Tonight Comcast Sports Network (CSN) honored Washington Capitals color analyst Craig Laughlin (aka Locker) for his service over the past 25 years.
Laughlin first joined the Capitals as a player in September, 1982 when the Montreal Canadiens traded him, in what was possibly the biggest deal of franchise history – a trade that included Rod Langway, Brian Engblom, and Doug Jarvis. The trade is largely credited with saving the then flailing Capitals organization by leading them to the franchise’s first playoff game that season. Laughlin was traded from the Capitals in 1988 and retired in 1989. In 549 NHL games, Laughlin scored 136 goals and had 205 assists.
“Locker” joined the Capitals announcing team in 1990 as a color analyst. “Locker” had to make a quick transition from player to announcer. He reports that old habits die hard, and it was tough for him to change from saying “we”, when referring to his former Capitals team. Leaving his old teammates behind, at least professionally, was also hard. Locker was, and remains the best of friends with former team-mate Rod Langway.
But as an announcer, “Locker” had to keep his distance. During a New York city road trip, the Locker-Langway duo found a way – at least they thought they had – until they were caught red-handed exiting an out-of-the-way pub by Brian Miller.
What’s perhaps most impressive is that Locker has never missed a game in his 25 years. He reports that he “just about missed” one game because he was up in Lake Placid with his son’s hockey team when the Capitals added a game in Pittsburgh. Despite having to trudge through the snow and fly from a small airport into Pittsburgh, he made it. What’s his secret? Well, “You power through colds and illnesses, have a beer afterward and are good to go”.
For the last 19 years, “Locker” has been paired with Joe Beninati in the announcing booth. The two are beloved by Capitals fans who appreciate their announcing styles, which combines game knowledge, witty banter and humor. Joe B. provides the play-by-play mechanics and Locker fills in the gaps – describing the thought processes that only a former player could have. Congratulations on your 25 years in the booth, Craig Laughlin. Caps fans look forward to 25 more!
By Stephanie Judge