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Georges Laraque Doesn't Like To Fight

[Ed. note: This blog item is about an event that took place more than a month ago, featuring quotes gathered four days ago. Sorry. Gilbert on the brain.]

So anyone who follows the world of hockey blogging is well aware that, while wearing a mic last month, Coyotes toughguy Georges Laraque offered a friendly "good luck" to the Kings' Raitis Ivanans before the two began punching each other in the head. Video below. This exchange, naturally, set the wags wagging.

Here's what the Calgary Herald's "I Don't Like Mondays" columnist had to say:

Speaking of them Coyotes, wasn't that a prize piece of sound Thursday night from Phoenix's hired assassin, Georges Laraque? Wired for sound, Laraque finds the Kings' designated Rocky Balboa (Raitus [sic] Ivanans) in his GPS. Laraque then politely invites Ivanans, "You wanna go?" Told that nothing could be finer by Ivanans, Laraque then blithely says, "Good luck." Good luck? GOOD luck? Why not, "Your mother wears army boots without a pillow insole?" Or "This'll teach you for sticking gum on my seat?" Now someone will tell IDLM these fights are staged.

Anyhow, Official Caps Beat Writer Tarik El-Bashir suggested I ask Laraque about the incident when the Coyotes were here the other day. When I found Laraque, he was standing in the hallway, just hanging out, wearing black shoes, black pants and a black shirt and looking at a stat sheet. Laraque, you'll note, also has a radio show in which he offers love advice. I can only hope the Phoenix bloggers are all over this guy.

Anyhow, I asked about the "Good Luck" thing. He said he's been asked that question frequently in the past few weeks.

"I always say that," he said. "It's the toughest job in the league, and I respect every fighter in the league, and I always wish them luck....There was no big deal. It was just because the mic was on, [fans] were like 'Oh my God!' but that's how I am. I don't get mad. It's not in my nature."

Intriguing. Bear in mind that Laraque is one of the toughest of the toughs. Jarret Stoll recently said "I haven't seen a guy who can beat Georges Laraque. Once he gets throwing and gets his hands going, it's lights out." And here's what Darren McCarty wrote about GL:

The first thing with Georges is you are not going to go in there and exchange punches with him. That would be suicide. So when it started to happen, I just tried to get in close. When you fight out of your weight class, it's about survival.Obviously Georges is a lot bigger and a lot stronger than me. He is the champ. You want to make it as painless as possible....

Fists of Fury Brashear, remember, got a lot of attention when he punched everyone in a Rangers sweater last week, and when Brendan Shanahan said Brashear offered him a chance to get out of the fight. Since Laraque seemed well-versed on fighting etiquette, I asked him if that would be a typical offer.

"Well, Shanahan is obviously not a heavyweight, and [Brashear] just wanted to make sure that he really wanted to do it," the Politer Fighter said. "Because, you know, you'll look stupid if you drop the gloves and Shanahan tells him to go and just get away. So he just wanted to make sure that it's really what he wanted, and he knew that was the right guy. So yeah, I guess, it was the right move, yeah.

"Me personally, I wouldn't even fight [Shanahan]," Laraque continued. "I would turn it down, I wouldn't even do it. But some guys are comfortable doing it. Even if he'd asked me to go I wouldn't do it. You have nothing to win for doing that. We're different in that regard. I wouldn't do that. [Brash] did it."

For Brashear, who can return to the ice tonight, the Rangers game made it five fights in five games. I asked the Politer Fighter whether he had ever gone that frequently.

"No," he said. "I think he's going that much now because if you're not getting points and things are not going well, you've got to do something else to stay in the lineup. So I think he's just doing it to stay in the lineup, because things, point-wise are not working. So you've got to do something if you're not producing. So it's mostly because of that."

Btw, fellow blogger Off Wing Opinion was disappointed that Brashear's suspension meant there would be no fisticuffs with the Politer Fighter. I wondered if Laraque shared that sentiment.

"Why would I be disappointed?" he said. "I've been in the league for 10 years. I've fought so many people. I wouldn't get disappointed. It's not like I need to fight him to make a name for myself. If you're an up-and-comer and you need to make a name for yourself that's different, but I've been here for so long. There's no guarantee that even if he would have played something would have happened. We've both been here for a long time."

It was all very peaceful and thoughtful, like we were discussing the weather, or The Rise of the Novel of Manners, or whatever. When you talk to Brash, you sort of understand that maybe he wouldn't mind driving his fist through your brain, but Laraque seemed like he was ready to pick up a baguette and some Pont l'Eveque and then head off on his scooter to a poetry reading or something. So finally, I asked what he says to people after he's done punching them.

"'Good fight,' or whatever," he said. "I'm not mad. I smile. It's not in my nature. I don't like fighting. I do it because it's my job, but I'm not a big fight guy. The league could take that out, and I won't have a job, but I would be ok with it. I've been here long enough."

Weird. So Carmelo apparently isn't the only well-known pro who'd really rather not fight.

Anyhow, here's the video, if you haven't seen it. The audio comes on the replay.

Edit: Dang, I forgot to link to GTB's blog post about the Brash-Brett Haber pairing, which includes YouTube of their WUSA promo. Well, there it is.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 4, 2007; 4:31 PM ET
Categories:  NHL  
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Next: Does This Mean the Microfiber Was Drago?


Brendan Shanahan should be forced to watch Brashear's WUSA-9 commercial with Brett Haber on a continuous loop.

Posted by: GTB | January 4, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Tarik asks you to go ask the big tough guy questions? Was he too afraid to do it?

Posted by: Kim | January 4, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I love Laraque- he's one of my favorite players outside of DC. But like Off Wing, I too was disappointed that we didn't get to see Laraque and Brashear go toe to toe; I think it would have been an interesting matchup. Oh well.

Posted by: DC Sports Chick | January 4, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Great post Dan, I'd missed the bit about Georges' "good luck" wish, that's classic!

Posted by: OrderedChaos | January 5, 2007 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Georges Laraque has turned himself into a more complete player. He is quickly becoming a fan favorite in the Valley (if he hasn't become one already) and it is good to see him elevate his game.

His OMG line (Oleg Saprykin Mike Zigomanis Georges Laraque) has been split up, but if the team needs a jolt in the right direction, Gretzky will briefly put them back together again.

He is a good guy - far different than what I expected and real glad he is on the Coyotes.

Great article!

Posted by: PB | January 8, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

This came as no surprise to Oilers fans; there are dozens of stories around Edmonton about just how great of a guy Big Georges is. Good to see him having some success in Phoenix.

Posted by: Doogie2K | January 10, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

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