The Montreal Canadiens and Georges Laraque part ways (Updated)
NOTE FROM PRAX: Updated with Gainey comments
UPDATE 2: Poll added
Eight days ago I wrote a blog on George Laraque’s demise as an NHL enforcer, well looks like the Montreal Canadiens took my advice this morning when they decided to officially part ways with BGL. Bob Gainey called Laraque to tell him personally that head coach Jacques Martin didn’t have any confidence in him and that the organization believes that it can win without an enforcer in the line-up.
According to RDS, The Canadiens will pay Laraque’s salary for the remainder of the current season and then buy out the last year of the three-year $4.5 million contract Laraque signed on July 3rd, 2008.
Laraque was a daggers dawn with the Habs’ head coach Jacques Martin this season. “Jacques Martin doesn’t like me and doesn’t believe in toughness,” Laraque told TSN.
Laraque added that Martin never shared any concerns directly with him and is furious with the Canadiens’ approach based on the emotional issues he’s dealing with following the devastating earthquake in Haiti and the impact this disaster has had on both him and his family.
“Classless,” Laraque said angrily. “To do this in the midst of all I’m dealing with in Haiti, the timing is awful. I’m not going to sugar coat anything.”
Laraque scored his only goal as a Canadiens last Thursday against the Dallas Stars. Laraque had become useless this season, fighting only four times in 28 games and recording one goal and two assists. He was also a -6 this year.
While Laraque has not been efficient this season, the Canadiens are one of the softest teams in the NHL and Bell Centre has been a walk in the park for many opponents this season as evidenced by this Cam Janssen hit on Carey Price yesterday evening. Nobody came to Price’s defense as he had to drop the gloves himself.
From Habs Inside/Out
Canadiens GM Bob Gainey spoke to the media in Brossard, at Habs practice, on today's decision to release forward Georges Laraque. In a nutshell: he said Laraque was a distraction and was unproductive, and that the team could better pursue its goals without him.
The decision was made to let him go about a week ago, but with the catastrophe in Haiti, where Laraque has relatives, it was postponed. Laraque remains on the payroll this season and probably will be bought out at season's end, though that's unclear. He was not put on waivers because he had a no-movement clause in his contract.
Audio of Gainey's comments coming here soon.