Claude Lemieux

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Claude Lemieux
Born (1965-07-16) July 16, 1965 (age 49)
Buckingham, QC, CAN
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Right
Played for Montreal Canadiens
New Jersey Devils
Colorado Avalanche
Phoenix Coyotes
Dallas Stars
San Jose Sharks
NHL Draft 26th overall, 1983
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career 1983–2003
2008–2009

Claude Percy Lemieux (born July 16, 1965) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey player. He last played for the San Jose Sharks before announcing his retirement on July 8, 2009. He is one of only ten players in Stanley Cup history to win the Cup with three different teams.[1] His 80 career playoff goals are the ninth-most in NHL history. Lemieux is also a former president of the ECHL's Phoenix RoadRunners. Lemieux was born in Buckingham, Quebec, but grew up in Montreal, Quebec.

Playing career[edit]

NHL[edit]

Lemieux was drafted in the second round of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. He played with the Canadiens from 19831990, winning the Stanley Cup with the team in 1986.

In September 1990, Lemieux was traded to the New Jersey Devils for Sylvain Turgeon. Lemieux won his second Stanley Cup in 1995 as New Jersey defeated the Detroit Red Wings. Completing the post-season with 13 goals, he also won the Conn Smythe Trophy that year as the playoff MVP.

Shortly before the beginning of the 1995–96 season, Lemieux was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in a three-team deal that also involved Wendel Clark and Steve Thomas. When the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 1996, Lemieux became only the tenth player to win back-to-back Stanley Cups with different teams.[2]

In November 1999, Lemieux was traded back to New Jersey in a deal that sent Brian Rolston to Colorado. He won his fourth and final Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2000. In that off-season, Lemieux signed as a free agent with the Phoenix Coyotes.

In January 2003, the Coyotes traded him to the Dallas Stars for Scott Pellerin and a conditional draft pick. Lemieux ended his NHL playing career with Dallas at the conclusion of the 2002–03 season. He played briefly the following season for EV Zug of the Swiss Nationalliga A.

Throughout his career, Lemieux was noted for playing his best games during the postseason. Once Lemieux was called up to the NHL for good during the 1985-86 season he played in 15 consecutive postseasons. In his career, starting with the 1986 playoffs, he played in the postseason 18 different years, missing only the 2001 playoffs while with the Phoenix Coyotes. Lemieux played in 234 playoff games, which is fourth all-time in the NHL.[3]

On three occasions, he scored more goals during the playoffs than he did during the regular season (1985–86 with Montreal, 1994–95 with New Jersey, and 1996-97 with Colorado). Lemieux retired with 80 career playoff goals, ninth all-time in the NHL. On November 24, 2008, Lemieux, at age 43, signed a tryout contract with the San Jose Sharks in hopes of returning to the NHL after a five-year absence. Lemieux is a longtime friend of Sharks general manager Doug Wilson, who has taken a chance on veteran players before. Lemieux played a two-game stint with the China Sharks (vs Anyang Halla), San Jose's affiliate in Shanghai, while gauging his ability to make a full comeback.

Lemieux also had a reputation as one of the league's dirtiest players; in fact, a recent TSN special entitled "The Top 10 Most Hated NHL Players of All Time" ranked Claude second, behind only Sean Avery. While playing for Montreal, during a playoff game against the Calgary Flames, Claude Lemieux bit Calgary's Jim Peplinski on the finger during a scuffle, prompting the Calgary winger to say, "I didn't know they allowed cannibalism in the NHL." Lemieux's title of being a dirty player was solidified in a 1996 incident with the Avalanche when Lemieux checked Kris Draper of the Detroit Red Wings into the boards from behind during a playoff series. Draper suffered a concussion, broken jaw, broken nose and broken cheekbone, all of which all led to Draper having reconstructive surgery on his face having his jaw wired shut for several weeks. This incident is generally believed to have sparked a bitter rivalry between the two teams. Unhappy with his actions, the NHL suspended him two games, despite outcry from some fans who felt that Lemieux deserved a harsher penalty. Red Wings player Dino Ciccarelli said after the series "I can't believe I shook this guy's friggin' hand after the game. That pisses me right off".

Tensions between the two teams would continue to rise, reaching a breaking point the next season. During a fight in the infamous Red Wings–Avalanche brawl, Wings enforcer Darren McCarty jumped Lemieux without warning. Lemieux attempted to shield himself on the ice, but was repeatedly punched before the officials could remove McCarty from him. Several fights erupted around the two as both teams, including the goalies, fought. In the very next regular season game between the two, Lemieux switched sides on the opening face of to line up across from McCarty. He challenged him face to face, and the two had their second fight.

Retirement[edit]

In 2005, Lemieux became president of the current incarnation of the Phoenix RoadRunners.

In 2007, Lemieux took part in the second season of the Spike TV television show Pros vs. Joes.

In October 2009, Lemieux began competing as a pairs figure skater on the CBC Television reality show Battle of the Blades with Shae-Lynn Bourne. For one of their routines, the pair skated to Lemieux's recorded version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, which he sang as a duet with Kathryn Rose.

