Martin Lapointe can’t wait to join forces with the man who first brought him into the National Hockey League.
The Ottawa Senators added some veteran grit to their lineup Tuesday when they acquired Lapointe from the Chicago Blackhawks for a sixth-round pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft. The 34-year-old forward is expected to join the Senators tomorrow in Philadelphia and be in the lineup Thursday night, when Ottawa faces the Flyers at the Wachovia Center.
The trade reunites Lapointe with Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray, who selected the gritty forward in the first round of the 1991 NHL entry draft when he held the same position with the Detroit Red Wings. Lapointe went on to earn a pair of Stanley Cup rings with the Wings, and he’s “excited” about getting the opportunity to help the Senators reach the same heights this season.
“I want to bring some grit to the Sens and if I can bring some leadership to their locker-room, I’ll do that,” Lapointe told TSN. “I think they have a great team and a great bunch of guys and hopefully, we can go far in the playoffs.”
Lapointe admits there will be a period of adjustment to a new team, but he hopes to make an impact sooner rather than later. He’s considered a character player whose leadership played a key role on two Red Wings’ Cup championship teams.
“You have to assess the situation (first),” said Lapointe, who’s in the final year of a three-year contract he signed with the Blackhawks as a free agent in 2005. “There’s a couple of guys they have there that I know have great leadership (abilities) … It’s not my place to do that now but once I’m established and on the team and have a regular spot, that’s when you step in and straighten things out if it’s (needed).
“You’ve got to go with your gut feeling. Great leaders do it with their gut, usually, and I think that’s what’s going to happen … You assess the situation and make sure the guys are on the same page. It’s not a secret, it’s not a magic potion. It’s just that everybody has to be on the same page to win the Stanley Cup. That’s the bottom line.”
The acquisition of Lapointe adds to the group of former Stanley Cup champions Murray has brought on board in recent weeks. Back on Feb. 11, the Senators dealt defenceman Joe Corvo and Patrick Eaves to the Carolina Hurricanes for forward Cory Stillman and blueliner Mike Commodore, who own three Stanley Cup rings between them.