2009/2010 and the new Georges Laraque

Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens - Game FourWhen I had heard that Gainey had signed Georges Laraque to a 3 year deal last year, I was thrilled.

I had seen the Montreal Canadiens get pushed around a bit too much for my liking and I was sure that Laraque would provide some of the much needed toughness that was plaguing the team the few previous years.

But last season was a disappointment for Laraque, something I’m sure he’s aiming at making better this year.

As far as the media and all the noise coming out of Montreal last season, it seemed as though the team was ready to be better then they had in 2007/2008 when they were the best in the Eastern conference… many were claiming that Gainey’s “5 year plan” would come to fruition and we’d see a great parade in Montreal for the summer of 2009.

Something that wasn’t meant to be.

Laraque was injured most of the year and took some heat from media and fans. I’m sure this didn’t sit well with Mr Laraque.

As last season unraveled, it wasn’t just Laraque who had a subpar year, the entire team seemed to spiral downward and while there were a few positives at the end of last season (like Montreal making it into the playoffs) it appeared as though nothing could be done to turn it around.

This year I’m full of optimism looking at this team. Maybe I am every year…. quite honestly…. because I’m a hockey/Habs nut.

The Montreal Canadiens will have a very different look, a different character and for those who seem to think they’re alot smaller I beg to differ. In fact though some of their acquisitions are a bit smaller there are other acquisitions who help balance it out.

I’m sorry, but I have to say this.

In my opinion George Laraque may be like a new acquisition on this team. Last season, only playing in 33 games and being unhealthy all year he had no impact.

I’m excited to see that he’s healthy and weighing in about 20 lbs less then last season at 245 lbs.. he’s changed his diet, he’s been into Yoga…. I believe that he also knows that he needs to put last season behind him.

Laraque can be an asset on this team, there is no doubt in my mind. The eastern conference has changed a fair bit in recent years. While the Flyers seem to always ice a pretty tough team, the Bruins and the Leafs, 2 of the most hated rivals have gotten much tougher to play against in the last few years (Leafs much recently of course).

I think Jacques Martin will be using Georges Laraque in a way where he can be much more effective then he was used under Carbonneau last season. Instead of having Laraque solely act as a “defender” when somebody takes a run at his teammates, I think Laraque will be engaged in delivering some punishing blows to opposing teams…. maybe provoking them.

Jacques Martin will know how to use his players better then Carbonneau.

Carbonneau was and still is one of my all-time favorite Montreal Canadiens players and always will be. It’s just too bad he got the head coaching job with such little experience.

A healthy Georges Laraque in Montreal this year…. do you think he can make an impact? Do you think Montreal are gonna be tougher to play against physically with a healthy Laraque, Travis Moen, Paul Mara, Hal Gill?

What do you think???

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