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Poirier overcomes disappointment to play at elite level for Gatineau Olympiques

Friday, 12.06.2013 / 11:44 AM / News

The Canadian Press

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Poirier overcomes disappointment to play at elite level for Gatineau Olympiques

OTTAWA - Emile Poirier has faced his share of disappointment this season.

First, he failed to make the Calgary Flames out of training camp while fellow Ottawa-area junior phenom Sean Monahan stuck with the team.

Then he was left of Team Canada's selection camp list for the upcoming world junior championship.

But none of this disappointment is evident on the ice, where Poirier is a top scorer with the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Heading into Friday's game against Blainville-Boisbriand, Poirier was sixth in league scoring with 20 goals and 24 assists in 28 games.

"For sure there's some disappointment but life continues and I'll keep focusing on Gatineau," Poirier said Tuesday, the day after the selection camp list was announced.

Not going to the world juniors may be somewhat of a blessing because it will give Poirier a break considering he has essentially been going non-stop for the past six months.

Following the QMJHL season there were individual team combines and NHL combines that go along with the draft. Then there was the draft itself followed by developmental camps, rookie camp, training camp and then the start of the QMJHL season, which has included two games in the Subway Super Series for Poirier.

"I didn't think of that. I wanted to go (to Team Canada) but it's OK," Poirier said.

"They are all great players and when you look at the list it will be a good team and they'll have a good four lines"

Since being back with Gatineau, Poirier has had some adjustments to make but overall his play has been one of the biggest factors in allowing the Olympiques to go 21-10-0, good for fourth place overall in the QMJHL.

Olympiques coach Benoit Groulx says Poirier has to realize that he is now one of the elite players in the league.

"He had two average games against the Russians but I think for him it will be positive down the road," Groulx said of being left off the Team Canada roster.

"Being at summer camp and playing with the best players in the league, it was all new to him. He has to realize that he is one of the best players in the league and that he is good enough to be there. I don't think he was prepared mentally but that will come with maturity and down the road that experience will help him out."

While Poirier's focus is on Gatineau, you can't blame him if his mind sometimes drifts to Calgary, especially given how well fellow first-round pick Monahan has fit in. The 19-year-old Monahan was expected to return to the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's this season, but instead he is sticking in the NHL and has nine goals and six assists in 24 games with the Flames.

"The (Flames training camp) was a great experience and it was a good preparation for next year. I came back here to junior and focused on my play and work on a few things which will help me next year," Poirier said.

"To be in Calgary next year that's my number one goal."

Quote of the Day

It was the look in his eyes. Hockey is the most important thing in his life. He wants to be a hockey player, and nothing's going to stop him from being a hockey player.

— Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin on forward Alex Galchenyuk's potential