2008 comeback[edit]

In September 2008, on RDS, Lemieux expressed an interest in making a comeback to the NHL. He began the season with the China Sharks of the Asia League Ice Hockey before signing a contract with the Worcester Sharks on November 25.[4] After scoring 2 goals and 6 points in 14 games with Worcester, Lemieux signed a two-way contract with the San Jose Sharks on December 29, 2008.[5] The following day, he cleared waivers and continued to play for Worcester.[6] On January 19, 2009, the San Jose Sharks recalled Lemieux to the NHL and, on February 19, he recorded the first (and only) NHL point of his comeback, assisting on Milan Michálek's second-period goal against the Los Angeles Kings.

International play[edit]

Medal record
Competitor for  Canada
Ice hockey
World Cup
Silver 1996 Canada
Canada Cup
Gold 1987 Canada
World Junior Championships
Gold 1985 Canada

Lemieux represented Canada three times in international competitions over the course of his career. He made his first international appearance as a member of the Canadian national junior team at the 1985 World Junior Championships in Helsinki, Finland. Lemieux finished the tournament with 3 goals and 2 assist in 6 games to help Canada win its second World Junior gold medal. Lemieux was also a member of the 1987 Canada Cup winning team where he tallied 2 points in 6 games. His final appearance in international play came when he was selected to the Team Canada roster for the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. With his chippy demeanor still intact, Lemieux picked up 19 penalty minutes in the eight games as Canada finished second.

Personal life[edit]

Lemieux was born in Buckingham, Quebec and now resides in Phoenix, Arizona, after living in Toronto, Ontario for three years. He has a younger brother, Jocelyn Lemieux who also enjoyed a lengthy career in the NHL. He is, despite sharing the same last name, of no known relation to decorated former NHL player Mario Lemieux. He has two children from his first marriage; Christopher (born 1989) and Michael (born 1992), and two children with his current wife Deborah, son Brendan (born 1996) and daughter Claudia (born 1997). Brendan, who was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, is currently living in Barrie, Ontario playing for the Colts of the OHL. Claude became a naturalized U.S. citizen on 26 June 2009.[7]

Since his retirement from the NHL, Claude Lemieux has often been a well-respected guest of TSN's Off the Record with Michael Landsberg, sharing his personal insight of his playing days in the NHL.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1982–83 Trois-Rivières Draveurs QMJHL 62 28 38 66 187 4 1 0 1 30
1983–84 Montreal Canadiens NHL 8 1 1 2 12
1983–84 Verdun Juniors QMJHL 51 41 45 86 225 9 8 12 20 63
1983–84 Nova Scotia Voyageurs AHL 2 1 0 1 6
1984–85 Montreal Canadiens NHL 1 0 1 1 7
1984–85 Verdun Junior Canadiens QMJHL 52 58 66 124 152 14 23 17 40 38
1985–86 Sherbrooke Canadiens AHL 58 21 32 53 145
1985–86 Montreal Canadiens NHL 10 1 2 3 22 20 10 6 16 68
1986–87 Montreal Canadiens NHL 76 27 26 53 156 17 4 9 13 41
1987–88 Montreal Canadiens NHL 78 31 30 61 137 11 3 2 5 20
1988–89 Montreal Canadiens NHL 69 29 22 51 136 18 4 3 7 58
1989–90 Montreal Canadiens NHL 39 8 10 18 106 11 1 3 4 38
1990–91 New Jersey Devils NHL 78 30 17 47 105 7 4 0 4 34
1991–92 New Jersey Devils NHL 74 41 27 68 109 7 4 3 7 26
1992–93 New Jersey Devils NHL 77 30 51 81 155 5 2 0 2 19
1993–94 New Jersey Devils NHL 79 18 26 44 86 20 7 11 18 44
1994–95 New Jersey Devils NHL 45 6 13 19 86 20 13 3 16 20
1995–96 Colorado Avalanche NHL 79 39 32 71 117 19 5 7 12 55
1996–97 Colorado Avalanche NHL 45 11 17 28 43 17 13 10 23 32
1997–98 Colorado Avalanche NHL 78 26 27 53 115 7 3 3 6 8
1998–99 Colorado Avalanche NHL 82 27 24 51 102 19 3 11 14 26
1999–00 Colorado Avalanche NHL 13 3 6 9 4
1999–00 New Jersey Devils NHL 70 17 21 38 86 23 4 6 10 28
2000–01 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 46 10 16 26 58
2001–02 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 82 16 25 41 70 5 0 0 0 2
2002–03 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 36 6 8 14 30
2002–03 Dallas Stars NHL 32 2 4 6 14 7 0 1 1 10
2003–04 Zug NLA 7 2 3 5 4 5 1 3 4 8
2008–09 China Sharks ALH 2 0 1 1 4
2008–09 Worcester Sharks AHL 23 3 8 11 24
2008–09 San Jose Sharks NHL 18 0 1 1 21 1 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 1215 379 407 786 1777 234 80 78 158 529

Awards and achievements[edit]

Transactions[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Brian Leetch
Winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy
1995
Succeeded by
Joe Sakic