Georges Laraque

The Hat Trick

As a tough guy scoring my first NHL Hat Trick on Feb. 21, 2000 was a huge accomplishment for me. Being able to make it to the NHL was a dream come true and to be able to score a hat trick is phenomenal. This page is a representation of how I felt that night in front of the home crowd in Edmonton and how I want to share that with you, my fans. I've posted links to various news articles from that game, the scoresheet and video. Enjoy!

Score sheet

Click here to see the official scoresheet from the game, which produced one of the most special moments of my career.

Laraque shows the King's a new trick

(from website Feb 22, 00) (Feb 22)

Enforcer Georges Laraque recorded his first career hat trick to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

Laraque, who had just three goals in 56 games this season, opened the scoring at 7:34 of the first period when he put a rebound of Jim Dowd's point shot past goaltender Stephane Fiset. He gave the Oilers a 2-1 edge with 5:02 left in the second period. From outside the crease, Laraque deflected Roman Hamrlik's slap shot from the left faceoff circle by Fiset.

"It's not even a dream come true because I never even thought about scoring three goals in one game," Laraque said. "The fans gave me energy every shift, especially after my second goal, and then when all those hats started coming out of the crowd, I tell you, I had tears in my eyes."

The 6-3, 240-pound Laraque completed the hat trick with 16 seconds to go, just after Janne Niinimaa scored an empty-net goal. Laraque took a pass from Boyd Devereaux in the slot, fought off a check by defenseman Aki Berg and skated to the left crease where he flipped a backhander over Fiset's pad.

"I had the puck and kind of spun around the defenseman, but when I did that I had no angle, so I tried a backhander that I thought had no chance," Laraque said. "But it must have been destined to go in. When it did, I could've skated 10 laps around the rink faster than Todd Marchant."

Laraque played a typically physical game as well and received a fighting major for his second-period scrap with 6-8 Steve McKenna.

Tommy Salo made 26 saves for Edmonton, which improved to 2-1-1 against Los Angeles this season. The Oilers also jumped one point ahead of the Kings for sixth place in the Western Conference.

"We lost two games to Calgary and even though we worked hard we felt like we left something on the table," said Dowd. "Tonight, we wanted to get the jump early and keep the pressure on them all night. We've been working very hard in practice and that carries over into games."

Luc Robataille had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who have lost two straight following a five-game winning streak. Robataille's team-leading 31st tied it, 1-1, at 3:51 of the second. "Both teams played it like a playoff game," said McKenna. "The game had great flow in the first period, but unfortunately we didn't maintain that style in the second and third. We needed to play like we absolutely had to have the two points, and we didn't get that kind of committment for three periods."

Ethan Moreau's 13th goal, a power-play tally, gave the Oilers a 3-1 lead with 61 seconds remaining in the second.

Craig Johnson flipped a wrist shot past Salo for his seventh goal to cut Edmonton's lead to 3-2 just over six minutes into the third.

Doug Weight restored the Oilers' two-goal lead with 3:34 left. He took a pass from Ryan Smyth and poked a backhander by Fiset for his 12th goal.

Garry Galley's eighth 1:58 later made it 4-3. Galley fired a slap shot from the left point that deflected off the crossbar and into the net.

Shortly after Galley's goal, Los Angeles pulled Fiset for an extra attacker. After Edmonton won a faceoff in its own zone, Todd Marchant got the puck to Niinimaa, who put a wrist shot into the empty net from the right circle.

Edmonton's hats are off to Laraque

Monday, Feb. 21 9:00pm ET (from site)

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -- Georges Laraque was the unlikely hero in the game that pushed the Edmonton Oilers into first place.

The 6-3, 240-pound defenseman scored a career-high three goals in the Oilers' 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings that put Edmonton atop the Northwest Division, one point ahead of Colorado.

A shower of hats came down when Laraque completed his first hat trick.

"When I got that chance there was no angle," Laraque said. "I just shot. It was an emotional moment. I would never have thought I would see a hat on the ice for me. It's unbelievable."

