Coach Wayne Gretzky scratched enforcer Georges Laraque from Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Kings.
Laraque was a noticeable non-factor in Phoenix's previous game, its most brutal match of the season played Thursday at San Jose.
Josh Gratton took some licks in a fight with Sharks defenseman Rob Davison in that game, which San Jose won 5-2, and Sharks defenseman Doug Murray delivered some hard, open-ice checks to Coyotes forwards Shane Doan and Mike Zigomanis.
Laraque was not credited with a hit and did not get into a fight, and it's safe to assume some of his teammates were disappointed.
Laraque, who has been scratched three times this season, appeared to verbally challenge some of the Sharks during Thursday's game, but they avoided him.
When asked if it was frustrating that none of the Sharks wanted a piece of him, Laraque said: "Why should they? I knew they wouldn't, and I can't get a penalty and put the team in trouble because we could have still come back in the game. You've got be careful the way you respond to it (physical play) . . . The main point is the tough guys are not taking advantage of our team."
Asked Saturday if it was fair to say he was disappointed that Laraque did not get more involved in the rough stuff on Thursday, Gretzky picked his words carefully.
"I don't think that's fair to say," Gretzky said. "I'd just like to see him more involved physically . . . It's a hard thing for Georges, and Georges has to realize that the first thing teams are going to say is 'just let him sleep.' They're not going to go near Georges, and Georges has to engage himself. I've talked to him about it. When the pucks were dumped in (on Thursday night) he was trying to get hits, but it really didn't materialize for him. But as I've said to Georges in the past, the first thing teams say is 'just leave him alone and let him do his thing and don't wake him up.' That's not good for us. We need him woken up."
He and his no trade clause and $1M salary can stay where they are. Winchester and JFJ are cheaper and faster, or at least Stortini can hit and will intimidate. Laraque spent the game trying to keep up to the play, and handing out flowers.
When he was here, I was happy to see him a healthy scratch because he didn't know his role and still doesn't. If he would have been a more intimidating factor here with Edmonton and made it hard for teams to play us then yeah I would have liked him, but he simply is not that player.
No not in anyway, he maybe tough, but he's useless as a player.
I would rather have Stortini on this team then Laraque. Stortini can skate at something close to an NHL level.
Stortini is nowhere near the hockey player that Laraque is.
I'd love to have George back on the team, but in a limited role with a much lower salary. There's no question I'd put him in the lineup over a number of the rookie hopefuls we've had playing on the big club already this season (Jacques, Mihknov, and Winchester to name a few).
because clearly his 19 points are something Stortini could easily surpass.
All this shows is not to judge, write off, or put limited expectations on a player... something you are doing with Stortini right now.
I would take Stortini over Big G any day of the week. After all im not employing either to score big points but rather to intimidate players, something that Laraque failed to do. I would have never witnessed Laraque give the lip that Stortini gave to Dion on Saturday. If someone hits a star player and didn't want to fight Laraque it was the end of the story. That's not what you want from a enforcer. The guy should be knocked out before he has a chance to say no.
Georges was a decent role player, and even came up with a timely goal or two.
It would be interesting to know what he would have charged for his services from Edmonton. The PHX contract was crazy, EDM couldn't do a NTC. Oh well, it's not like he was going to play with Hemsky and play a true enforcer, so a Storini here and there will do.
I said yes, because the guys who replaced him in the line up this year have done next to nothing. At very least I think Georges was good for the locker room. I would not want him back at his current salary though.