Puck Daddy approves of Chad LaRose of the Carolina Hurricanes. Not just because he sought out Scottie Upshall after a game last season looking to smack him around; saying, "I even put someone else's shoes on so I can kick him in the face." Not just because he can sell the crap out of Hurricanes tickets (video) buy telling fans they can pick up the same Rod Brind'Amour figurine he has in his bedroom -- one that he looks at "every single day."
No, we approve of LaRose because he's the guy doing the PR legwork for the franchise this summer, whether it's signing autographs at a bank opening or tossing out the first pitch at a Durham Bulls game. Something tells us, however, that the bank gig went a little better than the baseball appearance; unless he hit a little girl with a baseball at the RBC opening in Holly Springs, too.
Last Thursday, LaRose's pitch went over the catcher and hit a young musician who was waiting to play the violin during the national anthem. According to Lord Stanley's Blog (and happy trails to Luke DeCock, a great hockey writer now going the columnist route), LaRose said he "just threw it a little high and the catcher never tried to catch it."
Ah, the old "blame the catcher" routine. From the Blog:
The good news was that she was unharmed and got to spend some quality time with LaRose during the game. "She came up to the seats and got pictures with me and everything," LaRose said. "I was the one more hurt by it than her, I think. ... Everyone's fine except for me. I'm traumatized by the whole situation."
Unharmed, on a pitch over the catcher's head? This is either one hell of a change-up or perhaps the worst pitch since Mariah Carey's. Still, it's hard to argue with LaRose's public stance against the pretentious use of the violin during the national anthem at a baseball game.
When hockey players toss out the first pitch at a baseball game, it either goes really well or really, really poorly. Martin Biron tossed a fastball high to the Phillie Phanatic (video); and as Red and Black Hockey points out, LaRose's former teammate Mike Commodore did quite well when he had his moment on the mound for the Bulls.
Then there's Sean Avery, whose wild rainbow curveball to the left of the Texas Rangers' home plate was so humbling that he tried to blame the Yankees fans in the crowd for distracting him.
Just keep LaRose away from this little sprite. Or keep a violin out of her hands. One of the two.