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Continued: Prankster Lapointe is no joke in assessing talent for Wild

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 26, 2014 - 9:58 AM

Lapointe made sure to be the last player on the ice. He took everybody’s black shoes and socks and mixed them in a bucket in the middle of the room. After practice, “I just grabbed my brown socks and shoes and left,” he said.

During former Wild assistant coach Mario Tremblay’s rookie year in Montreal, Tremblay was so excited about buying a new Grand Prix. He wanted to show it off after practice. As a rookie, Tremblay had to stay on the ice longer than everyone else, so Lapointe left the ice first, dug through Tremblay’s pants, ran across the street and hid Tremblay’s car.

“He brought us out to show us the car and no car,” Lapointe said. “Sheer panic. He called the police. I gave the car back two days after. Poor Mario.”

A big kid

Scouts are infamous for buying 50-50 raffle tickets at junior rinks. One time, longtime Kings scout John Stanton was waving his ticket as he spoke. Lapointe saw this, so he secretly wrote down Stanton’s number on his program. Later, when Stanton asked if anyone had the winning number, Lapointe nonchalantly read off Stanton’s. Much to the delight of the rest of the scouts who were in the loop, the excited Stanton sprinted through the crowd and down to the score clock to collect his money. He’d soon be disappointed.

“My wife wonders if before I pass away, if I’m going to grow up,” Lapointe said. “I try to bring some fun.”

Having been with the Wild since Day 1, Lapointe admits there have been good picks (Marian Gaborik, Mikko Koivu, Brent Burns and others) and bad (from 2004-08, the Wild selected A.J. Thelen, Benoit Pouliot, James Sheppard, Colton Gillies and Tyler Cuma in the first round).

But Lapointe is delighted to see the Wild turning the corner.

“Like a ballplayer, you’re going to miss the ball. We try to do that as little as possible,” Lapointe said. “But I like the direction we’re going. I still have the same passion I did as a player. I look forward to keep doing this.”

But if you find yourself next to him, watch your back — and your shoes.

 

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