Thursday, January 21, 2010

Buh Bye, Laraque

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.

15 comments:

Harry said...

I agree fully-he can't skate-can't shoot-can't hit-and as far as I could see-can't fight......good bye BGL.....

DB said...

Good-by and good riddance classless Georges. Your endless pandering to the media, your blind adherance to "The Code", your self-promotion, your sanctimonious pushing of causes, and your actions that embarrassed the team will not be missed.

I would have put you on waivers and sent you to Cincinnati for the rest of your contract. Where I'm sure your back would enjoy the 10 hour bus rides and the tough, young punks wanting to make a name at your expense. Instead you have to complain about Bob sending you home with full pay. Shut-up and go away.

Olivier said...

That's a lot of free time and money to actually learn how to skate in his case...watch out he will come back in one year to destroy us!!!!!!!!!

Patrick said...

The System obviously wins over The Code. I fully agree with the good riddance part though...

BUT, at the same time we lose the only player in the Habs leading the whole NHL for something positive. He has 50% in shooting %, topping it all. And considering how he was playing, I'm pretty sure he would have kept it, I doubt he was getting another shot on goal before the end of the season.

Anonymous said...

Amen...

Let's all have a juicy steak on his behalf.

David said...

Love what Bob said about the "code" today. :-) As for disposing of BGL, somebody pointed out that they couldn't waive him 'cause he's got an NTC, and couldn't demote him 'cause he's hurt (not sure about that one), and I can't imagine anyone wanted to trade for him, so I'm not sure Bob had any options other than to do this.

Olivier said...

The big loss here is not the skills (laughing writing this) but the salary cap space........ Does anyone know how we could get that money? Can't we do actually do the good old trade against a couple of hockey sticks and a bag of puck?

Anonymous said...

JT, my thoughts exactly..
Couldn't have said it better

Anonymous said...

BGL is classless? By what measure is he lacking in class? Ask the people in Edmonton or those he has come in contact with in Montreal, about BGL? By all accounts he is an honorable man. Who are you J.T. to comment on his character?
Was he a failed experiment in Montreal? By any objective measurement yes. Is it his fault that Bob signed him to an inflated no trade contract? Not anymore than it is Gomez's fault for his contract.
As far as Bob doing the right thing in paying him to stay at home. BS! BGL has a no trade no movement clause. Bob has his hands tied, BGL can't be traded or waived. It is not done out of generosity or kindness, Bob has no choice. I can't believe how Bob Gainey is never made accountable for his actions.

J.T. said...

@anon: Of course Gainey was foolish to give that contract to Laraque. In hindsight, it would be much better to be able to waive him now. And I didn't say the man himself is a bad person or dishonourable generally. I said using Haiti as a reason for why Gainey should have kept him around longer was classless. I'm in no way commenting on his character. I don't know him any better than I suspect you do. But involving the disaster in Haiti in what is essentially a business decision was not a classy statement.

Michael said...

JT, as usual, you nailed it.

Anonymous said...

Agree, George had to go because he simply was ineffective in his role. I am not too worried about the cap hit, $0.5M for the next two years, or $1M next year. The loss of a roster spot hurts for this year because it will be difficult to give another roster spot to new tough guy.

I disagree with JM that we do not need an enforcer. Its okay with players like Iginla who can defend themselves, but the Habs have a lot of small, skilled forwards who could easily be targeted and it could get ugly. Case in point; Carcillo treats Gaborik's head like speed bag bag tonight, then the Rangers get shut out 2-0. Not good if you are a Rangers fan.

I guess Moen and the big D-men will have to step up. Hopefully we won't have to see Pouliot fighting again with those nice soft hands.

AndyF said...

While I agree with all the reasons for getting rid of Laraque, one thing I will not agree with is Gainey publicly humiliating him on the way out.

It may all be true, but people are normally dismissed in far classier ways. There was absolutely no need to twist the knife.

J.T. said...

@AndyF: I agree Gainey could have been more discreet. However, I suspect that he tried to do things quietly by offering Laraque a leave of absence, which Laraque refused. That forced Gainey to act in a more public manner, and when Laraque's angry reaction hit the media, I think Gainey had enough and dropped the gloves.

AndyF said...

I know that Laraque was bad-mouthing management in the dressing room. But that stuff stays in the dressing room.

Gainey escalated it publicly first. I cannot ever feel good about that.