RDS has reported that the Canadiens have released George Laraque.
Laraque (0% owned) has been a bust for the Canadiens (28GP, 1G, 2A, 2SOG), not only has his role as the team’s enforcer been questioned (28 GP, 28PIMs), but reports are he has been a distraction for the team on many fronts. The Habs actually have a better record without Laraque in the line up (37-26-9) versus having him play (27-27-7). So, what are the implications of this? The Habs might play a better game, but enforcers like Senators’ Chris Neil have already commented that playing against the Canadiens should be a little easier without having to worry about George out there. I can’t help but think of what the ramifications are of losing a roster spot and having two defensemen playing as forwards on the fourth line?
In other Canadiens news, the play of Benoit Pouliot since joining the Habs (13GP, 8G, 1A, 9PTS 37SOG, 7% owned) has started to balance the departure of Guillaume Latendresse to the Wild where he has been a production machine (26GP, 13G, 6A, 19PTS, 68SOG, 37% owned). An interesting fact is that when you average out the stats based on the games played with their news clubs, Pouliot and Latendresse are actually both pretty close, so it turns out it may have been a win-win trade for both clubs.
The Canadiens are also trying to find some scoring beyond the first line of Pouliot-Gomez-Gionta. The second line experiment of placing rookie Mathieu Darche along side Cammalleri and Plekanec looked promising in the first game against St. Louis, but Darche was limited to one shift in the third period, could this mean more tinkering for coach Martin?
Lastly, some sad news… The Neurological division of the McGill University Health Centre is reporting that Montreal Canadiens’ legend Jean Béliveau has suffered a stroke on Wednesday night, although the stroke is not considered life-threatening, it has left Mr. Beliveau unable to speak since the event. We hope the best for him. My guess is that the Habs fans and coaching staff wished he was still playing to be able to help out the ailing club who has faired no better than .500 in their last 10 games.