Gameface: Q&A with Penguins center Maxime Talbot



Photo ©Pittsburgh Penguins

SP: Has it sunk in yet that you scored two goals in Game 7 and won the Stanley Cup?
M.T.: I kind of realize it now, but more for the team winning the Cup than scoring those goals. I'm still kind of on a cloud when it comes to that.

SP: Did you score those goals with an injured shoulder?
M.T.: Yes, but I've had that problem for nine years now. I've had this injury since I was 16 years old, so it was an old injury. It caused me problems late in the season taking face-offs, stuff like that - but it was playable, and it wasn't something I injured during the playoffs that needed surgery right away. I had the surgery [in early July] because it needed to be done eventually.

SP: Speaking of injuries, what's with the "secrecy" of the way hockey teams deal with injury reports?
M.T.: It's so easy to target an injury with a stick, or with a puck, and when you know that somebody is hurt somewhere and you get into the playoffs, you can actually use that against a guy. In football, you have to make a tackle or block, and even if you know a guy is hurt, it's hard to target that. In hockey, the game goes so fast that it's so hard for the refs to see what's really going on.

SP: When do you expect to be back on the ice?
M.T.: I would say mid-November. That's probably a safe guess.

SP: Let's go back a little. You were raised in a French-Canadian area - did you speak English growing up?
M.T.: Not really. I started learning English in school when I was about 12, but I sucked at it until I was 16 or 17 and playing junior hockey and learning all the terms used in practices and games. And when I went to Wilkes-Barre when I was 20, I started to learn a lot more, obviously, because everybody spoke English.

SP: I remember interviewing you back then, and you said you were working hard on your English because no American girls could speak French.
M.T.: Oh, definitely. You want to get around; you want to meet people and communicate. But I'll always want to keep my French accent because it's kind of cute (laughs).

SP: You're tight with Marc-Andre Fleury - how far back do you guys go?
M.T.: We only lived about a half-an-hour apart, so we played a lot of hockey against each other when we were 11 or 12 years old. I got to know him more when we played in the World Junior Championships together. Then we played in Wilkes-Barre together during the [NHL] lockout year. And I actually lived at his house for a few months, so it was pretty amazing to be on the ice with him and actually win a Cup.

SP: Speaking of junior hockey, you put up some great numbers there, but you weren't drafted until the eighth round. Were you disappointed that so many teams passed you by so many times?
M.T.: No, not at all. I was only 17 when I was drafted, and I didn't expect much. It was just nice to be drafted. That draft day was a little tough, but you put your foot in the door and after that you roll with it.

SP: Your first few years you were mainly a penalty killer, a grinder type of player, but last year you got the chance to play on Evgeni Malkin's line. Is that where you see yourself? Are you a top-six forward in the NHL?
M.T.: Wow - that's a good question. I'd like to think I can be a top-six player, but for a whole year there are a lot of ups and downs. I would love to be obviously, and I think that on the top lines you can't have the same types of players. I like to think I can go get pucks for guys like Geno [short for Evgeni Malkin]. I'll probably never score 35 goals a year, but I know my role. I'll do what they ask me to do. Whether that's at fourth-line center or second-line winger - whatever I can do to help the team win.

SP: Speaking of Geno, he made you a national story last year with the "bad hands" comment. Despite his broken English, is he a funny dude? And is that why you two get along well?
M.T.: Well, we were roommates for two years and we created a nice friendship. He's a great person. Obviously, it's taking him a lot longer to learn English than most (laughs), but he has a great personality and he loves the game of hockey, so it's easy to get along with a guy like that.

SP: Last year, every one of your teammates credited you for turning around Game 6 in Philly after you fought Daniel Carcillo. Tell me about your thought process on the bench before that fight.
M.T.: In the first period, I had a really bad turnover against [Mike] Richards that cost us a goal, and I felt really bad about that because we had the momentum. Then after that they scored again and again, and it was 3-0. So I was like "What can I do to help the team?" I knew I wasn't going to score three goals, but I knew Carcillo from Wilkes-Barre, and I knew he was a fighter, so I might as well try something, so I asked him to fight and he did. Sometimes that's a little scary, but you do what you can to help the team. Win or lose, it doesn't matter. You just try to change the momentum, and that's what happened. But you really have to give credit to my teammates for scoring the goals after that.

SP:
And going off the ice, you gave the "Shhhhh" motion to the crowd.
M.T.: Yeah - that was in the heat of the moment. I saw him [Carcillo] put his hands in the air going to the penalty box, and I thought that he shouldn't do that. So, it worked and there are some good pictures of that - it's a good memory.

