April 01 2012 10:00AM
So, Georges Laraque is interested in coming out of retirement and wants to end his NHL career riding shotgun for Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the Edmonton Oilers.
At least that's the word from Dean Millard of Global Sports, who reported last night that the
300-pound 255-pound Laraque, out of the NHL since 2009-10 when the Montreal Canadiens bought out his contract, is contemplating a return to the Oilers, who drafted him 31st overall in 1995.
"I was quite surprised when I received a phone call last night telling me that Georges Laraque was looking for a training camp invite and wants to make a comeback bid," Millard said. "He left the game two years ago, but wants to retire an Oiler and hopes to be able to protect its future stars."
I said, pardon?
Having caught the item on Global's late newscast Saturday, within about 10 minutes of the clock ticking over to April 1, I thought Millard was having one over on us. Apparently not, unless Laraque, in town for the Scotia Bank 2012 Pro-Am in support of Alzheimer's research, is in on it.
Laraque, 35, who compiled 1,126 penalty minutes and was considered the reigning NHL heavyweight champion for most of his 695 games with the Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins and Canadiens, confirmed that he's interested in coming back.
"I'm starting training again this summer. We'll see how everything goes," said Laraque, who hasn't been any closer to a scrap since retirement than signing on as deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada.
"I'm not closing the door. That's for sure. I never officially retired. I wanted to get over my injuries and everything, so, now that I'm back in training, we'll see what's going to happen. I haven't felt this happy for a long time, so that's why the fire is coming back slowly. I'll see in the next couple of weeks what's going to happen."
While a comeback for Laraque, who has spent much of the last year touring in support of his book, The NHL's Unlikeliest Tough Guy, will (and probably should) draw guffaws from some, it should be noted he is friends with Oilers owner Daryl Katz
Despite some bad feelings between Laraque and the team when he signed with Phoenix as a free agent after Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe opted not to offer him a no-trade clause, the Oilers were ready to offer him a four-year contract with Katz as owner three years later. Laraque instead signed a three-year deal with the Canadiens.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.