Georges Laraque


So how can it get any better after playing for the Great One?

Well, how about playing for le Magnifique, Mario Lemieux, with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and going from a non-playoff team to a Stanley Cup contender. When I arrived in Pittsburgh I was reunited with my old junior coach Michel Therrien, with whom I had won the Memorial Cup back in Granby. Back then he got me at the deadline and we went all the way and when I got to Pittsburgh at the deadline it looked like the exact scenario would play out again.

My time in Pittsburgh was special, this young core of talent was really amazing to watch. I remember playing against Crosby before with Phoenix, but when you play with him, you truly realize how good he is, how talented he is and how hard he works. I was always amazed with his work ethic, he's contagious for the entire team. That's why they do so well, he's quite the leader.

Ray Shero is a class-act general manager, as is the entire Pittsburgh staff. I had the opportunity to play another outdoor game, but this time it was at Ralph Wilson Stadium on New Year's Day against the Buffalo Sabres in front of 71,000 fans. Later that year, we made it to the Stanley Cup Finals and that was really special, I really thought we were going to win it, but it was still a great experience that I will never forget.

I watched a lot of football games while playing there and became quite the Steelers' fans, and I'm telling you, you better be a Steelers' fan when you go to those games!!! I was really involved in the community when I played there and a lot of it was because there are a large number of poor minority kids living there and I thought it was important. I became so attached to different groups when I was there that it really made it difficult to leave that team. To a lot of those kids that didn't like or watch hockey, I was a symbol of hope, of success, an inspiration and that is much bigger than any Stanley Cup or fight you win!