Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning's Pierre-Cedric Labrie tough on ice, not off

MONTREAL — The best thing about rookie right wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie, his Lightning teammates say, is he can laugh at himself.

Take his shock of thick, curly red hair he sometimes tames with an elastic band.

"If I don't take care of my head, it will just be a big Afro and everybody is laughing at me," Labrie said, "so, I just have to laugh, too."

"We always say he's got dual character," coach Jon Cooper said. "He's got character, and he is a character. Those are fun guys to be around."

Labrie, though, is dead serious about his career. That's what happens when at age 17 you are cut by a junior team and take a job working the overnight shift at a convenience store.

He is even more serious about playing in Montreal, where he played his first NHL game last season and where Tampa Bay tonight takes on the Canadiens.

"It's like my ground. It's my province," said Labrie, 26, whose hometown of Baie-Comeau in Quebec is about 360 miles northeast. "It's like being back home. It's a good feeling. The game is going to be on TV everywhere in my hometown, so that's really special because I know everybody is looking."

Assuming Labrie plays — the 6-foot-3, 234-pound freight train has missed eight of the previous 11 games with an upper-body injury — what a dozen family and friends will see is a player growing into his game.

Labrie scored his second career goal in Tuesday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Jets, and it should be noted both came from the front of the net on scrambling, physical plays.

And though he is averaging 7:40 of ice time as a fourth-line player, Labrie played a career-best 10:49 and was plus-1 against Winnipeg. His line, which included B.J. Crombeen and Dana Tyrell, was Tampa Bay's best for much of the game.

He also has an assist and is plus-1 in 14 games. His 28 penalty minutes include four fights, and he has 32 hits.

"He does that job in hockey that's tough to do," said Cooper, who also coached Labrie in the AHL at Syracuse and Norfolk. "He's got to grind guys out sometimes. He has to fight when called upon."

"He's hard to play against, a great skater, physical," Crombeen said. "He creates a lot in there."

Perhaps most of all, though, Labrie is a terrific teammate.

Part of it is his willingness to fight to defend teammates. But there also is a playfulness to Labrie, who always seems to be smiling and, as Crombeen said, "doesn't have too many bad days."

"He takes things very lightly," said teammate Alex Killorn, who also played with Labrie in the AHL. "You can make fun of him, and he'll make fun of you. There's nothing personal about it."

"I bring the positivity," Labrie said. "I try to bring some jokes and make guys laugh."

And that brings us back to Labrie's hair.

"When he puts shampoo in there, it just blows up like a poodle," Killorn said.

Asked if he ever made fun of Labrie's hair, Cooper laughed,

"I've had him for three years," he said. "You could probably answer that yourself."

Damian Cristodero can be reached at

. Tonight

Lightning at Canadiens

When/where: 7:30; Bell Centre, Montreal

TV/radio: Fox Sports Florida; 970-AM

Key stats: The Lightning has lost three straight (0-2-1) in Montreal. … The Canadiens' P.K. Subban leads all defensemen with 11 goals and 36 points and all players with 25 power-play points. … The Canadiens and Lightning are the only teams without a shorthanded goal. … Montreal, which met Pittsburgh on Wednesday, is 6-1-1 in the second of back-to-back games.

Lightning's Pierre-Cedric Labrie tough on ice, not off 04/17/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 11:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.
  2. Rays vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Orioles

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  3. Rays journal: Sergio Romo excited for fresh start in AL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Sergio Romo was about to play catch with LHP Adam Kolarek before Monday's batting practice when he paused.

    RAMOS EXITS: Rays catcher Wilson Ramos clutches his head after being beaned by Ruben Tejada’s broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos leaves the game and receives six staples to close a laceration on his head.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    LHP Blake Snell stepped up when the Rays needed him to — and perhaps when he had to to keep his job — working a season-high seven plus innings. And it wasn't only that he got deep into the game, but how he did so, using his fastball to pound the strike zone.

  5. Urban Meyer says the Big Ten is now the equal of the SEC


    CHICAGO — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer doesn't just believe the Big Ten has closed the gap with the more heralded SEC. He is convinced the race is a dead heat already.

    Ohio State’s Urban Meyer says the Big Ten East is as strong as the SEC East was when he coached UF to two national titles.