SP:
You're also known as a guy who likes to have fun. Do you have a kind of "seize the day" personality?
M.T.: I think so. I was raised like that. I'm from a really tight family, and I was taught that you've got to enjoy yourself, enjoy life, because you never know what can happen. And right now, I feel lucky to be playing with a great team doing what I love to do, and I feel fortunate to be able to do that. That's how I live on and off the ice, and that's why when fans come up to me, I always try to be nice. You know what? We're really lucky to be doing what we do. I think most of our guys realize it and I definitely do.

SP:
But there has to be a line somewhere - I'm sure people swarm you when you're out and about. Do you still like the attention? And has your opinion of "public interaction" changed now that everyone is carrying around a cell-phone camera?
M.T.: Well, that has gotten worse. You have to be careful because you're always in the spotlight. And it's different now because you know that when you take pictures with fans, it's going to be on Facebook the next day.

SP: Your recent car commercials for A&L Motors in Monroeville gained you lots of attention. Looking back, has that been a good or bad thing?
M.T.: It's been a good thing. I might have looked a little crazy or a little stupid, but everybody who talks to me says, "I love that commercial." It was all for fun, and I did it for friends at the dealership, and I'm never going to regret it.

SP: For our female readers I have to ask - are you in a relationship?
M.T.: No, I'm single. Let's leave it at that.

SP: Complete this sentence: Max Talbot is...
M.T.: ...a superstar - chick-a-chee-chee (laughs)! No, just kidding. How about one-of-a-kind?


Craig McConnell is a born-and-bred Pittsburgher. He is a coordinating producer at FSN, where he's worked since 2001. Before joining FSN, Craig worked as a videographer at WSYX-TV in Columbus and WTOV-TV in Steubenville. He lives in Hampton with his wife, Jill, and their two kids, Derek and Leah.
 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Pittsburgh's Union Trust Building Renovated and Restored

Pittsburgh's Union Trust Building Renovated and Restored

The historic Downtown building reopens after a two-year, $100 million renovation.
The Section of Mystery: What’s behind the door?

The Section of Mystery: What’s behind the door?

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History opens new permanent exhibit featuring 3-D holograms.
Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

We break down each day of the festival so you don’t have to improv your way through it.
Avatar-inspired Cirque Du Soleil Show Takes Off in Pittsburgh

Avatar-inspired Cirque Du Soleil Show Takes Off in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine has a backstage view of “Toruk: The First Flight,” which runs this week at Consol Energy Center.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show

Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show

Research led Kellee Maize to discover she is the daughter of the former teen singing sensation. Now she and McNichol are teaming up to develop a television series to help other parents and children find each other.
Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

One day, 18 roller coasters, four queasy stomachs, two cheeseburgers, one fried dough … whew.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Pittsburgh's Union Trust Building Renovated and Restored

Pittsburgh's Union Trust Building Renovated and Restored

The historic Downtown building reopens after a two-year, $100 million renovation.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

Justin Severino and Hilary Prescott Severino of Cure and Morcilla organized the event, which featured celebrated chefs from DC, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

Grab your kits, scarfs and get ready to watch the Euro 2016 Pittsburgh-style. We'll show you where to go to get your fan on.

Comments


Beer Cults and Brick Ovens: An Evening at Fuel & Fuddle

Beer Cults and Brick Ovens: An Evening at Fuel & Fuddle

The restaurant and bar in Oakland welcomes college students and locals alike.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Perspective Accompanies Long-Awaited Second Crosby Cup

Perspective Accompanies Long-Awaited Second Crosby Cup

The Pittsburgh Penguins may be more poised to establish a dynasty in 2016 than they were in 2009.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Add a Bygone Beacon to Your Living Room

Add a Bygone Beacon to Your Living Room

Vintage signs can add a pop of personality to your decor.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Reviews of "The Conjuring 2," "Warcraft," "Maggie's Plan," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
True to Tradition: Incorporating Your Heritage at Your Wedding

True to Tradition: Incorporating Your Heritage at Your Wedding

Honoring tradition at weddings is important for many couples, whether that means including heirlooms and unique customs or hosting a full-blown second ceremony.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Decor Calling: Home Furnishings Go Mobile

Decor Calling: Home Furnishings Go Mobile

House15143 is Sewickley debuts “House Calls,” a mobile Airstream designed to bring the shopping experience to you (or an event near you).

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

The camp is a collaboration between two area universities and is open to students entering grades 9-12.

Comments