Two for two
By Derek Jory
The Canucks took a wait and see approach with Maxim Lapierre when they acquired him at the trade deadline last season. Liking what they saw from the feisty forward, Vancouver signed Lapiere to a two-year contract Wednesday.
After the way Lapierre performed on the Canucks third line alongside Jannik Hansen and Raffi Torres throughout the 2011 NHL Playoffs, Vancouver had to bring him back to the fold.
In the 2011 playoffs, Lapierre recorded five points (3-2-5), including the game-winner in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, and 66 penalty minutes in 25 games played. That followed up a 12-point (6-6-12) 79-game regular season, which the 26-year-old spread between Vancouver, Anaheim and Montreal.
The 2010-11 was a turbulent one for Lapierre, but he’s grateful the Canucks gave him a second chance at the trade deadline and he’s again appreciative of being able to stay in Vancouver for two more years.
“I’m really really happy to be back, it’s a great team and a great organization,” Lapierre said on a media conference call. “We know we came close to winning the Cup last year and now we’re focusing on winning it next year. We know we’ve got the team and we know we can do it.”
The 6-foot-2, 207-pound centre, who was originally selected 61st overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, has appeared in 333 NHL games, recording 84 points (41-43-84) and 301 penalty minutes over the span of six NHL seasons.
Alberts back in the mix
Vancouver’s defence will look a little more familiar next season as Andrew Alberts was also signed a two-year contact Wednesday.
Alberts returns to the Canucks following his first full season with the team in which the 29-year-old blueliner played 42 regular season games and nine in the post-season, including the final six meetings with the Boston Bruins, the team he was originally drafted to in the 2001 draft.
The 6-foot-5, 209-pound defenceman led Vancouver’s defence in hits this year with 113 and he’s now preparing to hit the ground running for the 2011-12 season.
“Vancouver is an organization that wants to win every year and they put players on the team that they think are the best crew they can put on the ice, so it’s great to be a part of that,” said Alberts, who was set to become a free agent Friday.
“It’s a big relief, I get to back to a city I love, a team I like playing for, great coaches, a great organization.
“We had a great run this year and next year we’d like to make it that much better by taking the next step and winning everything.”