It’s tough being an NHL player, we all know that.
The business is cutthroat, and where one day you can be the toast of the town, the next day you can be out on your ass in a matter of half an ineffective season.
Georges Laraque found that out the hard way today, as the Canadiens, clearly tired of his being of Haitian descent and not the fact that he’s a tough guy that doesn’t fight or hit anyone any more, sent him home for the remainder of the season with an eye toward being bought out once the Habs are able to do so.
Wait.. what? That Haitian thing seems out of place. Well, I mean, not if you’re Laraque. The money quote (emphasis obviously mine):
“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.”
Yes, all he’s dealing with.
Look, I don’t begrudge Laraque his money, good for him for allowing the Habs to be stupid enough to give him three years at $1.5 million per with a freaking no movement clause that ensured he could not be waived or traded — not that anyone would want a player that doesn’t score (1-2-3 in 28 games), doesn’t play defense particularly well (21 hits, five blocked shots, minus-3 turnover differential) and doesn’t fight (just four, while league leader Zenon Konopka has 19) for that kind of money.
I guess being told you’ll be paid not to do your job that, in the grand scheme of things, is really pretty good, sucks. And I guess anyone would take it hard. But really, Georges? Haiti?
Being paid to sit at home the remainder of that salary for this season while people starve and die in the streets. I know, it probably is a difficult time for Laraque, whose family is from Haiti and, for all I know, he’s still got relatives down there too. So perhaps it is indeed a difficult time for him personally, but to bring it up in such a way that it frames the Canadiens organization as being insensitive to the peoples’ plights down there is abhorrent.
What if I had said during the 2001 season, “Remember, the Thrashers started the year at 1-3-1-3. Probably because of Sept. 11.”
We all get upset and say things we don’t mean, I guess, but no one on the Saints blamed Hurricane Katrina for their 3-13 season because I dunno, doing things like that make you come off like a selfish, out-of-touch, oblivious maniac.
Late edit!: According to Bob Gainey, the club actually deferred the decision a week because of the crisis in Haiti and offered Laraque a leave of absence, which he apparently refused. Now he’s just a complete douchebag.