Slap Shot – Denis Lemieux

The 1977 movie Slap Shot with Paul Newman is a classic in Canada. One of the movie’s fan favourites’ character was goaltender Denis Lemieux, a French Canadian goalie with a thick accent and no filter… as did most of the characters in the movies. The actor playing the now famous goaltender is Yvon Barrette, who grew up in Alma, Quebec. Ironically, Barrette played hockey but as a forward, so playing a goalie didn’t come naturally. What did come naturally though is the persona and the emotion of being French Canadian and the actor brought a touch of humour and realism to the classic movie.

Let’s face it… in normal time, everyone would be talking NHL Draft at this time, whether it’d be fans, media, experts and pseudo-experts. As Habs’ fans, we would be looking at the Canadiens’ options, and determine what Trevor Timmins and Marc Bergevin should be doing, who they should pick, then analyse it all. But since there isn’t much to write and talk about in the NHL now days, let’s explore and appreciate a few scenes involving Denis. Just a heads-up though… the language in those videos isn’t for everyone so if you’re easily offended, I suggest you don’t press “play”.

In this first scene, Denis had had enough of his team, the Charlestown Chiefs in the Federal League, and their losing ways and, with the help of his teammates, he’s asking for a trade…

In the following scene, the Chiefs are being badly outplayed and Denis had to stand on his head, often feeling alone out there. At the intermission, he looses it and the Chiefs’ trainer has to come and calm him down.

Denis is often Reggie Dunlop‘s (Paul Newman) go-to guy when talking different topics. Here are a couple of examples of the player-coach using his friend to get information…

And this is the classic scene, what Denis is most well known for. In an interview, his lack of English vocabulary, combined with his bluntness, make this one of the best scenes of the entire movie.

That scene was so well known that the Pittsburgh Penguins did a retake of it with none other than… Marc-André Fleury playing the role of Denis. See for yourself.

It’s even funny in the French version of the movie.

I can’t figure out how to post the next video but click on the link for an interview with Yvon who tells a few stories from behind the scene.

In part two of this two-parts Slap Shot rewind, we will look at the Hanson Brothers and what they brought to the movie. Stay tuned…

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