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Washington Capitals’ Brooks Laich Interview 9/19/08

We caught up with the Washington Capitals’ Brooks Laich this week at training camp, for a quick Q and A.

On Expectations coming into the new season:

“Last year we came to camp hoping to make the playoffs but we weren’t sure where we were at. This year it’s a different feeling around here. After what we did last year we’re expecting to make the playoffs and not just expecting to get in, but expecting to do something when we get there.”

 

On how tough the off-season was after losing Game Seven of the playoffs during an overtime penalty:

“It’s tough to lose on a penalty call in Game Seven. I think it stung everybody pretty deep, and I don’t think anybody forgot that over the summer. It’s still pretty fresh in our minds, and we’ll come back with a vengeance this year, and we still feel we have something to prove.”

“That loss didn’t sit well with anyone. The way we were playing we weren’t scared of anyone, and we were gonna play Pittsburg [in the] next round if we had won that game and we weren’t afraid of that. We were looking forward to that.”

 

On coming into training camp without Olie Kolzig:

“It is [odd]. Since I’ve been here Olie’s been the calming/cool presence in the locker room, and he’s gone now. I had a great time with Olie. He really helped me my first years. [He is] a great guy to have in the locker room. I can’t say enough about him, he’s awesome. Every day [he] came to work hard. He was very professional. He’s also great with young guys, and helping us into the league.”

“You know now there’s some other veteran presences in there. We’ve got Sergei Federov back. We’ll have him for a full year, and he’s another guy the guys really look up to. There [was] a bit of a void when Olie [left] but we have other guys that can fill that.”

 

On Kolzig going to a division rival:

“I dunno, we get a chance to play against him. It’ll be interesting, but Olie had to do what was best for Olie, when it came down to it. Turned out the organization was looking in a different direction. So, y’know, as competitors we still wanna play the game we still wanna prove that we have something left. I think that’s where Olie’s at. It was fun playin’ with him, it was awesome playin’ with him, but now we get a chance to play against him, it’s gonna be interesting. [When I] go to his net, we’ll see if I get a stick in the back of the legs or something.” {laughs} “It’ll be a fun time.”

 

On the return of Nylander and Clark this season after spending most of last season injured:

“We missed those guys last year. That’s a lot of talent right there in those two guys. Brian Pothier’s another guy that we’re missing from our line-up, and having Nyles back and Clarkie back at full strength it’s really gonna help us. I think it’s gonna give us a lot more depth up front and also we get our Captain back. Y’know, you can’t say enough about Chris Clark; he’s the heart and soul of this team. He plays the way we wanna play. He’s hard-nosed, he plays every night, he competes and that has a trickle down effect to the other guys on the team, and we’re happy to have them both back.”

 

On what Alex Ovechkin can do for an encore this season:

“I don’t think Alex concerns himself with proving or trying to score more goals than he did last year [or] more points, that’s not what he worries about. Something you guys aren’t fortunate enough to see is how competitive [he] is behind the scenes, in the locker room, when we’re down a goal, how much he wants to win. He doesn’t care if he scores two goals in a game he just wants to win the hockey game, and that’s something you guys don’t have the luxury of seeing. He, I think, is going to measure himself, not so much by how many goals and assists, but by how the team does. That’s the type of guy Alex is, that’s why he’s a leader of this hockey team, and that’s why they signed him for thirteen years. He wants to succeed, he wants us to make a run in the playoffs, and ultimately I don’t think Alex will go to sleep at night until he’s won a Stanley Cup.”

 

On whether Alex Ovechkin should be named a team Captain this year:

“I don’t think so. I think it’s undisputed that Alex is the face of the Washington Capitals, and he’s a leader on our hockey team. Chris Clark is a veteran that’s been around and he knows how to handle a hockey team, and how to be a leader. Alex is a superstar; we all know that, but Clarkie has a great relationship (as does Alex) with all the players, just a bit more of a calming presence, and we missed Clarkie last year. We missed him sorely last year. We missed his leadership; we missed his on ice ability. Neither of those guys, I think, are too concerned with titles, and who has the “A” and who has the “C”. They both know their roles on our hockey team, and both guys I think equally just wanna win. They don’t care who’s wearing the “C”.”

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2 Responses to “Washington Capitals’ Brooks Laich Interview 9/19/08”

  1. Excellent work, Bob.

  2. Clark’s a great captain IMO. When you’ve got the grit and determination to continue playing with a broken palate in the roof of your mouth – you certainly possess the requisite ‘toughness’.

    Ovie’s communication skills make it tough for him to even be considered as the captain. After all, the MAIN purpose of the captain ‘C’ is to discuss matters with the on-ice officials.

    It’d be pretty tough to get past, “But he breaks my toothes and I love to score goals.” :-)


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