Georges Laraque says things haven’t worked out the way he expected they would in Montreal, and maybe it’s time to move on. After all, what good is he on a team where he’s either a healthy scratch or a player of very few minutes in a game? “I could shut up, sit down, and take the money,” he says, “but that’s not the kind of guy I am.”
Big Georges is unhappy. But he made his bed. He hasn’t been at all the player he was brought to Montreal to be. And never mind the lengthy groin injury. Aside from that, this is a guy who hasn’t done the job. Not even close.
I was excited when the team signed possibly the toughest hombre this side of the Rio Grande. No longer would Saku Koivu and the other smaller and skilled players get bounced around. Because teams would quickly realize that if you mess with a skilled guy, you’re going to have to face someone you’d prefer not to face. Just like the Wayne Gretzky/Dave Semenko combo in Edmonton way back when.
But with Georges, it never materialized. From time to time, some pathetic staged fight between him and the other team’s tough guy would occur, but no one ever knew why. They just fought to fight. There was no reason, other than maybe trying to show they were earning their paycheques. And then, as quickly as these silly fights started, they ended, and the game resumed as normal. It’s no wonder people are calling for an end to fighting.
Georges Laraque was there to instill an attitude, to create havoc when necessary, to protect, to be mean, to punish. But all we’ve got are a few staged fights, a couple of times when he’s gone to the net, a lot of smiles, and almost nothing else.
Everyone goes on about the disappointing seasons of Alex Kovalev and Carey Price and others, and rarely is the disappointment of Laraque mentioned. It should be. Picture the Montreal Canadiens if he was a miserable son of a bitch on a nightly basis. Teams would dread playing the Canadiens.
But Georges somehow didn’t understand his role.
The CBC interview can be seen at http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/story/2009/02/26/sp-canadiens-laraque.html?ref=rss