The third goal came after Laraque took a pass from Boyd Devereaux along the side boards and deked goalie Stephane Fiset with 16 seconds left in the game.

"Boyd was on the boards," Laraque said. "A defenseman was on my back. I did a little Denis Savard spinerama."

Kings defenseman Garry Galley was impressed by the skill Laraque showed.

"He held off guys and drove to the net. You have to give him credit for that," he said.

Ethan Moreau, Doug Weight and Janne Niinimaa also scored for the Oilers.

Luc Robitaille, Craig Johnson and Garry Galley had goals for Los Angeles.

Robitaille tied Michel Goulet for 17th place on the league's career scoring list with his 548th goal. Robitaille is fifth in career goals among active players.

Laraque backhanded in the rebound of Jim Dowd's slap shot from the blue line to open the scoring at 7:34 of the first period.

"We got the big guy putting the puck in the net," captain Doug Weight said. "That line played unbelievable. Georges is a kid at heart. We created a little monster now."

His second goal came at 14:58 of the second when he deflected Roman Hamrlik's slap shot from the faceoff circle past Stephane Fiset, putting the Oilers ahead 2-1.

It has been a long time since Laraque knew the thrill of a hat trick.

"In junior, way back," Laraque said. "To get it in the NHL, I'm going to pinch myself."

Moreau put the Oilers up 3-1 at 18:59 of the second when he scored from the slot on a power play after taking a pass from Doug Weight.

Johnson brought the Kings within 3-2 by beating Tommy Salo from the goal mouth after a scramble around the net at 6:01 of the third.

After Weight scored on a rebound at 16:26 of the period, Galley's slap shot from the point beat Salo, bringing the Kings within a goal. Niinimaa put the game out of reach with an empty-net goal at 19:31.

That rundown feeling
Truck that hit Kings had No. 27 on it


The tire tracks were still fresh on the fronts of their jerseys when the L.A. Kings packed their bags for Calgary last night.

At least they got the number of the truck that hit them.

It was 27.

"Georges Laraque played a strong game when their team needed him,'' said big Steve McKenna, one of the few L.A. Kings who cared to discuss the 6-3 lambasting they received at Skyreach Centre.

"He answered the bell.''

While Laraque had the first hat-trick of his professional career, McKenna had an eventful night of his own. The six-foot-eight, 255-pound winger fought Sean Brown in the first period and Laraque in the second. McKenna drew a controversial instigator penalty in the Laraque tilt, which led to an Edmonton powerplay goal.

L.A. coach Andy Murray called it a double standard because Brown went after McKenna in the the first period and there was no instigator called.

"It's not like McKenna was going after Doug Weight or anything,'' said Murray. "Georges rocked Aki Berg in the corner, so Steve went over and they talked and they both dropped their gloves.

"The only thing I want to know is what was the difference between that and what happened with (Sean) Brown in the first?

"If you're going to call it instigating then they both should be instigating.''

McKenna felt robbed by the call, but said he was just taking care of business. He's the guy who speared Roman Hamrlik in the chest the last time Edmonton visited L.A.

"That's hockey,'' he said. "Georges knows what was going on and so did I. It's just part of the game. Unfortunately I got an instigator penalty and they scored on it.

"You can argue it till the cows come home, but what's done is done.''

The Kings had another beef. On the goal that made it 4-2 Edmonton, Ryan Smyth was probably deeper in the net than the puck ever was. But there was no goaltender interference call. The goal stood.

"That one kind of took the wind out of our sails,''said McKenna.

"Sometimes that goal counts and sometimes it doesn't. Just flip a coin depending on whatever night it is.''

All in all, a tough night for the visitors, who had won seven of their previous nine games before stumbling in their last two - last night's defeat and a 4-1 loss in Buffalo.

"There were spots in the game where it looked like we were going to take some sort of control,'' said Garry Galley. "Then we'd have some sort of breakdown and they'd score.
"They took more of the physical play to us, which is something we're supposed to do.''


Murray didn't really like what he saw from his club in such a high-stakes game.

