I'm glad Georges Laraque isn't a Canadien anymore. I never wanted him to be a Canadien in the first place, so when I heard the news the team plans to buy him out, my first thought was one of relief. That was quickly followed by frustration as I realized Gainey has had to give up precious cap space to get rid of Laraque; a move necessitated by the no-movement clause in Laraque's contract.
Now, I'm just mad. Laraque is bitching to the media about how the move is "classless" because of all the emotional stuff he's dealing with involving his personal ties to Haiti. He told TSN that Jacques Martin doesn't like him and doesn't like toughness.
First of all, people get fired every day when they don't perform at the jobs for which they've been hired. Laraque was hired to fight. He can talk all he wants to about how he's more than just a goon and how he wants to be known for his hockey skills. The truth is, if he had any hockey skills, he left them behind in Edmonton in the days before chronic injury made him more of a liability than an asset. When Bob Gainey signed that man to a three-year deal, it was because the Habs needed a tough-assed mother who would put the fear of God into opponents and let the skilled guys do their thing. Laraque refused to live up to his end of the bargain. Other Habs players constantly fought their own battles, even with Laraque in the lineup. Even when he did fight, it was only ever a staged bought with another team's "heavyweight." I also think Laraque misrepresented himself when he came to Montreal. He's been injured constantly since his arrival, and that didn't happen in the summer between his leaving Pittsburgh and signing in Montreal. He had chronic back and groin injuries and knew it when he signed. Those two facts are grounds for firing in any job.
Jacques Martin doesn't like toughness? I ask, how would Georges Laraque know? Laraque rarely fights and when he has recently, he's lost. Opponents aren't afraid of him anymore for his fighting skills. As for other kinds of toughness, he's never the guy who lays the big hit because he's too slow to keep up and he's not the gritty grinding type because he doesn't have any puck-handling skills. I'd say Georges Laraque is the last guy in hockey who should talk about toughness because the sort of pseudo-goonery he engages in, without any other discernible sandpaper to back it up, is the opposite of tough. Tough is hard to play against. Georges Laraque is a picnic in the park for the opposition.
As for playing the Haiti card, I think *that's* classless. After the Canadiens raised a hundred and sixty thousand dollars for the cause, Laraque's job was to say "thank you." Throwing his emotional state into this to make Gainey look bad is ridiculous. We all have personal issues to deal with. If you've had a death in your family recently or your house burned down or your child is sick, you have to deal with those things as well as do your job. If you don't, you risk getting fired. That's life. It's not fun or fair, but everyone else has to deal with performing at work AND handling personal issues. Why does Georges Laraque think he's above all that? I think it's pretty fair of the Canadiens to pay him his salary while releasing him to go do the work he obviously is driven to do. He should take that money, shut up and go do it.
I hate the fact that Gainey signed this guy to a three-year deal for that kind of money. I hate it even more that he now has to pay out most of that salary in cap space, as a penalty for making the deal in the first place. But I'm not sorry to see the arse-end of Georges Laraque.