After five seasons in the QMJHL and a blazing 2008-09 campaign, the undrafted Massé took the next step towards a professional career in signing a pact with Montreal back on April 15. A remarkable season on a personal and team front had NHL teams sitting up and taking notice of the youngster, whose 110 regular season points were second in league scoring behind only teammate Yannick Riendeau. But while this year appears to be smooth sailing for the La Pocatière, Quebec native, that wasn’t always the case.
“It was tough in the beginning. I started when I was 16 and had lost confidence in myself in my first two years in Val D’Or,” recalled Massé. “Then, I was traded to Bathurst and that really helped; it gave me a second wind. This year, I came to Drummondville and I’ve really been able to show what I can do, thanks to the confidence my coach has shown in me.”
That confidence has Massé soaring through the playoffs, racking up 30 points in just 12 games.
“I’ve gotten my chance at 20 years old,” he said. “I was on the first line and the first power play unit. I never had those opportunities before in my junior career.”
Not only was Massé riding shotgun but he got to do so alongside Yannick Riendeau.
“We didn’t expect to click to the extent that we did,” admitted the left-winger. “Yannick came to training camp late but when we started to play together at the beginning of the season, the chemistry was there from Day 1. I don’t think there was a single game this year where we didn’t play together and we were consistent all season long.”
The spark the pair ignited on the ice will likely be doused as soon as next season, with Riendeau joining the ranks of one of the Habs’ biggest rivals in the Bruins. Riendeau inked a pact of his own two weeks earlier than his linemate.
“We joked about it a bit, with the Canadiens-Bruins series,” said Massé. “I always told him that I believed that deep down inside, he’s a big Habs fan since he’s from the Montreal area. I’m almost certain he watched their games. But, we haven’t talked about it too much because we’re concentrating on the [QMJHL] Finals coming up.”
After a dream season all around, it would be easy to look ahead to a Memorial Cup berth. Massé, though, is just taking it day by day.
“We’re trying not to think about the Memorial Cup too much,” offered Massé. “Granted, we got a taste of the atmosphere in Rimouski in our semifinal series against the Oceanic last week and would really like to go back there. But to get there, we have to focus on the President’s Cup Final. Then, we’ll see from there.”
That series gets underway on Friday against the Shawinigan Cataractes, who closed out a 105-point campaign in second place behind Drummondville. While the Cataractes head to central Quebec with the intention of stopping the powerhouse Voltigeurs, Massé is confident heading into the matchup.
“We’ve won three straight series in four games and everyone is healthy,” he noted. “Our confidence is at its highest heading into the Final.”
Heather Engel is a writer for canadiens.com
Inching closer to the Cup