Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty on his Mexican heritage, the NHL's Olympics boycott and activism

Pacioretty didn't light the lamp once in Montreal's first-round playoff series last season against the Rangers, which the Canadiens lost in six games. To win in the postseason, "you need to have good chemistry ... and you have to score goals," he says. Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

It has been two years since the Montreal Canadiens last won a playoff series, and that was with a roster featuring the likes of P.K. Subban, Dale Weise and Lars Eller -- all of whom have since departed. Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty is eager to help his team forget about being eliminated in Game 6 of the first round of the playoffs last spring by the New York Rangers.

After an eventful summer that saw the Connecticut native move into the city of Montreal from the suburbs and welcome another son, Pacioretty has spent training camp playing on a line with newcomers Jonathan Drouin and Ales Hemsky. ESPN.com chatted with the left winger after a recent Habs practice at the team's training facility in Brossard, Quebec. Pacioretty, 28, opened up about missing the Olympics, if he sees value in advanced stats and whether he thinks NHL players should speak out more about social issues.

ESPN.com: How was your summer?

Pacioretty: It was really good. I spent the summer here in Montreal and welcomed a third baby in my family [Pacioretty's wife, Katia, gave birth in July to James Carter, who joined older brothers Lorenzo and Maximus Raymond], so it was probably one of the best summers of my life. Now it's time to get down to work.

ESPN.com: You're living on the island of Montreal now. How has that been?

Pacioretty: It's amazing. I love it. I go out to eat all the time. I go to the grocery store. I hang out with my kids at the parks. Everyone's so supportive, all the fans. I can't even count how many times a day people stop me and say something positive or encouraging. It's just an amazing feeling, and I got to experience it all summer and kind of understand that I have a very good relationship with the fans in this city.

ESPN.com: Off the bat, you mentioned fatherhood and having your third child. How does being a parent change your perspective on the game?

Pacioretty: Yeah, it does, to [help you] understand what's important in life and what's not. Sometimes you come home a little bit upset about the day. But then you go home to your kids and kind of forget about it and worry instead about what's important in life. At the end of the day, I'm playing a sport to support my family. I've got a very good life. To go home to my amazing family always puts me in a good mood, no matter how the day went before that. I think it alleviates a lot of stress that would exist if I didn't have the family and support that I have.

ESPN.com: I couldn't find you on Twitter, Max. Do you use social media?

Pacioretty: No.

ESPN.com: What's the reason for that?

Pacioretty: No need to. I think the real fans are the ones I see on a daily basis. I have a lot of interaction with fans. I can't remember the last time I just sat on my couch during the day. I feel like I'm always doing something outside or away from home. I have tons of interaction with the fans and, like I said, everything's been great on that front.

ESPN.com: For young guys coming into the league now, does the internet and social media add another layer of pressure?

Pacioretty: I'm sure it does. You always see guys going on their phones, and I'm sure they're looking at what people say to them. I'm not really sure how all the social media works, but I know that you're able to see people's reactions and how they feel about you. That gives everyone a voice, no matter how positive or negative it is.

I'm sure it can affect you, especially when things go bad on the ice or when things go well on the ice. In Montreal, you're never as good as they say you are and you're never as bad as they say you are. So I think it's important to stay even-keeled, and sometimes being on social media might make that a little bit harder.

ESPN.com: You're in your third year now as captain. What are the differences in your comfort level now in the role, compared with when you first assumed the captaincy [in September 2015]?

Pacioretty: I'm very comfortable. In terms of how different I am, that's a question that's very hard for me to answer because I'm just myself. I feel like I've grown. It's hard to pinpoint [how], but I feel like people around me can answer that question much better than I can because really I'm just trying to be myself and just trying to help this team win hockey games as best I can.

ESPN.com: When you came into the league, in 2008, you joined a team that included Robert Lang, Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov. Did any veteran take you under his wing and show you the ropes?

Pacioretty: Saku [Koivu]. I talked a lot to Saku, and I'm not sure if he even remembers all the talks that we had. But a couple of them really stood out and hit home. We went out to dinner one time and had a really good talk about stuff I'll always keep private. Saku's a guy who had a really good grip on things and understood what was important, [how] to be a Montreal Canadien and be a good player, whether it was technical stuff on the ice or personal stuff off the ice.

ESPN.com: It's been a couple of years since the Canadiens last won a playoff series. What has to happen this season for the team to have success?

