Buried in the dull business-as-usualisms in Scott Burnside's latest listicle is a truly surprising hatchet job on former NHL enforcer turned semi-pro fameball Georges Laraque. Apparently when Laraque isn't joining the green party, saying hockey's not ready for out gays, going vegan, appearing on some gawdawful Canadian "reality" show--MORE LIKE UNREALITY SHOW, AMIRITE?--or "rolling" with mixed martial artists, he takes to the airwaves and shoots his mouth off about sports.
Here at Clear the Crease, of course, we welcome this novel development. Vaguely articulate former athletes almost never get the chance to give us their opinions about sports, and that's just a goddamned shame. Who among us hasn't craved access to the semi-charismatic secondary-education-level wit and wisdom of lamp-jawed achievement trumpeters in ill-fitting suits? And who among us would be so churlish as to decry the sound of this barrier falling?
ESPN's own Atlanta-based hockey correspondent and onion-fearer (srsly: look it up), that's who!
In what seems likely to be ESPN's nastiest broadside ever aimed at another (unnamed) media outlet, Burnside has this to say about the man who was "stapled to the bench" for 53 career playoff games ( by my count).
3. Enough already, Georges
Has there been a player in recent memory who accomplished so little on the ice but talked so much off it than Georges Laraque?
It created hardly a ripple when the Canadiens bought out Laraque's contract, which then-GM Bob Gainey foolishly bestowed given Laraque's negligible on-ice impact; but disappearing gracefully has hardly been Laraque's style.
The ubiquitous "expert" has weighed in on various topics in recent days and months, including the Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty and whether Montreal coach Jacques Martin has lost the Habs' room. We had to snicker when Laraque suggested that had he been on the ice, Pacioretty would not have been ridden into the stanchion at the Bell Centre. Were that true, hundreds of players who played alongside Laraque (well, that's a stretch since Laraque spent many nights stapled to the bench in many NHL cities) owe him a debt of gratitude for having saved them from similar injury. If they only knew how lucky they were.
Then, to suggest in recent days that Martin has lost touch with his players is just more waste material. The coach guided the underdog Habs to a shocking Eastern Conference finals appearance last season and has them pointed toward the playoffs again this spring despite injuries.
Not sure what's more shocking, that Laraque continues to offer up such misguided opinions or that he finds a forum for them.
The oddest part for me is that Burnside doesn't name the "forum". Does ESPN have a reason to put French Canadian TVA Media on blast without naming names? Curious. As for the rest, it's probably just bog-standard pundit-hatred from a guy who sees himself as a real trench reporter. Right?
--Collision, instigator penalty, got his ass kicked
Roenick sad face courtesy of the internet.