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The reason why former Hab Guy Lapointe didn’t use tape on his stick blade

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It was a very emotional Guy Lapointe I interviewed on Dec. 5, three days following the death of Jean Béliveau, who was a father figure to the Hall of Fame defenceman who had his No. 5 retired by the Canadiens this season.

“I’m getting a little emotional here, I’m sorry,” Lapointe said over the phone from Kingston, Ont., where he was on a scouting trip for the Minnesota Wild.

“We lost a father … that’s the best way to describe what (Béliveau) meant to all us (former) players,” added Lapointe, who is now the chief amateur scout for the Wild.

To lighten things up a bit, I mentioned to Lapointe that while playing hockey as a kid I would use a white Canadien model stick with no tape on the blade because that’s what he did.

“The real reason is that I was too lazy,” Lapointe said with a laugh about the reason he didn’t tape his stick. “We used to play tricks … and you know Flower (Guy Lafleur) used to be in the room at 4:30 (p.m. for a 7 or 8 p.m. start) and he was pretty meticulous about his stick, taping it and all that. So I used to untape his stick once in a while and he used to get very upset about that. I didn’t want that trick to happen to me, so I decided I would use hardly any tape.”

Another Hall of Fame defenceman who didn’t like to use tape on his stick blade was Bobby Orr. In his book, Orr: My Story, the former Boston Bruins great reveals why he only used one strand of tape, believing when he entered the NHL that there was a rule that players had to use at least some tape on the stick blade.

“In my case, I liked the feel of the puck on the blade without any tape at all,” Orr writes. “So the idea came to me that if I had to have tape on my stick, I would use as little as possible. Over the years, I used less and less until I was down to a single strip. And eventually I ended up with no tape at all.”

Orr admits he didn’t even know what lie his stick had when he was playing junior and still loves the feel of a wooden stick, writing: “… there’s something about the feel of a wooden stick in your hands that can never be totally duplicated in carbon fiber.”

 

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