Thursday, January 21, 2010

Laraque done in Montreal... as expected.

The final straw on Georges Laraque was his absolute failure to stand up for his teammates in the embarrassing loss to the Rangers last Sunday and if BGL didn’t sense it then, it should have been patently obvious when Ryan O’Byrne took his spot up front last night against St. Louis. The media today are running with their usual agendas; Gainey’s fault for signing him, Martin’s fault for misusing him, insensitive move given Laraque’s concerns in Haiti but the fact remains that the decision was pretty much made last week, prior to the Rangers game. Laraque had an opportunity in that game to change their minds but he failed to show up and defend his teammates, yet again.

Simply put, a goon that refuses to fight and refuses to defend his teammates isn’t doing his job. If he can’t or won’t do his job while in the line-up then there’s no reason to dress him and "The Code" be damned, it doesn’t get more basic than that. If his chronic bad back made his role impossible then he should have gone on long term IR or retired rather than risk permanent injury. Next year would have been his last year regardless, yet like far too many players before him there’s an obvious disconnect between what he thinks he’s capable of and what he’s actually doing.

And the media rants that the Montreal Canadiens are being insensitive are laughable yet entirely predictable. Laraque was offered a leave of absence by the team but he refused to accept it. Bob Gainey then decided to pay Laraque his full salary for the remainder of the season to do what he’s been doing all year, to not show up. Now on full pay, Georges Laraque is free to travel to Haiti immediately or help organize efforts with Montreal’s Haitian community.

Had the Habs not cared or had been insensitive they wouldn't have held off on their decision and not raised and donated more money for Haiti than any other team in the NHL. Georges Laraque had a NMC which prevented the Canadiens from putting him on Waivers, all attempts to trade him failed and in-season Buyouts are not allowed in the CBA. In short, Big Georges had the Habs over a barrel and performed like he knew it.

So, instead of looking in the mirror and realizing what he was saying to the media about his impact on the ice in no way matched what was actually happening on the ice, Georges has called it a “Classless” move” by the Habs and GM Bob Gainey in particular. The reality is that the team has been more than patient with him while Laraque has taken it all for granted. It needed to end and finally, it has.