BROSSARD – Wearing his usual perma-smile, Georges Laraque was especially smiley on Friday after practicing with his teammates for the first time in a long while.
“It felt really good to be back on the ice. It had been already almost a month. I almost started feeling like I was a member of the media I was watching my teammates play for so long,” said Laraque, who has been out of the lineup since Boxing Day. “I won’t be back this weekend. I’m probably still two or three full-contact practices away from being back in the lineup and playing in a game.”
With his teammates suffering through a four-game losing skid, Laraque kept things light on Friday morning by horsing around with Alex Kovalev and even lining up on the blue line.
“Who knows I could be the next P.K. Subban
,” laughed Laraque. “I also figured that if I let Kovy deke me out a few times, it will get him pumped up for this weekend or worst case provide him with a blooper reel for his next instructional DVD.”
Sidelined for 23 games this year due to a variety of ailments, Laraque knows that his patience will pay off.
“The team made a good decision by allowing me the time to heal and finally get healthy again,” said Laraque. “The last thing anyone wanted was for me to come back for one game and then have to sit out two more as a result.”
With the s-word being floated around of late, Laraque made it clear that surgery was never really a viable option for the 32-year-old enforcer.
“At this point of my career, I don’t think that was an option. If I were younger and had my whole career ahead of me, maybe it would have been different. Our physiotherapists are the best in the country and they did a terrific job of getting me back on my feet.” Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com