The Washington Capitals Fan Club (link: http://www.capsfanclub.org/) hosted Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin Saturday before the Caps-Canes game. The guys said they really enjoy meeting with the fans and even played a snippet of the evening on CSN during the game. Yours truly and your NoVa Caps photographer, Brittney Marcum, showed up on-screen asking our question.
They jumped right in, answering questions from the 60 plus fans who came for the monthly membership meeting. The first question of course had to do with the second line center and the return of Nicklas Backstrom. Both guys think it was the right decision to put No. 19 on the second line with Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson. Joe said that Coach Trotz didn’t want to mess with the first line that worked so well against the Blackhawks. Laughlin also made the comment that he doesn’t like to refer to the lines but rather refer to the guys that are playing together. And “when you put Nicky back it’s whoa!” He said the Caps are looking good on paper and that Burakovsky won’t be on the fourth line for too long.
Joe and Craig were asked who influenced them most in their careers. Joe said he grew up in Long Island and he would fall asleep listening to Marv Albert—“the voice of (hockey and ) basketball in New York.” For hockey he said Gary Thorne and Mike Emrick helped to mold him into the play-by-play sportscaster he is today. For Craig, he said his color analysis style was most influenced by the “Montreal Group” of broadcasters that he grew up listening to in Canada.
When asked about our acquisition of T.J. Oshie, Beninati said he is bringing a lot of energy to the team. He went on to say that Oshie plays a lot bigger than his size implies. Oshie is 5’11, 189 pounds and has more “jump and pop than some others his size.” Locker said if you were comparing his size to that of Troy Brower’s 6’3’, 213, he can understand the question; however, Oshie has the speed and he’s a “hands guy,” meaning he is a good stickhandler and shooter. He believes that the Caps top six are as good as anyone in the league, especially with the return of Nick Backstrom.
Following up on that discussion, I asked Joe how he remembers all the numbers and names of the opposing team when calling the play-by-play. He said it helps that he has a photographic memory but he also studies the roster before each game. He watches games of the teams the Caps are playing in advance to prepare.
Both Lauglin and Beninati are on social media now. Joe said he was “encouraged” to jump on twitter by CSN management and that he hopes to start tweeting more soon. Their handles are @laughlin18 and @JoeBpXp. They ended their time with the fan club by drawing raffle tickets for pucks signed by Hotlby, Latta, and Oshie. If you are interested in joining the fan club and attending some of these events in the future, check out their page (http://www.capsfanclub.org/) and become a member. We’ll be interviewing Fan Club President, Nancy Rogers in the near future and sharing more with you about their charities, road trips, and interaction with the Caps.
By Maggie Marcum