Claude Lemieux passes torch to his son


PHILADELPHIA -- As usual, there were lots of familial connections between the draft class of 2014 and former NHL stars.

Ted Donato's son Ryan was selected by the Boston Bruins in the second round on Saturday, providing some nice symmetry to the proceedings. Ted Donato was drafted by the Bruins in the fifth round of the 1987 draft.

A few picks earlier, Al MacInnis' son was picked by the Arizona Coyotes.

And to kick off the second round, Buffalo made Brendan Lemieux, son of longtime playoff hero Claude Lemieux, a Sabre.

Claude Lemieux was as usual a treat to talk to as he suggested his former team the New Jersey Devils, who had the final pick in the first round, might have made a mistake in passing on his son.

But the Devils’ mistake was Buffalo’s good fortune, said Lemieux, who won four Stanley Cups.

He thinks his fiery son will be a good addition to a Buffalo team essentially rebuilding from the ground up.

"He’s not quiet. He’s definitely not quiet," Lemieux said. "He’s a leader and he’s a winner. He loves to win and he plays the game the right way, so I’m sure the fans will identify.

“He’s the kind of player you need when you’re in a rebuilding mode. You want to have these character players. It’s a like a recipe, you need a little bit of everything, you can’t just have potatoes in your beef stew. You’ve got to have a little bit of spice, and he’ll bring that.”

Lemieux joked that there might be big shoes to fill if his son is going to generate the kind of hatred on the part of opposing teams that he (Claude) managed to do.

“I was pretty hated,” Lemieux admitted.

It’s clear that Brendan Lemieux was hoping to be a first-round pick, but a good night’s sleep might have helped soften that view.

“I think that’s a blessing as well," Claude Lemieux said. "There’s a pressure on a first-round pick. I didn’t have that pressure. My brother dealt with that pressure being eighth overall in St. Louis and he talked about that with Brendan this morning that it was tough to live up to."

Brendan Lemieux played for Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League and was third in scoring with 53 points but first in penalty minutes.

“He’s going there with absolutely no pressure, you know, go surprise everybody and earn a spot," Lemieux said. "When that’s going to happen is whenever Buffalo sees that he’s ready."