Thursday, January 21, 2010

On Laraque...

Today George Laraque was let go from the Montreal Canadiens. Gainey said he was unproductive and a distraction - Jacques Martin obviously didn't want to play him... and I guess they had tried trading him and couldn't waive him. So they bought him out.

The timing sucks. Its a terrible time in George's life to get fired, especially since its obvious teams are not exactly knocking down doors to get to him. Personally, I feel bad for him and wish him all the best.

But as far as a player goes, I gotta say George Laraque was not the kind of enforcer you need on a team. George is too much of a nice guy! He only fights the other heavy weights, plans and discusses his bout before hand, and would usually do nothing else after his fistycuffs -- even if he did get more ice.

"Its my job to fight," he'd be heard saying. So after his 1 fight he would stop playing hockey, letting the rest of the team do their job of winning the game... so why play him? Ever?

Teams didn't fear George Laraque - players feared fighting him, I guess. But he never got emotionally involved in a game - never crashed the net, stirred up the mix, or inspire the team with his play. He could have been like Moen or Kostopolus, but instead he would coast around, stay in the corners, and try and calm everyone down, instead of firing guys up. I almost never saw him come to the defence of a player - always showing up minutes later to go toe to toe with another toughy who had nothing to do with the original play that pestered our talented guys.

In short, Laraque was indeed a side show to the game - its just how he kind of evolved. Now if he was younger, coaches would be able to work with him to turn him into the new kind of tough guy the league has - someone who can bring energy to a game, cause havoc on the other team's defence, and make room for all them little guys on his team. Unfortunately, he is no spring chicken, and his injuries precluded him from training into the player he needs to be.

From a hockey fan stand point, I am glad to see him out. I never liked the signing to begin with, because just having a slugger on your team isn't gonna scare the sh!t disturbers like Ruutu and Avery and Downie - because George would never fight them anyway (too little). So he was pretty useless, especially since the coaches couldn't / wouldn't work with him.

But as a person, I liked George's "code of honour" -- and he showed some interest in being a reporter on the game: given his easy going personality and his passion, and he's bilingual, I think he would be a good addition to any reporting team.

So I am glad George Laraque is off the team. But I also hope to see him again soon, and see him stay in hockey in some capacity.

Good luck George, and good luck Habs.

1 comment:

  1. Need: 1 Andrew Conboy. Can't wait for him to get out of Hamilton...