Pacioretty: The same as the 16 other teams that make the playoffs. You need to have good chemistry, you need to play well, and you have to score goals. Hockey's a pretty simple sport, and when you go too deep about what needs to happen and who needs to do what, you're just kind of worrying about stuff you can't control. It's just good chemistry and everyone pulling together and playing the right way and having the right players to do so. That's how teams win.

ESPN.com: How do you feel playing with Jonathan Drouin and Ales Hemsky?

Pacioretty: It's been pretty good. The one game that we've played [together] has been mostly on the power play, so we didn't get a chance for much 5-on-5. We have good chemistry. I thought it was a pretty good first start. Those are two skilled players who like to distribute the puck, so I should be in a good position on that line.

ESPN.com: What changes have taken place under coach Claude Julien [who was hired to replace Michel Therrien in February], both on and off the ice?

Pacioretty: I think [Julien] wants to concentrate on being a little bit more offensive and trying to hit the blue line with speed, rather than being flat-footed on a zone entry. So that's what we've harped on the most, and that's what's hit home the most with me [as something] that I can incorporate into my game.

ESPN.com: Will the new rule changes [the league is cracking down on faceoff procedure and slashing] have any effect on the game?

Pacioretty: Everyone's making a big fuss out of it, but they are trying to teach us how to do [faceoffs] the right way. There are a lot of penalties being called, but obviously they're enforcing it a lot right now so guys understand what's going to be the normal way not to [incur] a stick-infraction penalty and not encroach on a faceoff. I'm sure everyone will adjust and it'll end up [with] a little more entertaining hockey, rather than the clutching and grabbing that's been creeping into the game the last few years.

ESPN.com: If you were commissioner for a day, what changes would you implement?

Pacioretty: Nothing. Everything's great.

ESPN.com: Would you have decided to go to the Olympics?

Pacioretty: Obviously, everyone wanted to go, and everyone felt it was big for the game. I understand both sides of it. I think that players should have the final say, and if they want to go play for the Olympics, they should be able to. But at the same time, I understand the owners' [perspective]. They rely on their players to make them a lot of money. There's a lot of risk involved with going to the Olympics. It's not a perfect world. We would have liked to be there, and it would have helped the branding and the marketing of the league a lot, but it is what it is.

ESPN.com: Who's the toughest defenseman to go one-on-one with?

Pacioretty: Shea Weber.

ESPN.com: Toughest non-Canadiens defenseman?

Pacioretty: Brent Burns is pretty good.

ESPN.com: Toughest goalie to score on?

Pacioretty: Braden Holtby.

ESPN.com: NBA players are generally more outspoken than hockey players when it comes to societal issues. Do you think the NHL could stand to get more diverse? And could hockey culture be preventing players from speaking out on certain issues?

Pacioretty: I think hockey players are just generally more quiet and reserved about this stuff. I feel I could have a bit more of a say in it, being diverse. I'm Mexican, and there aren't many Mexicans in this league. I'm proud of being a Mexican hockey player. There's not many [of us], like I said, but I don't really feel the need to speak out about it because I think everyone's really accepting in this league.

We've shown that through the You Can Play initiative, where everyone's accepting of everyone else, no matter their race or their sexuality. I think that for the most part, hockey players are very, very open-minded. But maybe people are more reserved, and maybe there's room for guys to make a difference and speak out about certain situations, but there's no need to force them. It's up to them to do so, given their personality. But I don't think anyone's holding them back from the opportunity to do so.

ESPN.com: What do you think of advanced stats?

Pacioretty: [pauses] I've got some thoughts. I don't know if I should say them. It's good for some things, but my feeling is that you can make anyone look good or look bad by a certain stat. It's really hard for me to jump completely on board with it. There is some stuff I like to know, such as which areas of the ice I'm productive in and stuff like that.

But in terms of being able to measure a player solely through a pie chart -- for me, that is ridiculous. But I understand it could be part of the game, it could be part of systems, but I rely too heavily on my opinion on a player. I can make an opinion on a player in five seconds by watching him, how he holds his stick, by the stick he uses. It's just really hard for me to jump on board with, like I said, analyzing a player through a graph.

ESPN.com: If you weren't a hockey player, what would you be doing?

Pacioretty: Maybe a lawyer.

ESPN.com: That was something you thought of as a kid?

Pacioretty: No, just the first thing that came to mind.