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Getting to know ... Pascal Leclaire

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Senators goaltender Pascal Leclaire visited France, during the off-season to visit with some wine makers and also made an appearance on a popular Quebec cooking show (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).

Pascal Leclaire gets paid to stop the puck.

But there is a whole lot more to the Ottawa Senators goaltender than what goes on between the pipes. Among other things, Leclaire is a wine enthusiast who took an off-season trip to Bordeaux, France, to see exactly what goes into making some of his favourite vintages.

The Senators stopper is also a whiz in the kitchen who made a summer appearance on a television show featuring Ricardo, a popular Quebec chef.

Leclaire took some time out to talk about two of his off-ice passions and the game he loves:

Q: What is your favourite minor hockey memory?
A: Playing in the peewee tournament in Quebec City. It was the year the Nordiques left town. Our team had the Canadiens jerseys on and we did the opening (game). There were about 15,000 people there and we all got booed. I was 12 years old and I remember that. It was fun to be a part of it.

Q: If you weren’t a goalie, what position would you want to play?
A: I started as a defenceman when I was a kid because my dad wanted me to learn how to skate. But I wouldn’t be playing in the NHL if was still a defenceman.

Q: Your all-time favourite hockey player?
A: Patrick Roy. He’s an easy choice for a Montreal kid.

Q: If you’re the person doing the cooking, what’s on the menu for dinner?
A: I do a little bit of everything. I actually cook a lot at home. I enjoy cooking quite a bit. In the summer, we do a lot of barbecues. Me and my buddies, we eat a lot of meats. I’ve started making risottos, too. I like making them a lot.

Q: What’s your favourite wine?
A: Either a French Bordeaux or an Italian Barolo. One of those two.

Q: What did you discover about wine when you went to Bordeaux over the summer?

A: It was just a chance to meet the people who make it. What impressed me the most is all the attention they pay to the grape itself. They were explaining that when they make a nice wine, they pick one grape at a time by hand and if there’s a scratch on it, it goes into a second (level) batch of stuff.

Q: What’s the best cooking tip you learned from Ricardo?
A: We did a potato gratin and I learned you have to keep an eye on it all the time. He likes to talk a lot and I’m the same way. We kept talking and the potatoes were starting to stick in the pan. It kind of looked bad.

Q: Your favourite websites to visit?
A: I subscribe to the Robert Parker site (www.erobertparker.com). He’s the guy who does all the wine tasting. Before I buy wine, I like going there to see his notes. I go on CNN every day to see what’s going on in the world.

Q: What’s in your iPod right now?
A: I like the old Michael Jackson music a lot. All pop music, rap, R & B … I pretty much listen to everything but country music.

Q: Your favourite TV show?
A: I’ve always liked The Simpsons and South Park. Pretty light stuff. And I watch the Food Network quite a bit, too.

Q: What do you like to read?
A: I’m not a big book reader. I’m more of a magazine guy. It depends on my mood. I’ll read some of the paparazzi stuff, wine stuff, food stuff … pretty much everything.

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