APRIL FOOLS?

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?

OPEN DOOR?

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.

  • O.C.

    If the rules of the game hadn’t changed… maybe… but guys like George are being phased out.

    One of the things ST got right in letting Big Mac go.

    Sign for a contract for 20 games a year maybe? Those pinheads who like running guys might get the idea.

    Or maybe for one game to let him retire as an Oiler.

    But he’ll NEVER be a full time option.

  • I certainly hope this is a joke.

    George would have difficulty riding shotgun for Dustin Penner never mind taylor freaking hall.

    George was cut by the canadiens because Milan Lucic made him irrelevant, the staged goon has been written out of the play, lets leave it at that.

    Robin. Any comment on Terry Jones article ? If theres a disconnect between the kids who are taking over and the vets whose brutal play has allowed/ forced that to happen, Im curious where Ryan Smyth fits into the dynamic.

    • Disconnect is a catchy buzzword, but it has little to do with what we’re seeing here.

      This is a team in transition with younger players taking over or already clearly leading the way. That’s going to require an adjustment by the veterans in terms of approach just like it will require adjustments in ice time and roles moving forward. This should be obvious.

      That adjustment goes for Smyth, if he wants a new contract (and a reduced role as part of the deal), Horcoff and the others. The kids are the show now. The veterans, save for Hemsky and maybe Whitney and Schultz, are support and transitional players.

  • neojanus

    This is not a wise manoeuvre… and is likely a joke?

    Maybe Ulanov would like an invite instead.

    Only way to protect Hall is to stop him from getting on the ice; he’s due for the Rexall lettering to fall on his head as he exits the building.

    We need someone to protect the players who can actually contribute. With all due respect, I don’t know if Georges is the guy.

    Saying that, the Oilers would have won the cup had they started Laraque instead of Harvey in game 7. I can’t think of someone who would bring more energy in that game… something the Oilers surprisingly lacked for a game 7 final.