When I was a web designer during my mid-20s, I once had a programmer tell me something I’d never forget. After he noticed I was constantly wound up and staying late in the night to finish a website for an important client, he pulled me aside and said “work smarter, not harder.” I was burning myself out and, while my hard work was admirable, a different approach would be better for me, the team, and the project as a whole.
That lesson is also apparently something that the goal-driven Hendrix Lapierre learned this summer as well.
Lapierre, intensely focused on making the NHL, is aware that his smaller body type and frame hold him back from being able to consistently produce in the top league in the world. So during his summers, he hits the weight room with a fury. But while he’s making progress, he’s found that his gains were perhaps not where he wanted them to be yet.
“I feel like my routine has always been good in the summer,” Lapierre said to the media, including RMNB, at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase on Tuesday. “Always taking care of my body. But sometimes I was trying to do too much maybe because I wanted to get bigger and stronger (quicker) so I was always in the gym pushing weights and very heavy stuff. At one point, [I was told] ‘you’ve gotta calm down. Your muscle growth is going to come when you relax and when you allow your muscles to recover.’
“So I started doing that this summer and this is the summer I put on the most muscle and the most amount of weight,” Lapierre said. “I’m very happy about that. Hopefully, I can keep growing and keep getting stronger. I feel like that was the big difference. Sometimes when you do too much, it’s not good for you.”
Lapierre said during the Capitals’ July Development Camp that he was “around 185” pounds and has gained two to three pounds of muscle already.
“My strength is my number one priority,” he said then. “Being big and able to play 82 games against men every other night. I think for me is that my biggest concern. I think I’ve made a lot of progress but there’s still eight weeks left in the summer so I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to put on some more weight and get ready. And just little details I try to work on.”
Lapierre arrived back in the DC area around three weeks ago. After working out with NHL stars like Kris Letang and Jonathan Huberdeau at his Montreal gym, Lapierre found another All-Star in Washington to bond with.
“I’ve been training in the morning with John Carlson,” Lapierre said. “He’s, what, 30-something? He’s dominated the league for a couple years but he’s still working very hard. For me as a young guy coming in, it’s very motivating to see and it just gets me more hungry.”
Lapierre also finds the team’s informal skates, where about 15 to 20 players skate, before Training Camp beneficial.
“It’s been very very good,” Lapierre said. “It’s like regular practices. Then we always get a scrimmage going, no matter if it’s 3-on-3, 4-on-4, or 5-on-5. We always finish with a skate like today which is always tough. It’s fun to be around those guys and what they do in the summer. Sometimes you may think ‘Oh those guys must play golf all the time and stuff in the summer.’ But they actually take care of their body and there’s a reason they have so much success.”
Lapierre concluded, “I have the same mentality as last year which is to make the team, but I do feel better. I feel like I’ve had a great summer. I put myself in a position to have success so I’m very excited.”
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/RMNB
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