MONTREAL - Enforcer Georges Laraque was released by the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday morning.
Team CEO Bob Gainey contacted Laraque to tell him he was no longer included in the plans of the team and will buy out his contract at the end of the season.
Laraque has played 61 games in two seasons with the Habs, and scored his only goal with the franchise last week in a win over the Dallas Stars.
Laraque, who told TSN that he was en route to the Canadien's training centre when he received the call from Gainey, insisted that he had always been a good team player and he had no problem with the organization or coach Jacques Martin.
He said Martin had never discussed problems he might have had directly with him, and said he was upset with the organization for making this decision a week after the earthquake occurred in Haiti. Laraque is a Montreal native of Haitian descent, but has family members who have been devastated by the earthquake there.
His contract was for three seasons, for $4.5 million. He has one year left on his contract.
A recurring back injury limited Laraque's playing time over the past two seasons, during which he collected five points and 89 penalty minutes.