Canadiens buy out last year of enforcer Georges Laraque’s contract

MONTREAL – Georges Laraque and the Montreal Canadiens officially parted ways Tuesday when the NHL club announced it would buy out the ostracized enforcer.

Laraque had one year remaining on a US$4.5 million three-year contract.

The buyout is worth $1 million and will be spread out over the next two years, meaning the Canadiens will receive an extra $500,000 cap hit through the 2011-12 season.

The Canadiens first announced they would buy out the 33-year-old on Jan. 21, when they banished him from the team, apparently because he had become a distraction. Officially, he stayed on the 23-man roster for the rest of the season but was not seen at games or practices.

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Laraque, who was in and out of the lineup in recent seasons with back problems, had one goal and two assists in 28 games this season.

The Canadiens signed him as a free agent with Montreal in 2008 looking to add toughness to a squad that had been manhandled by the Boston Bruins in the playoffs, but he rarely dropped the gloves and had little effect. In two seasons with the Canadiens, he had one goal and four assists in 61 games.