Hey! How’d your weekend go? Good? That’s great. I’m glad to hear it. I took a long weekend, and with it a trip to Ottawa with a couple of friends on Thursday to catch Edmonton play the Senators. McDavid had two and two, Ty Rattie was looking good, I had a couple of Caesars, it was lots of fun.
Oh right, back to the weekend.
By now, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of some wild rumour that former NHLer and Oiler Georges Laraque dumped on a radio station in Québec City. If you haven’t yet read it, it’s a load of hot garbage. The Coles Notes version of Laraque’s story is that Taylor Hall had to be traded from Edmonton in 2016 in part because he was a troublemaker and had just got out of rehab. The Oilers didn’t get a good return because once word got out that Hall had to enter rehab, his stock took a hit.
First, whoa. That’s, uh, quite a statement. If true, it’s probably not something that I’d be going and spilling about someone in a casual conversation. I damn well wouldn’t be spilling it on the radio to thousands of listeners. People struggle with addiction in a variety of ways, and it seems especially disgusting for Georges Laraque to out Taylor Hall (or anyone else) in such a manner. It’s no secret that hockey has had a fair share of players past who have struggled with various addictions, and it’s garbage that Laraque appears to justify Edmonton’s lacklustre return because of a player trying to beat an addiction.
I mean, seriously, who does that?
Secondly, what does Georges Laraque have to gain by saying this? Why would he say this?
Thirdly, if you’re going to trash a guy’s name by saying his substance abuse problem is what got him traded, it had damn well better be right. People are going to call your judgment into question when you toss a guy’s name down the toilet, but you can at least sell the idea that you were right. You can put on some false air that you were trying to draw attention to a problem, or some other fancy way of suggesting that you weren’t trying to sully a guy’s name who was trying to fight off a personal demon.
People remember that Georges Laraque will say absolutely anything to get attention, right? Funny to see all the folks who had 'inside knowledge' of the Oilers' dressing room and Hall being a cancer but never mentioned anything about coke suddenly jumping on this as surefire fact— Patty Sandpaper Baby (@blackdogpat) March 25, 2018
I mean, there’s no way that Laraque would make up something like that, is there?
In a french radio interview, I mentioned that years ago Taylor Hall had to go through rehab, info I got from an NHL hockey agent. After further verifications I can say that this information was 100% wrong, I was wrong and apologize to Taylor for the mistake.— Georges Laraque (@GeorgesLaraque) March 26, 2018
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME
This is a pretty good way to never get another radio interview ever. What an asshat thing to do. I’m struggling to think of why anyone would do this to another person, much less an NHL alum doing this to a current superstar? Why would Laraque find it necessary to talk about a player who sought help to fight an addiction to justify a bad trade? Why would he lie about it?
WHY GETTING IT RIGHT IS IMPORTANT
This is a dumpster fire. You’ve got so many wrongs here and no rights. Even worse? There’s no walking back from this for Georges Laraque. The story you got from ‘an agent’ was a fairy tale, and that’s if there was ‘an agent’ to begin with. The story is false. Either intentionally or not, you’ve recklessly thrown a young man’s name around, and for what? To take up for a failure of an administration? Why?
Once this sort of thing hits the internet, it gets spread and re-tweeted like wildfire. It also gives idiots further ammunition to further espouse their terrible opinions on why this was a good trade. You know, because using a (fake) story about someone fighting an addiction and is subsequently traded for 45 cents on the dollar somehow paints Chiarelli in a better light in Bizzaroland.
Worst of all? There’s no completely clearing your name from this if you’re Taylor Hall. You’ll have echoes of what Laraque said about you at the end of your name for at least the interim, if not longer.
Laraque may have retracted his statement (good), but he can never undo the damage completely. It’s an incredibly irresponsible and stupid thing for Laraque to have said, and it’s one that Hall will likely have to unnecessarily answer for because of it.