LEWISTON — Billy Lacasse, Eric Gelinas and Sam Finn have played in 373 combined regular season games. They’ve amassed just 44 goals and 97 assists in two seasons, and none of them have ever advanced beyond the second round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.

Yet these three players might be the most important players to don a Lewiston Maineiacs jersey this season.

“You look at Sam and Billy and Eric, those three guys in particular,
you see that they are going to lead by committee,” Maineiacs’ GM Roger Shannon said. “They
took control of the camp right from the beginning, and they made sure
that everybody in camp knew they were the three main leaders. They’ve
done a heck of a job of it.”

Despite being tabbed team leaders, at 135 games played, Lacasse, 19, has the most QMJHL experience of anyone currently on the team’s roster. Gelinas has played 121, all with Lewiston, while Finn is at 117, with all but 31 of those played for Cape Breton.

That’s young,” head coach Don MacAdam said, but not unworkable.

“I seem to recall a guy winning a Stanley Cup as a 21-year-old
captain,” MacAdam said, referring to Pittsburgh Penguins captain and former Rimouski Oceanic captain Sidney Crosby. “Age has nothing to do with
leadership. Never has, never will.”

The players themselves all appear ready for the challenge.

 “I don’t put any pressure on myself,” Finn said. “I think it’s in me, I
just want to help guys and I’m just a leader by example.”

“You have to have more responsibilities, but it doesn’t change to way
you have to play,” Gelinas said. “You have to be able to show the
younger guys how to play, how to compete, how to battle. That’s how you
have to be in training camp, and I’ll try to be that way in the season,
too.”

 “The young guys are going to look at you and say, ‘Hey, we have to
follow him,'” Lacasse said.”We know we have to be more mature about
everything this year. We will have a chance to win if we’re doing the
right things and everybody is following. (Coach) Don (MacAdam) knows
what he’s doing, and the older guys are on the same page as him. If the
younger players follow, we’ll have a good year.”

Helping Gelinas will be his summer trip to New Jersey Devils camp. The Devils drafted Gelinas this summer.

“If I can motivate and teach some things to the younger players, that’s
fine with me,” Gelinas said. “I went to the pro camp this summer, and
the older guys did the same thing with me, so I have to do the same
thing here.”

“Having gone to the New Jersey Devils’ rookie camp, Eric’s come back
with a sense about him,” Shannon said. “He’s got some confidence. If
you recall, he came in here as a 16-year-old and he was kind of shy.
Now he’s got a sense of confidence about him.”

Shannon and MacAdam aren’t worried so much about the age or the trio’s apparent lack of leadership experience, either. With a fresh start to the season, and with so many new faces, the role of team leader isn’t so much about showing others what to do, but about doing the right things and having other follow.

 “At this point, their biggest attribute is enthusiasm,” MacAdam said. “Positive enthusiasm.”

 “The young guys are going to look at you and say, ‘Hey, we have to
follow him,'” Lacasse said.”We know we have to be more mature about
everything this year. We will have a chance to win if we’re doing the
right things and everybody is following. (Coach) Don (MacAdam) knows
what he’s doing, and the older guys are on the same page as him. If the
younger players follow, we’ll have a good year.”


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