"They were a lot more desperate than we were,'' said Murray. "They won the little battles for the puck.''

The Kings dropped a spot in the standings, from fifth to sixth.

"Both teams played it like a playoff game,'' said McKenna. "It was physical, there was a lot of end-to-end hockey. They just got a couple of bounces and capitalized on a couple of penalties.

"But (Murray's) right, we needed a little more desperation and drive. These points would have come in handy down the road.''

Laraque's first hat trick paces Oilers past Kings

Tuesday, February 22, 2000 (appeared on a few sites)

OILERS 6, Kings 3

EDMONTON (CP) -- Rugged Georges Laraque provided the emotional spark that lifted the Edmonton Oilers back into first place in the Northwest Division.

Many of the 14,615 fans at the Skyreach Centre responded with a shower of hats when Laraque completed the first three-goal game of his career in a 6-3 win Monday night over the Los Angeles Kings.

"When I got that chance there was no angle," said Laraque. "I just shot. It was an emotional moment.

"I would never have thought I would see a hat on the ice for me. It's unbelievable."

The six-foot-three, 240-pound defenceman took a pass from Boyd Devereaux along the side boards and deked goalie Stephane Fiset to complete his hat trick with 16 seconds left in the third period.

"Boyd was on the boards," said Laraque. "A defenceman was on my back. I did a little Denis Savard spinerama."

Kings defenceman Garry Galley was quick to credit Laraque for his effort.

"He held off guys and drove to the net," said Galley. "You have to give him credit for that."

Laraque opened the scoring with a one-handed backhander off the rebound of a shot by Jim Dowd at 7:34 of the first period.

Laraque then a 1-1 tie at 14:58 of the second period when he created traffic in front of Fiset and Roman Hamrlik's slapshot deflected him.

When he was asked when he last scored three times in a game, he said "in junior. Way back. To get it in the NHL, I'm going to pinch myself."

"We got the big guy putting the puck in the net," said captain Doug Weight. "That line (with Devereaux and Dowd) played unbelievable.

"Georges is a kid at heart. We created a little monster now."

Weight had one goal and one assist. Ethan Moreau and Janne Niinimaa also scored for the Oilers, the latter into an empty net 13 seconds before Laraque's third goal.

"Georges deserves all the accolades," said Oilers coach Kevin Lowe. "He's worked real hard.

"He reminds me of Terry O'Reilly at the end of his career. He's learning to take it to the net."

Luc Robitaille, Craig Johnson and Galley scored for the Kings.

"Our goal is not just to make the playoffs," said Laraque. "It's to finish first (in the division)."

Laraque attack
A hat trick, by Georges!

February 22, 2000

A jubilant Georges Laraque celebrates the first of three goals he scored against the L.A. Kings at Skyreach Centre last night.

Let's see, the first line couldn't find the net if they each had a road map attached to their opponents' chests, and the fourth line is drawing a direct route to the target.

No wonder Edmonton Oilers head coach Kevin Lowe was barking out the names, "Georges, Boyd and Jim up next" on more than just a regular occasion in the second and third periods last night.

And Laraque, Devereaux and Dowd more than answered the call in a 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings which propels the Oilers back into first place in the Northwest Division.

Laraque banged in his first career hat trick, drew a pair of penalties - one which led to Ethan Moreau's power-play goal - and a first-star nod.

Not bad for 10:10 of work after just 1:57 in the opening 20 minutes.

Even better, considering his offence alone outproduced what the entire Oilers club had managed to do the last five straight games (they've had two goals in each of the five).


But before we all rush out and buy Laraque No. 27 jerseys, let's not forget he had a couple of linemates working it pretty well.

"They've played that way all year," said Oilers assistant coach Craig MacTavish of the fourth line. "Territorially they've dominated night in and night out and tonight they were rewarded.

"Throw a certain substance against the wall and something is going to stick," added MacTavish. "It stuck tonight."

Laraque, Devereaux and Dowd combined for eight points in the critical win that snaps a two-game losing skid. They were also plus-three each as they had the Kings defencemen turning their heads most of the evening.

