When Donald Brashear collided with Blair Betts in Game 6 between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers, many spectators saw a malicious hit delivered to an unsuspecting player, but Georges Laraque is urging fans to understand the circumstances that exist around situations of that nature.
“I'm pretty sure that when [Brashear] went in there it wasn't his intent to hurt [Betts],” Laraque told Off The Record's Michael Landsberg, on Monday. “You never really know when you go to hit someone if the other guy is going to get hurt or not. A lot of the time when you go to hit someone the guys lean down or whatever, you don't really go at a guy's head.”
“It's unfortunate that he got hurt and I'm sure [Brashear] feels bad about it, but I say it was more of an accident.”
During his 10-year NHL career, Laraque has been no stranger to squaring off against the NHL's toughest characters, including the recently suspended Brashear, but he admitted Monday that you need to gauge the moment because a fight is not always going to benefit your club. Something that was exemplified on Sunday, when Philadelphia Flyers' enforcer Daniel Carcillo took on the Pittsburgh Penguins forward Maxime Talbot. While Talbot may not have got the decision in the scuffle, his actions helped swing the momentum of the game in his team's favour.
“Sometimes when you fight, you think the result is more important,” explained Laraque. “But it happens sometimes when a coach will tell you not to fight. Not because he knows you are going to win, but sometimes when you do it and your team is playing well it stops everything.”
With his Canadiens eliminated from the chase for Lord Stanley's Cup, the 6-foot-3, 243-pounder is dropping the gloves and appearing on two episodes of OTR to start the week, giving his insight on the NHL playoffs.
He lent his support to his starting goaltender, the much-maligned Carey Price.
“Carey is a very good goalie and he is the future of the franchise,” stated Laraque adamantly. “Everybody goes through tough times. He's a competitor and he gave everything he had.”
“When you're losing, confidence is an issue, but I know that he's going to come back strong,” he added.
Laraque was much less kind when asked his opinion on the Rangers' super-pest Sean Avery.
“I just think the game is bigger than one player and the way he acts. [Avery] acts like he's bigger than the game,” he remarked matter-of-factly.
"He's the only player in the NHL I don't like. It would be easier to say what I do like [about him], which is nothing.”
Tune in to Off The Record Tuesday to see more with Georges Laraque, and check out his website at georgeslaraque.com