I’ve heard it too… Georges Laraque seems to still have a bad back. That puts some question marks in the minds of some as to how he will be used and how effectively.
Personally, I’m of the attitude of “let’s wait and see”.
I’m still both surprised and pleased at the extent which Gainey has been able to change the face of the team. I simply could not have guessed that none of the UFAs would be back… and that that so many would have signed to play.
Now, back to Laraque.
I was VERY happy when Gainey went out to get him last year. Really, I was. I used to love watching the Oilers (yeah…. well…. I love NHL hockey you know!) when the young Laraque steamrolled through opposing players against the boards to get the puck.
I remember seeing him in an Oilers playoff run some years ago go through 3 Dallas players to grab the puck in the corner. I was impressed.
Last year was a disappointment. It was a disappointment for many fans and I’m quite sure it was a disappointment for George himself. I think he was likely disappointed for 2 reasons.
1 – He was looking forward to coming back to Montreal and playing for the hometown crowd… and seemed to have a great attitude in taking his place with all the media attention the team gets. Injuries took their toll and limited his play through some of the season.
2 – I’m not sure he was placed in a situation where the coach at the time knew how to use him in the lineup.. as sometimes it seemed as though Carbo would try to skate 3 offensive lines.. and really, I’m not sure he fit in that team. He didn’t seem to have a role.
I think he may have a role on the team this year. We still may not be talking major minutes. But I think Martin will know how and when to use Laraque during games. Martin is an experienced coach, and he’s had various “tough” guys in his lineups.
I’m really hoping that Laraque is healthy come training camp. I think he’s got something to give the team if used properly… I also think he’s got value in the dressing room.
I’m cheerin’ for you Georges!