
Q: What do you like the most about playing with him ?
Lapierre: What I like the most about playing with Lukas is ability to adapt during a match. He can easily change his game plan to adapt to the situation. I also really like his decision making which is, most of the time, extraordinary bright.
Q: According to you, which aspect of his game is the most underrated ?
Lapierre: The aspect of his game which is the most underrated is his tenacity along the board, particularly for a 17 years old kid. I think that if we look at it in four or five years, he will surprise many since his legs are extremely strong.
“Stützle will definitely be a star in the NHL. He’s dynamic and spectacular. Lukas too will become a dominant player and be very dangerous on the power play.”
Lukas Reichel shift by shift: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLg7983K25SkmCRBLhrUJIQk1YatP5vPiJ
Lapierre’s new podcast: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoZN589iFGAaT-6o1fhZchQ
His Twitter account: https://twitter.com/Lappy14