Especially Aki Berg, a victim of a crushing Laraque hit that led to a power play when Steve McKenna took an instigating minor late in the second that led to the 3-1 lead.

Berg was also burned for Laraque's nifty backhander to collect the hat trick with 15.8 seconds remaining and left Kings coach Andy Murray in a bad mood.

"I think when Georges Laraque is free-wheeling, we're maybe not doing something right. It's a credit to him, he made a great move on that last goal but Aki Berg is six-foot-four and 225 pounds and Georges just manhandled him in front of the net," seethed Murray.

"Jim Dowd - I don't know how heavy he is but we had two guys on him in the corner ... obviously there were only 15 seconds left and we're pushing for a goal so we're down mentally, but it was an example of the way the game went."

Laraque opened it up 7:34 into the game when he one-handed a backhand swipe past Stephane Fiset, swatting a rebound of Dowd's shot after a great feed from Devereaux.

The Kings evened it up as Luc Robitaille recorded his 31st of the season and 11th in his last 12 games. Lucky Luc ricocheted a shot off Tommy Salo from behind the red line 3:51 into the second.

Then Laraque managed to sway the momentum as Roman Hamrlik's shot deflected off the big guy, who was causing a commotion out front for a 2-1 lead at 14:58 of Period 2. Four minutes later Moreau made it 3-1 after McKenna took the minor.


Kings winger Craig Johnson closed it to 3-2 off a wild scramble 6:01 into the third before Doug Weight chipped in a loose puck with 3:34 left to make it 4-2.

Garry Galley closed it to 4-3 with Fiset pulled for an extra attacker at 18:24 of the third before Rob Blake hit the post with 1:20 to go.

But Janne Niinimaa (empty net with 28.3 ticks left on the clock) and Laraque ended it.

"We knew it was a huge conference game and a chance to move up to first in our division," said Dowd, who had three assists.

"We just have to keep it simple, get the forecheck going and give each other support," he added of his unit, which Lowe has shown tremendous confidence in.

"When we get the little things right we accomplish things."

A win, by Georges!

Tuesday, February 22, 2000
By TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

The media wise-guy looked down from his press box perch at Kevin Lowe arguing with referee Don Koharski, and started to laugh.

The linesmen had just broken up a fight, instigated by Steve McKenna of the Los Angeles Kings before Edmonton Oiler heavyweight Georges Laraque was able to get in a punch.

"Kevin's mad because they're picking on his goal-scorer,'' the press box wag cracked.

To that point, Laraque had both Oilers goals and the Oilers had a 2-1 lead.

The incident with McKenna came as a result of Laraque pasting defenceman Aki Berg into the glass behind the Kings net.

McKenna received an instigating penalty.

The Oilers scored on the power play. While Ethan Moreau scored, you could very easily put Laraque's name on that goal, too.


Laraque scored the third one, for real, with 15.8 seconds to go in the game.


George Laraque!

When was the last time virtually every fan in an Oiler crowd stayed around to hear the name of the first star?

"Georges! Georges! Georges!'' they chanted as they waited for the word.

When he was announced they gave him a huge cheer.

Downstairs the six dozen or so hats that had been thrown on the ice made a mountain in his stall.

When the dressing room door opened to the media, Bill Guerin stood at the bottom of the runway, directing traffic to Laraque's stall. And Doug Weight stood in front of the player, who was talking in French on his cell-phone, asking to check media credentials.

"My brother. He plays in the Quebec league,'' said Laraque of the call.

There were messages waiting for five others.

"Unbelievable!'' he said.

"I never thought I'd see hats on the ice for me. Unbelievable.''

His interviews were interrupted by equipment man Sparky Kulchisky.

"Georges. I have to get your jersey,'' he said to the still completely-dressed player.

"No,'' someone said for him. "He's going to sleep in it tonight.''

"But Georges,'' said Sparky. "It's for the Hockey Hall of Fame!''

I asked him if he had a bonus clause for hat tricks.

