Bucking stereotypes. Or not.

Habs toughy Georges Laraque, we are told, isn’t like Habs toughies of yore. (Incidentally, my all-time favourite Hab proto-thug is this guy right here. True story: last summer, Nilan was found guilty of stealing a bathing suit from a swishy Massachusetts haberdashery. Nilan’s response to the cops: “I just wanted to save a few bucks.”)

Anyway, Laraque’s media narrative goes like this: 6-foot-3, 245-pound behemoth is actually a teddy bear at heart, a puppy-dog-adopting, tofu-chomping PETA member who lives for the penalty box (and who gets injured a lot, but that’s another story.) The “hitter with a heart of gold” thing has been kicking around Montreal for quite some time, and today the Gazette slobbered all over him for 20 inches.

“At the end of the day when I retire I don’t want to be remembered by how many people I’ve beaten up,” said Laraque, who was born in Montreal in 1976, the eldest of three children of Haitian parents who arrived here in 1975. “I want to be remembered for the impact I have had in the community.”

By Jove, he’s like Gandhi with fists, this Georges Laraque! Mother Theresa on skates! a John Lennon wearing a [that’s enough, you idiot! –ed.]

Thankfully, though, there is a piece of the Laraque narrative that doesn’t fit the Vaseline-smeared version, and which satisfies the inner cynic in all of us. This piece is featured in the video above, where Georges peddles an alcoholic energy drink concoction–surely the dumbest idea this side of the speedball–with a symphony of tits, ass and hockey sticks. Georges appears at the tail end, grinning like a (presumably adopted) Cheshire Cat, demonstrating better stick handling than I’ve ever seen on RDS, offending just about every easily excitable womyns’ lobby in the process.

That’s what I love about hockey players. They’re such complex characters.

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