The fur could be flying between PETA supporter Georges Laraque and the Maple Leafs.
Laraque, the former NHL enforcer and supporter of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, sent a letter to general manager Brian Burke this week, asking the club to stop promoting the Canada Goose company’s coyote fur-lined limited edition jacket. The team has been plugging a Dion Phaneuf signature model.
Laraque lauded Burke for sticking up for demoted tough guy Colton Orr and his community issues such as anti-bullying, but said he was “disappointed” that the Leafs would be associated with a product that he says makes coyotes suffer.
“Hockey players are paid to put up with pain, but animals tortured and slaughtered for their skins are not willing participants,” Laraque said in his letter, which was distributed to the media by PETA.
“Coyotes and other animals trapped for their fur often suffer for days before dying of exposure, frostbite, shock, or infection.”
Burke had no comment on Laraque’s letter when contacted by QMI Agency.
A policy statement on the Canada Goose web site reads: “The (coyote) fur that we do use is acquired in accordance with the regulations developed and enforced by the provincial and territorial wildlife departments.”
And yes, Laraque was a Coyote himself. He played for Phoenix during the 2006-07 season.
INITIATE, DON’T RETALIATE
This next stage of the Battle of Ontario might come down to turning the other cheek.
Though the Leafs and Senators have a history of rough stuff, both are in the playoffs at present, meaning players such as Leafs fourth-line energy winger Mike Brown must watch their step. Brown doesn’t want to put the Leafs’ new-found penalty killing success in jeopardy.
“You have to play this (smart) like a playoff game,” said Brown, one of the few Leafs with actual experience in that department. “Do whatever it takes, whether it’s taking a shot, or a punch to the head. You have to make those sacrifices as you would in a playoff game.
“We only have (31) games left and you have to get those points whatever way you can. Everyone has to stay in their role.”
BLOCK AND BLUE
James Reimer made 25 saves Wednesday during the Leafs’ 1-0 shutout win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, but his teammates also blocked 21 shots. All but four Leafs were credited with at least one. “Any time you get a shutout, it usually means your team and your defence did something exceptional,” Reimer said. “I felt like I saw every puck that got through to me and the ones I couldn’t see, they were blocked. It was a perfect situation, a lot of fun hanging out behind them.
“They are pretty brave guys. I’ve got all the gear on and I’m scared to get in front of the puck sometimes. For them to do it is incredible.”
EIGHT IS ENOUGH
Luke Schenn knows he could be the next defenceman to sit out a game as coach Ron Wilson juggles seven healthy blueliners. Mike Komisarek was rested on Wednesday.
“When you include (Marlies’) Keith Aulie, we have eight who can play in the NHL with regular minutes,” Schenn said. “It’s unlucky that someone has to sit out every night. Some guys will be ticked off about it, but it makes for great competition.
“All our defencemen are playing well and that’s what’s making it tough on (Wilson). Everyone is showing they’re deserving. Not too many guys are bringing anyone down or the team down. Everyone is fighting for their minutes. That will help us down the stretch.”
Toronto’s string of 17 straight penalty kills through 13 games in January and February has finally lifted them out of last place in that category, edging Columbus 75.4% to 75.3% ,,, Right on cue, the Leafs have added to their post- Feb. 1 success. With their 1-0 win over Pittsburgh Wednesday, they improved to 94-63-24 after Feb. 1 in games played since the 2004-05 lockout.