I received many letters from fans and wish I had time to respond to all of you. I appreciate every single one and I appreciate all of you. It is because of my fans that I decided to create this website. With this, I hope I will answer most of your questions and reveal a little more about my background, my family and my journey to the NHL.
Growing up in a little town just outside of Montreal, I was practically born with skates on. I was about 3 years old when I got my first pair, a hand me down from my older brother Frank. I instantly fell in love with the the game of hockey and my family has been cheering me on and supporting me every step of the way. growing up with two older brothers, you can imagine the damage we did – from the holes we put in our basement playing hockey on our rollerblades, to fist fights and wrestling matches. I definitely got beat up more than once! My brothers, Will 29 and Frank 31, and I are still very close, they visit me in Pittsburgh a number of times throughout the year.
Family and friends are important to me and maintaining those close relationships is a priority in my life. I am so blessed to have a family that never pressured me and always encouraged me to do my best while having fun. My parents exemplify ideal hockey parents.They are the reason I have made it to where I am today and for that, I can never thank them enough.
This may come as a surprise, but I was good in school.I actually miss it. Although I wasn’t the most studious student, I enjoyed it a lot and always took pride in having good grades. It was like a competition for me. My favorite subjects were math, psychology, French, history and philosophy. One of my favorite memories from elementary school was in the 6th grade when my teacher asked me what I wanted to become in life. My answer was instinctive and instant; “I want to be a hockey player”. Even from an early age, I loved the game and knew that’s what I wanted to do, play in the NHL.I didn’t always think I was going to make it, but I kept working at it and just as importantly I kept having fun doing it every step of the way.
Just like back in school, I still enjoy reading . One book that particularly inspired me is ‘The Secret’. It reminded me that if you want something, you have to see yourself with it, focus on it and work to attain it.
Another thing that inspired me is this youtube clip of Will Smith. One of my favorite quotes; "I am not afraid to die on a treadmill".
You meet a lot of people along the way and they shape your life in different ways.One of those people is my best friend Bruno Gervais. We were on the same team when we were 11 years old and we have been best friends ever since. He plays for the New York Islanders and wears number 8. He is a brother to me and I feel blessed to have him and his family in my life.
Another inspirational figure in my life was my junior coach, Benoit Groulx.He helped mold me into the player I am today. He was a great influence on my career, he taught me how to really work and how to become a good leader.
My junior years were exceptional. I had the privilege to be the Captain of my teams in 2003 and 2004 and we won the Quebec league back to back. We lost in final of the Memorial Cup both years, but what a great run it was.
As I made my pro debut, Michel Therrien was also a good influence on my career. He taught me how to be a professional and how to play with no fear.
It was in 2005 when my coach Eddie Olczyk came to me and told me I was going to play in my first NHL game. I went into the stands of Mellon arena by myself and called my family with tears in my eyes. My dream had finally come true.
My first NHL fight was against Jay Bowmeester in Florida. The guy is 6 foot 6! I am still not sure if I won the fight. My first NHL goal was far from ordinary. I will never forget it, it came against the Philadelphia Flyers from center ice.
My career as been filled with so many incredible moments. I am fortunate to go to battle with amazing individuals every single day playing for the best organization in the NHL. For the past 6 years, I have been a part of something really special.
Obviously, I will never forget June 12th, 2009. The day we raised the Stanley Cup. I still can’t describe the feeling I had. Sharing this moment with teammates, my friends and my family will be a memory I will cherish for ever.
I feel blessed and fortunate to go to the rink everyday and live my dream.