"No. Glen Sather probably would have put one in for a million dollars if I'd asked for it, thinking I'd never get one. But I never thought I'd get one either so I never thought of it.

"I can't believe I did that in the NHL.

I'm going to wake up and pinch myself a couple of times tonight.

"I'm so happy. I'm so happy for my linemates. I'm so happy for my team. I'm so happy for the fans. I'm so happy we're back in first place in the division.''

Everybody wanted his play-by-play of the hat-trick goal.

"There were only 26 seconds left when I went on the ice. I thought we'd just play it safe.

"I knew I had a defenceman on my back,'' he said of Berg.

"So I gave him the Savardian spin-a-rama move,'' said the player who grew up listening to Danny Gallivan describe the move by Montreal Canadiens Serge Savard.

"Then I made a nifty move for fun. I had no angles. So I just made that move for fun. It went into the net.

"I've never been this happy.''

It was a win, by Georges.

"Georges is now a star,'' declared Sather as he made his way into the dressing room with a grin on his face that looked a lot like the one he had when Dave Semenko scored the only hat trick of his career, with the third one into an empty net, playing on a line with Wayne Gretzky, in Madison Square Garden in New York.

Too bad they were so quick about retiring that No. 99, huh? "I'm happy just to honor Semenko's number,'' said an over-the-moon Laraque.


The Oilers were all over the Kings early. The shots on goal were 10-0 when Laraque scored his first goal, a one-handed swipe at a rebound. With the score tied 1-1 Laraque, who makes $360,000 a year, took the game into his own hands.

OK. He didn't take into his hands, exactly. Roman Hamrlik bounced it in off the Oiler crest on his sweater.

Hey, a goal is a goal. And Georges Laraque had three of them.

"That was pretty incredible for him and for us,'' said Kevin Lowe. "It's hard to compare it to Semenko's hat trick. But it sure seems the same in the dressing room. When a guy like Sammy or Georges, guys who do what they do for this team, have a game like that, everybody in the room is real happy for him.''

Everybody in the building. Everybody in the city. And this is a blue-collar town. They liked Semenko damn near as much as Wayne Gretzky here.

"Now we've created a monster,'' said Doug Weight.

Oil Spills

From Feb 21, 2000 Game vs LA Kings

Jim Matheson
The Edmonton Journal

The Three Stars

1. Georges Laraque.

Three goals on three shots. Does it get any better?

2. Jim Dowd.

Three assists on Laraque's goals.

3. Luc Robitaille.

Scored a Gretzky-like goal from behind the net off Tommy Salo's arm. Guys who've scored more goals than Rocket Richard do those things.

Why Oilers won

Because the Oilers' so-called fourth line manhandled the Kings every time they were on the ice.

Laraque, Dowd and Boyd Devereaux had eight points and 11 shots on Stephane Fiset. That line outplayed Ziggy Palffy, Josef Stumpel and rookie Jason Blake and the Kings' second line of Brian Smolinski, Glen Murray and Robitaille, too.

They said it

- "I'm sure I'll be hearing from his agent Pat Morris in the morning about renegotiatng his contract." (Oiler GM Glen Sather on Laraque's hat-trick)

- "I didn't think he deserved an instigator penalty. It wasn't like (Steve) McKenna went after Doug Weight and fought him. McKenna went over to Georges after he nailed Aki Berg, they talked and started fighting." (Kings' coach Andy Murray, on an extra penalty to McKenna that the Oilers turned into a goal by Ethan Moreau to go up 3-1)

- "Their team was a lot more desperate than we were and won the battles for the puck. Our good players didn't have really strong games tonight. I'm not so sure their good ones were great, either, but Laraque was." (Murray on the Oilers' effort)

What's in a number?

Laraque, Dave Semenko, Scott Mellanby, Dave Hunter, Kim Issel, Reed Larson, Peter White, Ralph Intranuovo and Ron Shudra have worn 27 in Oiler history.

Apart from big Georges, Semenko is the only other one who got a hat-trick.

