Georges speaks the truth man. Having an exodus of players leave last season HURTS. I really wished the Oilers at least offered him something instead of just throwing him away like that. Laraque livin' large in E-town
Edmonton's biggest booster suggests Oilers may have to overpay to draw free agents
The Edmonton Journal
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Some NHL stars flounder in the supposed "fish bowl" that is Edmonton, but the water here still feels mighty fine to ex-Oilers tough guy Georges Laraque, who returned Saturday to summer and socialize in his adopted home.
Not only that, his dad, Edy, who happily fled snowy Montreal years ago for Miami, Fla., has up and moved here, too. And full time, to boot.
"That is even more ironic," Laraque said in a telephone interview Monday. "He told (us) kids that when they were old enough they'd all move to Florida because he was sick of the snow.
"That's why for him to (move) to Edmonton is unreal. Nobody can believe it. My dad's an Edmontonian, it's the funniest thing."
Turns out Edy, who lived for years in Miami where he worked renovating condos and selling them, met a vacationing Edmonton woman on the beach. As is so often the way with these Miami Beach romances, love blossomed, Edy and Aileen were married about a year later and opted to move north, way north.
And why wouldn't Edy Laraque love Edmonton? His son raves about the place.
"People are genuinely nice, the city is developing nicely," Georges Laraque said. "In the summer there's not too many places like this.
"It's not too busy like Toronto or Montreal, where it's hectic and if you go downtown it's almost like New York City. Here it's perfect."
So, it's not a fish bowl where you're the constant target of staring eyes everywhere you go, as ex-Oilers defenceman Chris Pronger told reporters on the weekend in Anaheim?
"People are respectful," Laraque said. "Obviously it (public attention) comes with the job, wherever you are. In Canada, there's a little bit more.
"When you're nice to people, they're nice to you. People say, 'Hi' and I'll say 'Hi.' Who cares? It's the least we could do. Those fans, they pay our salary. So I really don't mind it. How can you get mad at someone that wants to come and talk to you?"
"What, you're going to tell a fan off, but when playoff time comes, you want him to come and scream his heart out until he has no (voice)?" added Laraque.
"You've got to do something for them, you know what I mean?"
Laraque, as is well known here, gives plenty of his time to the fans, to charities and to worthy causes.
For example, he will be participating in the Edmonton Journal Little Big Run, a mass participation walk and run event on June 3 to promote physical activity and better health.
"I told (organizers) they didn't have to sell me on it, I thought it was a great idea to get people active," Laraque said. "The fact that you can get your whole family out there and go for a little walk or a little run or whatever instead of staying inside, I thought it was a great idea.
"Kids stay home and play with their PlayStation too much."
When Laraque is home for the summer, he gets out and around as few people do, let alone pro athletes.
Last summer, of course, he signed as a free agent with Phoenix, but was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the March 7 trade deadline. Laraque reinforced that the Oilers have obvious issues when it comes to signing free agents to rebuild their roster this off-season.
"No. 1, everybody knows that they have the worst schedule in the NHL in terms of travelling, that's a fact," said Laraque.
He noted that many unrestricted free agents are 30-somethings for whom wear and tear on the body is a key issue, making the easier travel schedule in the east hugely attractive.
"And No. 2, after what happened with (Jaroslav) Spacek, (Michael) Peca, Pronger and Ryan Smyth, they put themselves in a tough situation to sign unrestricted free agents because of that," Laraque said.
NHL players talk, Laraque said. And when a cluster leaves a city like Edmonton all at once, they wonder what's going on. Players who leave on dodgy terms could potentially spread poisonous chatter about Edmonton.
"That's why you never burn your bridges," Laraque said. "All I'm saying is they put themselves in a tough situation to get unrestricted free-agents. So what they're going to have to do is overpay to get them.
"I'm not putting the team down. I was there for nine years and it was the best nine years of my life. Obviously, playing with them is the reason why I made Edmonton my home."
And there is plenty of irony in George's choosing Edmonton as his home.
Now a Penguin, based south of the border all fall and winter, Laraque remains a splendid ambassador for the good life in Edmonton in the good ol' summertime.
GEORGES!! RE-SIGN!! WE MISS YOU!!! Fuckin watching Moreau Staios and Jason Smith feebily try to take runs at heavyweights TOGETHER. Hemsky and Stoll getting their clocks cleaned like their name was Oscar De La Hoya. Hope to stalk ERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR see him at that fun run.
he was on the local radio station The Team 1260 and sounded off on MacT:
- MacT on many occasions gave him the red light
- MacT, after telling Laraque not to fight, benched Laraque for an entire game after Laraque fought Peters
- Laraque would love to finish his career as an Oiler as long as MacT is not the coach
source: some chump on the Oilers board and me listening to the radio