NHL

Dreger: Laraque's past plays role in how he's treated by NHL

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Darren Dreger
11/24/2009 8:37:51 PM
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Georges Laraque's five-game suspension for taking out Red Wings defenceman Niklas Kronwall was as much about Laraque's past as his present.

Laraque clearly stuck out his leg in a manner that the NHL describes as careless and needless, resulting in a significant injury to Kronwall that is expected to sideline him for at least a month. However, as damning as the evidence may have been, Laraque's past played a key role in the length of this suspension as well.

In March of 2008, while a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Laraque was given a three-game suspension for elbowing Buffalo's Nathan Paetsch in the head. Paetsch suffered a concussion and missed four games because of the hit.

Laraque will argue he is not a reckless or dirty player, but in these two instances, the NHL ruled he is.

Meanwhile, the Canadiens have made no attempt to have contract talks with Laraque's teammate and the team's leading point-getter, Tomas Plekanec.

Plekanec is flourishing under coach Jacques Martin and is on pace for a career-high 78 points. Plekanec has rebounded from a disappointing 2008-2009 season, when he finished with 39 points, 30 fewer than a career high 69 points he registered in 2007-2008.

Plekanec is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st and he could be well positioned for a raise on the $2.75 million he's earning this year.

Sources close to Plekanec say he loves Montreal and was more than willing to accept a two-year deal in the summer, forfeiting a year of unrestricted free agency in the process. But the two sides couldn't agree on dollars.

That failure to consummate a deal may prove costly to the Canadiens this summer.

Georges Laraque and Colton Orr (Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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