Laraque: Bring it on

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:48 PM ET

BOSTON -- For those Boston Bruins who might be peeved at the tough talk issued by Georges Laraque this week, the Montreal Canadiens pugilist has the following message for you.

Bring it on.

"I'd be glad if they all take it personally and they all come after me," Laraque said today. "That means they're not concentrating on the other guys on our team."

If Laraque's plan was to take attention away from some of the problems the Canadiens face entering tonight's Game 1 of their first-round series against the Bruins, consider it a success.

When the Habs opened their dressing room after their morning skate, the big story was not the absence of Andrei Markov or the ailing shoulder of Mathieu Schneider.

Instead, it was Laraque who was swarmed when he walked in to meet the media. He immediately was pestered with questions relating to his controversial comments made on a Montreal radio station Wednesday.

In that particular interview, Laraque claimed:

- that Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton, according to unnamed Boston teammates, was "shaking in his boots" before an October game against Laraque and the Habs.

- that he wanted to fight the Bruins Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara.

- and that the Bruins wanted to meet the Florida Panthers in the first round, not the Canadiens.

Thornton, Chara and Lucic were not made available to the media this morning. But Bruins goalie Tim Thomas had no problem reacting to Laraque's comments, specifically his desire to duke it out with Chara and Lucic.

"Be careful what you wish for," Thomas said. "You just might get it. That's one of the things I've learned in life."

Laraque doesn't expect any fisticuffs, especially in the playoffs, but is ready in case the situation presents itself.

"This series is going to be physical," Laraque said. "I want to make a difference, set the tone.

"In the playoffs, if you want to hurt a team in the long run, you have to hit every shift."

Laraque also refused to back down from his belief that he had never seen a team physically overwhelmed the way his Habs were by the Bruins in a 5-4 Boston victory last week.

"I've played in the NHL for 11 years and we got pushed around and challenged in a lot of ways."

CROSS CHECKS: Injured Montreal defenceman Andrei Markov did not accompany the Canadiens to Boston ... Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference remains sidelined and will not play tonight ... Saturday's Game 2 will start an hour later than normal at 8 p.m. in order to give arena workers more time to convert the configuration of the TD Banknorth Garden from basketball to hockey. The NBA's Celtics open up their first-round series against the Chicago Bulls earlier that same day, with the opening tipoff scheduled for 12:30 p.m.


Videos

Photos