He had three at Madison Square Garden in 1981. His third was into an empty net on a feed from Wayne

Hats off to Georges

Oilers tough guy scores three to prompt rain of hats from the rafters

Robin Brownlee, Journal Hockey Writer
The Edmonton Journal

He pranced, clad only in sweaty underwear, wagging his backside to the music with one hand on his hip, laughing like a big goof.

Georges Laraque, it's clear, has never awakened to a day he didn't like, but as much fun as he had amusing a couple of writers in the Edmonton Oilers dressing room Monday morning, it turns out the happy-go-lucky tough guy was only getting warmed up.

Laraque danced the night away against the Los Angeles Kings hours later with three more modest and significant shuffles in celebration of his first NHL hat-trick in a 6-3 Oilers win.

Joyous jigs they were.

"I will never forget it, ever," said Laraque. "It's just unreal. I really can't explain it."

Hats, including one of those silly foam Oilers puckheads, rained from the rafters at Skyreach Centre when Laraque backhanded his third goal past Stephane Fiset with 15.8 ticks left on the clock.

Laraque, 23, had every single one of them piled in his stall after the game -- he'll probably wear the puckhead at practice today.

"I never thought I was going to do it," said Laraque, sent over the boards after Janne Niinimaa salted it away with an empty-netter.

"I just thought we were going to play it safe. There was no angle, but I just shot it. When it went in, it was so much emotion.

"I can't describe the feeling, the crowd, the hats. I would never have thought I would see hats on the ice for me."

Oilers equipment man Sparky Kulchisky had the best line after the game as a crush of notepads and cameras pinned Laraque, still wearing every piece of his sweaty equipment, to the wall.

"Georges," chimed in Kulchisky, "I need your sweater right now. The hall of fame wants it."

Doug Weight scored the winner at 16:26 of the third period to snap the Oilers from a two-game funk after back-to-back losses to the Calgary Flames.

But it was Laraque and his linemates, Jim Dowd and Boyd Devereaux, who put a buzz in the building and made something good happen almost every time they hopped over the boards.

"We know we're the fourth line, but we try to work hard and contribute," Dowd said. "You've got to know your role, whether you get two, four or six shifts, you have to make them good ones."

Laraque's third goal, he outwaited defenceman Aki Berg and tucked it past Fiset on the backhand , marked his first hat-trick since his junior days in Quebec.

Dowd had three assists and Devereaux had two helpers.

"We know we have to do the little things right," Dowd said of the Oilers' best line. "You're happy when it happens for anybody, but it's Georges and he's a character, so it's great for him."

The Kings just had no answers for Laraque, who tossed his six-foot-three, 245-pound frame around with reckless abandon.

"I think maybe when Georges Laraque is free-wheeling, we're not doing something right," Kings coach Andy Murray said.

"It's a credit to him. I mean he made a great move on that last goal. Aki Berg is six-foot-four and 225 pounds and Georges just manhandled him."

His goal-scoring exploits aside, Laraque even found time to drop the gloves with Steve McKenna, although he laid off the Kings' big kid, choosing not to throw punches after McKenna went down to one knee.

Perhaps No. 27 was protecting those soft mitts of his.

"He's playing great for us right now," coach Kevin Lowe said. "That was pretty incredible.

"It was nice for him and nice for us. He's deserving of all the accolades. He's worked hard."

Laraque's younger brother, Jules, a speedster with Halifax of the QMJHL, called big brother on his cell phone after the game.

"He watched the game," said Laraque. "My family, everybody is going to call."

Great One calls Laraque

Wednesday, February 23, 2000

EDMONTON (CP) -- As if Georges Laraque wasn't excited enough about his first three-goal game in the NHL, the greatest player to ever grace the blades made sure Tuesday was something special for the Edmonton Oilers tough guy. Wayne Gretzky put in a telephone call to the Oilers dressing room to congratulate Laraque on his first NHL hat trick.

"Imagine, Wayne Gretzky calling for me," Laraque told the Edmonton Journal. "Getting congratulations from him, think of it. There's no greater recognition -- it's not like we're best friends or anything. He doesn't even know me."