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The one about…giving up the gift of gab

Things are changing for Maxim Lapierre.

He’s 27-years-old and maturing before our very eyes. Outwardly, he’s still Mad Max: talking a big game and backing it up in everything he does. Inwardly his actions tell a different story of how far he’s come during his time in Vancouver alone.

He’s found the one, Natasha, and is settling down. He wants to have kids, four to be exact. He bought a new house a few years ago and moved his parents next door to be close to family. All this, though, is nothing compared to the biggest change that will go down this fall when hockey returns.

“People don’t realize how much energy it takes being focused on talking to the other team all the time,” said Lapierre, hands on the wheel, foot on the pedal of his Range Rover. “It’s exhausting and I’m done with it.”

Re-read that last paragraph if you have to. I know I had to listen to the audio a few times to make sure I got it right.

One of the kings of trash talk is retiring from the yak game.

“I’d say I cut down to half of my regular talking last season,” he said. “But next year will be even better. I want to play a tough game, fight when I have to fight, and hit, but I’m done putting extra stress on the refs with my talking. I’m going to stop it. I can still play the same type of game, but the after the whistle thing, I’m totally done with that.

“It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but at some point you have to realize it’s 82 games a year for seven years. I don’t even know what to say anymore to be honest, I’ve said everything.”

You could tell a guy that it used to be called a jumpoline before yo’ momma went on it, I thought to myself, chuckling, not realizing how serious Lapierre was.

“You should just compliment people instead,” quipped Rory, filming from the passenger seat.

Without hesitation, Lapierre jumped all over the suggestion.

“That’s what I’m going to do this year,” Lapierre stated. “‘Hey buddy, how was your summer?’ They’re going to be so confused. ‘I hope you had a great family summer!’”

Clearly Lapierre hasn’t lost his sense of humour all together. That’s a good thing. But he is a man on a mission in terms of cutting the gift of gab out of his game.

“At one point early on I realized that every player is good and to get into the NHL you have to do something to have the people’s attention and catch their eye. You’ve got to find a way to stay in the NHL and every player can shoot, every player can skate, so I started to talk. Now I’m done with that. For good.”

Talking the talk like never before.