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A heavyweight homecoming

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
Georges Laraque and Mike Komisarek will now join forces to make life on the ice and against the boards even more miserable for their opponents.
MONTREAL -- While he needs no introduction to his new teammates or Canadiens fans, Georges Laraque has finally come home, with his NHL heavyweight title belt firmly around his waist. Clearly, there’s a new sheriff in town.

At 6-foot-3 and over 240 pounds, Laraque is a huge signing for the Habs in every sense of the word.

"It’s been a few years now that I’ve been imagining what it would be like to play for the Canadiens," admitted Laraque via conference call from his Edmonton home. "I was born in Montreal. My whole family lives in Montreal. I knew that I wanted to play here not at the tail-end of my career, but in my prime."

No one has to remind the 31-year-old enforcer why he was brought in to help his hometown Habs.

"I know my role and I hope to make the jobs of certain teammates easier," explained Laraque, who boasts over 1,000 career penalty minutes. "Having played against him, I know that a guy like Mike Komisarek is much more useful when he’s on the ice and that he shouldn’t really feel the need to drop his gloves out there. I want to take that pressure off Mike’s shoulders and give players like Max Lapierre and Steve Begin the chance to play their physical game without worrying about someone going after them."

Having faced the skillful Canadiens on many occasions, Laraque has seen first-hand why his arrival in Montreal is a welcome one.

“Since there hasn’t been a true heavyweight here in a while, a player like me knew that facing Montreal meant it would be an easy night," said the rugged winger. "I knew that I could get away with doing whatever I wanted against a small team like the Canadiens and I took advantage of that fact."

The vertically-challenged speedsters in the Habs' lineup aren’t the only ones who are going to sleep better tonight.

"I’ve heard Guy Carbonneau say it himself that if the Canadiens were going to bring in a tough guy, he had to know how to play the game as well," recalled Laraque. "He’s mentioned my name before as a player like that and knowing he already has that kind of confidence in me feels really good."

Manny Almela is a writer for

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