In a shocking story, and by shocking I mean shocking to anyone who has never watched Georges Laraque play, Georges Laraque has essentially been told that he is more useful to the Canadiens staying at home and doing nothing, than practicing with the team and sitting in the press box. Whether or not I agree with the move and the timing of it, let’s call a spade a spade and agree that Laraque’s days as a Canadien were numbered. Bob Gainey had a choice to either ride out the year with this “distraction” and buy him out; or do what he felt was the noble thing by being honest and direct that he no longer figured into their plans. To be fair to the Habs GM; I agree that Laraque was becoming a bit of a distraction in the sense that he was vocal enough about not playing. There is no right or wrong answer here as to which alternative was the better option. Was what the Caps did to Nylander that much better?
Laraque is on record as saying “I guess they don’t believe in toughness.” That comment boggled my mind! Its one thing to be a “tough guy” but if that’s what you feel you can bring to the table, then bring it to the table. By my count, he dropped the gloves 4 times this year; so how could Laraque say that the Habs don’t believe in toughness when he himself never fought? That would be like Hal Gill getting traded and him saying “I guess the team doesn’t believe in puck moving defensemen who can quarterback a PP”.
The only sympathy I feel for Laraque is the timing of him getting fired, and the problems in Haiti right now which must be difficult for him. Most people don’t know that Laraque was trying to raise money by auctioning packages to Habs games with a chance to meet the players after the game. It’s really too bad that the initiative he took on to raise money is all for nothing. He has always been great with community work and for that I would like to thank him. I would say that I would like to shake his hand for that but since we are in winter, a handshake would require him taking off his gloves, which I know he doesn’t like doing.
For those interested; Laraque will still be paid in full this year. The reason he did not get placed on waivers is because he has a no-movement clause. I doubt he would have been claimed anyway. He will be officially bought out during the buyout period in June (15-30). He has one year remaining on his contract at 1.5 million dollars, so when the buyout kicks in, the Canadiens will pay him $1 million (2/3 of 1.5 million) over 2 years (twice the length of remaining years); which works out to a $0.5 million in each of the next 2 seasons.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.