Claude Percy Lemieux (born July 16, 1965) is a Canadian former 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 11 players in Stanley Cup history to win the Cup with three or more different teams. 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 Mont-Laurier.
July 16, 1965|
Buckingham, Quebec, Canada
|Height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Weight||215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)|
New Jersey Devils
San Jose Sharks
26th overall, 1983|
He is infamous for an incident on May 29, 1996, in which he checked Kris Draper into the boards from behind, breaking Draper's orbital, cheek and jaw bones, as well as subsequent confrontations with Darren McCarty during the 1996–97 and 1997–98 seasons.
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.
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.
In 2005, Lemieux became president of the ECHL incarnation of the Phoenix RoadRunners until resigning in 2007. 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.
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. 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. The following day, he cleared waivers and continued to play for Worcester. 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.
Playing style and criticismEdit
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.
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.
Despite his playoff success, Lemieux also had a reputation as one of the league's hated and dirtiest players; in fact, a recent TSN special entitled "The Top 10 Most Hated NHL Players of All Time" ranked him second, behind only Sean Avery. While playing for Montreal, during a playoff game against the Calgary Flames, 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 forward Darren McCarty engaged Lemieux shortly after a fight started by Peter Forsberg with Igor Larionov had stopped play. Lemieux turtled on the ice, and was badly beaten before the officials could remove McCarty from him, who was assessed a double minor for roughing. Several fights erupted around the two as both teams, including the goalies, fought. In the next regular season game between the teams, Lemieux switched sides on the opening face off to line up across from McCarty. He challenged him face to face, and the two had their second fight.
|World Junior Championships|
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. Lemieux picked up 19 penalty minutes in the eight games as Canada finished second.
Lemieux is the older brother of former NHL forward Jocelyn Lemieux. Lemieux has another brother, Serge, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Despite his surname, he is not related to hockey great Mario Lemieux.
Regular season and playoffsEdit
|1983–84||Nova Scotia Voyageurs||AHL||—||—||—||—||—||2||1||0||1||6|
|1984–85||Verdun Junior Canadiens||QMJHL||52||58||66||124||152||14||23||17||40||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|
|1999–2000||New Jersey Devils||NHL||70||17||21||38||86||23||4||6||10||28|
|2008–09||San Jose Sharks||NHL||18||0||1||1||21||1||0||0||0||0|
Awards and achievementsEdit
- June 8, 1983 – Montreal Canadiens' 2nd round draft choice (26th overall) in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft.
- September 4, 1990 – Traded by the Montreal Canadiens to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Sylvain Turgeon.
- October 3, 1995 – Traded by the New Jersey Devils to the New York Islanders in exchange for Steve Thomas.
- October 3, 1995 – Traded by the New York Islanders to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Wendel Clark.
- November 3, 1999 – Traded by the Colorado Avalanche, along with Colorado's 1st round draft choice (David Hale) and 2nd round draft choice (Matt DeMarchi) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Brian Rolston and New Jersey's 2nd round draft choice (Martin Samuelsson) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
- December 5, 2000 – Signed as a free agent with the Phoenix Coyotes.
- January 16, 2003 – Traded by the Phoenix Coyotes to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Scott Pellerin and Dallas' 4th round draft choice (Kevin Porter) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
- December 29, 2008 – Signed as a free agent with the San Jose Sharks.
- "Players on Stanley-Cup Winning Teams". Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- "Worcester Sharks sign Claude Lemieux to an AHL Contract". Worcester Sharks. 2008-11-25. Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2008-12-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-08. Retrieved 2008-12-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Lemieux becomes American citizen". The Modesto Bee. 2009-06-26. Archived from the original on June 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- Biographical information and career statistics from NHL.com, or Eliteprospects.com, or Hockey-Reference.com, or The Internet Hockey Database
- Claude Lemieux discusses his career at The Hockey Writers
|Awards and achievements|
| Winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy