Friday, February 06, 2009

Laraque Back

Many Ask Where, I Ask: Why?

BGL (Big Georges Laraque, or Bob Gainey's Limpet – limpets suck for a living too) is back according to RDS.

This has ignited optimism and debate about how and where BGL will be inserted into the lineup. I don't think there's any doubt he'll be on the fourth line (unless Carbo goes all Therrien on us – Odjick on the first); but the question I suppose is how regular a shift.

As I said, i am not concerned with where and how much he'll play, as I'm still wondering why he'll be playing at all.

The opponents

Are Buffalo so tough that we need the "highly intimidating" figure of Laraque around to keep them honest? Do we fear that they will run amok against our tiny defenders Hamrlik, O'Byrne and Komisarek?

Buffalo have been winning of late (6 in their last 9), but they have been doing it with style, a combination of offence and defence – two shutouts and three games with ≥5 goals (one with 10). Connolly is a danger player, not Peters, and Georges can't touch him, much less keep up with him.

What's more the Sabres have one of those teams where the fourth line can sometimes do the damage. Having a defensive liability stuck 20 yards behind the puck at all times won't help.

I'm sure Buffalo will take the opportunity to trot out their own waste of cap space, Andrew Peters, for his fourth game since they decided he was expendable at the end of December. Probably around the time they realised they needed points not PIMs to make the playoffs.

The omitted

Sure, from a game-to-game outlook, this is BGL for Alex Henry. But in fact, one mistake does not correct another. Henry was brought up to bolster the blueline when Gorges fell, and as Brisebois licks his wounds. No one was promoted to replace the fallen Latendresse and Lang. Henry playing up front worked as a patch against a Pittsburgh with no defensive awareness whatsoever, but is just that – a patch. Sooner or later someone like Chipchura or Stewart must be recalled.

The way I see this whole situation, I am going to be forced to watch the lethargic BGL, when I could be admiring the always excellent Gregory Stewart. All so Peters and Georges can fight about 3 minutes in for no reason whatsoever.

The points

You know that I'm not hell bent on every game ending up a win, but points when they look to be there for the taking should be taken. Buffalo and Toronto back to back are doable wins and playing to our best strengths would e a wise strategy as always.

Obviously I don't think BGL is an asset in a quest for points. Do any of you?

Let's see what happens. At least Carbo is being realistic about the impact this "fighter" can have on the game.

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