They don’t make them like Georges Laraque anymore. Laraque was never known as the most skillful player during his time in the NHL. He didn’t score the most goals or points, but he was the perfect teammate and a great enforcer.
Laraque played just short of 700 games in the NHL, scoring 53 goals and 153 points. But he had greater PIM numbers, and he was a great fighter. Laraque was a guy to fear, and to be fair; he probably had more fights than points during his career.
When Laraque played in the NHL, there were tough guys everywhere. Laraque wasn’t the only enforcer in the league, and he often fought really, really scary players.
But who was the scariest he ever fought? In his autobiography, ”The Story of the NHL’s Unlikeliest Tough Guy,” he reveals that one player stood above the rest.
”In the last years of my career, only a handful of players would still make me a bit nervous before a fight: Donald Brashear, Brian McGrattan, and mostly Derek Boogaard — may he rest in peace,” Laraque wrote.
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Laraque also shared his thought on why he thought they were the toughest.
”And the reason why those two latter players would frighten me was obvious when you looked at the way they fought. These guys were fearless punchers. But it was more than that. Those guys simply loved fighting.”
According to Laraque, a common misconception of enforcers is that everyone loves to fight. But he claims that only a handful people of people actually enjoyed it.
”I know them all, and throughout my career I’ve met only four guys who really loved to fight. To McGrattan and Boogaard I would have to add the names Jody Shelley and Steve MacIntyre. I can’t think of anything more intense than to start a fight with a tough guy who loves it. Not only are these guys ready to hurt you, but that’s also their goal. The only reason Brashear isn’t on this list is that he turned down a lot of fights if he didn’t feel like getting into it or didn’t like the matchup. But these other guys never turned down an invitation.”
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