Flyers looking to ex-Penguin Talbot for energy, leadership
MAXIME TALBOT does not pull any punches. Take him or leave him, he says. "I am a black-and-white person," said Talbot, one of the handful of new faces in the Flyers' locker room. "I am who I am. I'm not coming here to change my personality."
MAXIME TALBOT does not pull any punches.
Take him or leave him, he says.
"I am a black-and-white person," said Talbot, one of the handful of new faces in the Flyers' locker room. "I am who I am. I'm not coming here to change my personality."
Yes, Talbot's versatile on-ice skill set is one reason the Flyers decided to lure him from Pittsburgh with a 5-year, $8.75 million deal on the opening day of last summer's free-agent frenzy. But Talbot's energy, reputation as a player who craves pressure, and in-room leadership is what may make him the under-the-radar acquisition of the offseason.
In fact, Jaromir Jagr's very public spurning of the Penguins last summer may actually pale in comparison to the dagger that Talbot threw into the heart of Pittsburgh's hockey club by joining its cross-state rival.
There is a reason he was one of the Penguins' most popular players, both on and off the ice. It wasn't just because of his on-ice pranks, like in 2007 when he donned Sidney Crosby's jersey in practice on a day that Sid decided to skip, skating out on the ice in Toronto to large cheers before fans realized he wasn't the real No. 87.
Or, the hilarious television commercials he has done in Pittsburgh, like when he promoted the cheesy City of Champions Crunch cereal with the Steelers' Hines Ward.
Talbot, 27, has been in Philadelphia for a little more than a month but no personality in the fresh-faced locker room has made an impact like him.
"I haven't felt any cold in that room," Talbot said. "The guys have been great, no one has been down. I think you can tell from the personality . The mood has been great.
"But I'm used to having that and having an up-tempo beat. I didn't plan to change anything, but when I signed the coaches told me they wanted that here. It's been well-received."
While it's probably more of a coincidence than anything, Talbot operates a small corner of the locker room where a fellow francophone, Ian Laperriere, used to hold court on a daily basis. Some say Talbot is a younger version of Laperriere.
Aside from their self-made reputations as "glue guys" in a locker room, or someone who can develop a common thread with each player to help bring the team together, both Talbot and Laperriere were superstar scorers growing up in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Both Talbot and Laperriere have carved out successful careers in the NHL by doing something other than score, retooling their style to win the game's little battles.
You may not have noticed Talbot much in the preseason. Aside from Blair Betts and rookie Harry Zolnierczyk, Talbot was the only Flyers forward who did not net a single point in five preseason contests.
"At the end of the day, you probably don't notice him or talk about him as much as Jagr, but he's not that type of player," coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's a character player who can put in big goals or big points.
"He prides himself on coming to the rink every day, working hard and doing the right things, playing physical, and chipping in offensively. He's been good. He is a guy that can fill a lot of different roles."
Talbot is a scrapper. He is generously listed at 5-11 but is probably a close rival to Danny Briere as the Flyers' smallest forward. That doesn't bother him. He is known as one of the toughest players in the league to play against.
Talbot, who hails from a small Quebec City suburb called Le Moyne and is named after Saint-Maxime, one of the two Catholic parishes that divides the town, can play any position and thrives on the penalty kill.
In the preseason, Talbot played all three forward positions and saw time on all four lines.
"I think it helps me and the team at the same time," Talbot said. "I've played on the first line with [Claude] Giroux and Jagr and I've played on the fourth line. It's great. You can change lines on any night and if you find chemistry, you can stay on any line."
Talbot's biggest attribute, though, may be his clutch play in the postseason. His claim to fame in Pittsburgh was scoring both of the Penguins' goals in a Stanley Cup clinching, all-or-nothing, 2-1 win in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup finals. He was also twice a playoff MVP in the QMJHL.
"It's a nice reputation. Better than being a guy who chokes all the time," Talbot said, laughing. "But I'd like to have that reputation in the regular season, as well. I like those pressure situations. When we need a goal, I like to be out there."
When he first signed with the Flyers, Talbot said he never imagined playing anywhere other than Pittsburgh. Now that he's here, Talbot says he can already sense some of the same attributes that made the Penguins so successful.
"The season hasn't even started yet and I feel like the chemistry has been great," Talbot said. "I can already tell that we will have a good year."