It was “Power Play” time at ESPN on Monday evening. You know that that means? Scott Burnside’s “meanderings”! He wonders why a guy like Georges Laraque can still find NHL employment. This was front page news for ESPN’s NHL department even before Laraque’s suspension was handed down. I’m sure Burnside didn’t know who Georges Laraque was until Saturday night, when he stuck a knee out on Niklas Kronwall.
Laraque was suspended for five games by the NHL late Monday evening. Scott Burnside is not going to like that.
I took a peek at Burnside’s “Power Play” on a whim Monday, normally I’d pass on such filth but I really had to see for myself what Scott Burnside was going to try and cook-up on Georges Laraque. He made sure to start off by saying he’s a “good guy”, and then ostensibly answers his own question when referring to Laraques knee-on-knee hit from Saturday:
To what end is Laraque’s ice time at all valuable — ever? Needless to say, Detroit coach Mike Babcock was not impressed by the knee-on-knee hit and called it dirty. He was being charitable. The NHL’s Star Chamber style of discipline is on display once again; as of Monday, the league remains silent about supplementary discipline for Laraque. For the record, Laraque has one assist in 10 games and is averaging 7 minutes, 4 seconds a night in ice time. He’s making $1.5 million in the first year of a two-year, $3 million deal. Money well spent, no?
Burnside is correct in his criticism of the NHL’s style of discipline. Someone is truly going to have to die in a hockey game before the league will start coming down on “the boys”. He was kinda on track there for a little bit, but then he started with all this “for the record” shit.
Laraque is making $1.5 million this season, in the second year of a three-year $4.5 million deal. Goddamn right that’s “money well spent”, his actual contract is way worse.
Great googly moogly! ESPN can’t count.
Somebody, call the editor…
Burnside’s ignorance aside, there is a question that can be asked here. Is there any use for Georges Laraque in Montreal? The answer is mostly no, but it doesn’t mean he couldn’t find a suitable employer elsewhere. At least part of the problem is that Georges Laraque can’t find anyone to fight him, he’s too tough. Derek Boogaard called Laraque “freakishly” strong. Boogaard is suffering similar problems in Minnesota, he can’t find anyone to fight either, nobody wants to.
Besides, Laraque’s deal isn’t even that bad. His cap-hit is reasonable at $1.5 million, and he’s still got some value as a trade piece. Boogaard is in the final year of his contract, making $1.25 million (nhlnumbers.com) and he could catch at least one more NHL contract if he gets moved or finds a few more willing opponents. Of course, there’s always the option of playing for Brian Burke.
Both the Wild and Les Canadiens have bigger problems than worrying about their willfully low skilled enforcers’ lack of dance partners. At least they swapped a couple parts that didn’t fit on Monday with Guillaume Latendresse leaving Montreal and Benoit Pouliot on his way from Minnesota.
Alright, let’s do this. For old time’s sake:
Here’s a shot of Burnside’s piece as of 9:00 PM EST, just for posterity’s sake: