Put This One in the Brooks. The Brooks Laich Conundrum


(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Brooks Laich has been a fixture on the Washington Capitals since we traded Peter Bondra to Ottawa in 2004 and since then he has been a fan favorite.  Often dubbed the “nice guy” on the Caps, Brooks has cemented most of his past three seasons on the disabled list. Bruce Boudreau once said that he thought Brooks had not reached his peak and expected the center to be a 25-30 goal scorer for years in the league. Maybe he was on to something; he scored a career high 25 goals during the 09-10 season and looked well on his way to being that dreaded clean-up center that the team so drastically needed.


(Photo: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

The injury bug began to bite Brooks hard at the beginning of the 2012 season often spending most of his time on the DL for long stretches. Players get hurt, that’s not the issue with Brooks. No, the issue is Brooks continuing to re-injury the same injury that has plagued him for the past 3 or 4 years. THE GROIN. Groin injuries are tough to treat, because unlike broken bones there really is nothing you can do for it. It’s a rest injury and Brooks is such a gamer that he often comes back too soon only to be out again.

So, what do we do with him?

This is a big year for Brooks and he needs to stay healthy. His production has been down due to his inability to stay on the ice. He causes the Caps another problem in terms of the large contract and salary that he is owed.

BrooksLaich1-300x251It would be as no surprise to any if the Caps dealt Brooks sometime during the season or at the trade deadline. With GMBM changing the landscape of the team, 21 needs to find his spot on the roster and on a line where he can produce. With the emergence of Michael Latta, Laich is sure to fight for a spot on either the 3rd or 4th line. If the beginning of the season was tomorrow the 3rd line would normally look like: Chimera-Laich-Beagle. However, no one knows if Marcus Johansson will be slotted on the 2nd or 3rd line. It is a crowded bus for the final six forward spots which could leave Brooks up in the press box watching a lot of games from the Healthy Scratch list as opposed to his normal Disabled List.

With the losses of Joel Ward and Eric Fehr he should be a prominent fixture on the penalty kill that was pretty solid last year. So pairing Laich and Beagle on a line together will probably be the move for Barry Trotz. But paying a guy that much money to be on the 3rd or 4th line center is not something that will benefit the club unless he production starts to go up.

When you take a look at his production just in the past 2 seasons he is not producing at a rate that warrants the kind of money that he is receiving.

21 started picking up his end of the slack towards the end of the season and in to the playoffs. In the playoffs any production is good production.

Brooks is a great guy and an amazing fan communicator. He has a gorgeous girlfriend(who is almost as good of a dancer as me)and is active in charities. As a person he is everything you want in a Capital and more — as a player he is leaving much to be desired.

Will he produce and stick with the Caps, or will he get traded thus making this chapter of his career in the Brooks?

By Chris McIntosh

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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6 Responses to Put This One in the Brooks. The Brooks Laich Conundrum

  1. jonmsorensen says:

    At some point, it may “pay” to look at eating part of his salary. $1 million, $2 million? in order to possibly make a trade. The Caps would gain $2 million in cap space, that could be put to good use.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What does having a “gorgeous girlfriend” have to do with him as a hockey player?

  3. Scott McKinney says:

    Laich hasn’t been good since before the first injury. He’s been given a pass by fans for a couple of years now, since he changed someone’s tire. He’s never going to be good again.

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