WINNIPEG -- Having renewed acquaintances with old friends and teammates at a local steakhouse Saturday night, Georges Laraque was ready to get down to business against the Edmonton Oilers last night.
The ruddy silks of the Phoenix Coyotes still look a bit odd on the hulking enforcer, as does the No. 37 instead of his familiar No. 27, but Laraque says he's ready to get on with the next stage of his career.
"I had all summer to think about it," Laraque said. "I'm good. I'm ready to devote myself 100% to my new team and help them win. It's a new chapter in my career."
Laraque, 29, signed with the Coyotes for two years at $2.4 million as an unrestricted free agent rather than take a pay cut with the Oilers, who wouldn't grant him a no-trade clause and were looking at paying him about $700,000 a season.
Having coach Wayne Gretzky call and invite him into the fold has certainly helped Laraque turn the page.
"It's hard to believe he's in the same room every day," Laraque said. "As a kid, playing against him was a dream.
"I couldn't have imagined to have him as a coach behind the bench. It's exciting. Going to a new team, I have everything to prove, so I want to play hard and show I deserve more playing time."