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Lucic Declines the Laraques RSVP

Nov 23, 2008 – 1:41 AM
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Eric McErlain

Eric McErlain %BloggerTitle%

With the news hitting the wires yesterday that Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mike Komisarek would miss another month with a shoulder injury he suffered during a fight with Boston Bruins winger Milan Lucic on November 13, plenty of folks were buzzing about the possibility that Lucic would be forced to drop the gloves on Saturday night with the league's reigning tough man, Canadiens winger Georges Laraque.

It didn't happen, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Taking advantage of having the last line change, Canadiens head coach Guy Carboneau assigned Laraque to shadow Lucic all night long. A quick look at the highlights I saw on Hockey Night in Canada made it clear that Laraque was doing his level best to goad Lucic into dropping the gloves, but the 20-year old winger wasn't biting.

As it turned out, he was under orders from his coach, Claude Julien, to avoid a fight at all costs. Here's what Julien had to say after the game:
"I bet Milan never thought he was that good that he'd have a shadow on him. I doubt it's ever happened in his career," he said. "It's pretty simple, we've got a good hockey player who is 20 years old and a first line player. Do you think we're going to send him against the toughest guy in the league?"

"Laraque was doing it because he was told to. Georges is not that kind of guy; he respects the young players in the league. I told Lucic not to fight," the former Canadiens bench boss explained.
As it would turn out, Lucic and the Bruins would have the last laugh, as Lucic scored a goal with Laraque on the bench in a 3-2 shootout victory for Boston. Despite the loss, Carboneau wasn't entirely disappointed with the result: "There's more games to come, we'll see how (Lucic) keeps playing ... But he was a lot quieter tonight than he was in Boston."

The Canadiens next visit Boston on January 13. Mark it down on the calendar. Others clearly already are.
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