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Canadiens buy out enforcer Georges Laraque

Joel Rechlicz, Georges Laraque

New York Islanders’ Nate Thompson (45) takes a punch from Montreal Canadiens’ Georges Laraque during a fight in the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, April 2, 2009 in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)

Paul J. Bereswill

We hinted at it yesterday when the NHL buyout period began, but the Montreal Canadiens made it official this evening that they’ll be parting ways with enforcer Georges Laraque, financially.

Laraque had one year remaining on a US$4.5 million three-year contract.

The buyout is worth $1 million and will be spread out over the next two years, meaning the Canadiens will receive an extra $500,000 cap hit through the 2011-12 season.

What’s screwy about this situation is that the Habs declared in January that they would buy out Laraque which left Laraque always sitting as a healthy scratch on Canadiens game reports. Not that that’s awkward or anything. Of course, for all the good works that tough guy Laraque is doing on behalf of the NHL for charity to help out earthquake-ravaged Haiti (Laraque’s family hails from Haiti), perhaps it’s worth it to keep a guy like that on hand to put on a good face.

Will someone else be interested in Laraque? I’d say that the market for an enforcer who doesn’t quite enforce anymore (28 PIM in a shortened 09-10 season, 61 PIM in 08-09) and is an injury liability (still missed a month of play in 09-10, 33 games in 08-09) that comes with the sort of price tag Laraque was getting from Montreal will be really close to being non-existent.

Then again, with an annual period where you get to buyout players it’s become a sort of annual event, one that should be named. My suggestion: Yashin Festivus, named after Alexei Yashin who the Islanders will be paying off until the end of the 2013-2014 season. We’ll call it “festivus” because much like the Seinfeld holiday, there will be many airings of grievances... Just don’t count on any feats of strength.