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Brooks Laich: “You can play against skill. You can defend against skill.”

May 9, 2012, 10:21 AM EDT

Brooks Laich Getty Images

Brooks Laich is one of the heart and soul kind of players on the Capitals roster. The guy busts his butt and plays a tough game at both ends of the ice, just like how the Caps play the game now.

Laich tells Bruce Arthur of The National Post grinding out wins is a lot better than trying to out-skill teams in the playoffs and uses a rather awkward comparison to illustrate his point.

“See, I like to think — people say this guy’s so skilled, that guy’s so skilled, but to me, skill is the ability to win,” Laich said. “Who’s the most skilled guy in the league, the guy that you don’t want to play against? The most frustrating thing is going off the ice, looking over at the other team, and they’re saying, ‘We kicked your ass. You can’t beat me. You can’t beat me.’ And I could give a s—- over who can toe-drag or sauce-pass, skill is the ability to win. That’s what I think.

“Is Alex Kovalev skilled? Where did that get him? You know? You can play against skill. You can defend against skill.”

Winning is a skill? Interesting.

Name-dropping former Stanley Cup winner Kovalev will grab your attention, but it sounds like he’s referring more to how things used to be in Washington when guys like Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, and Nicklas Backstrom dominated the headlines and lost in the postseason.

Laich mentioning Kovalev is like having him mention Semin, and as Japers Rink pointed out last year, that comparison isn’t all that far off. Of course, if Laich thought that poorly of how things were going, it makes you wonder why he re-signed with the team for six years last summer.

  1. ravenscaps48 - May 9, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    He must be the Captain of this team next season!

  2. caps247 - May 9, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    agree with you all the way.
    Ovie is great, but ever since he became captain he wasn’t the same dynamic scorer he was during 09-10. I think Ovie should drop the C for a little bit and give it to someone like Laich — he’s a leader, a motivator, a good 2-way forward, and he’s true to his word. He out works most players on the ice on both teams, contributing to both the offense and defense.


  3. biffnasty - May 9, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    Laich is a less skilled version of Callahan

  4. villi5ed - May 9, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Kovalev is an easy target, and he did much through the years to make himself so. But anyone who watched his play in 1994 against the Devils and Vancouver in the Rangers’ drive to the Cup knows that his grit and hustle and clutch goal
    scoring were indispensable. Sure, it’s fair to say that he ought to have accomplished more. But the Rangers do not win that year without him. And if you don’t believe me, ask Mark Messier.

    For that month, when it really counted and when other “skill” guys wilt under the pressure, the guy was money. Skill met desire and the effect was tremendous. So when Laich asks, “Where did that get him?” Kovalev can answer, “My name on the Stanley Cup.”

    • jaybyrd99 - May 9, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      Great reply villi . Kovy was an amazing talent and in that 93-94 run he was tremendous . Like you stated he could have accomplished more, but still had a nice career and was a prominant member of the 1994 Stanley cup champions. Why laich mentioned him I’m not sure because where it got kovy -his name etched on the cup- forever !

      • jkay1818 - May 9, 2012 at 2:23 PM

        Kovi had skill in 94, grit and his famous troll doll during that run. He was a beast out there. Skill and toe drags worked out well for Leetch that yr too.

  5. swizope82 - May 9, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    I’m a huge Laich fan, have been since he signed with the CAPS. His emotion is always present on and off the ice, he holds nothing back; hence his Kovalev comments (and the playoff prediction, let’s not forget about that!). His teammates look up to him and seem to at least attempt to match his efforts. I’ve thought for some time now that he’d make a great captain because of all the above attributes. Let the ‘Great 8’ be great and let Liach lead… Just a thought… RTR

  6. davidpcoelho - May 9, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Aftermath on the Bruce era making Ovi captain. You cannot take it away now though. Never should have happened…

  7. caps247 - May 9, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Well Dale Hunter has already outstripped and outmatched Brucie Boudreau on his first season. Sure, the regular season had its up and downs, but Hunter has already gotten farther than Boudreau in the playoffs (i.e. not getting swept in the 2nd round). If Hunter could push the Caps farther in the race for the Cup, next year he can do whatever he wants.

    Let Ovie do all the scoring, and let Laich do all the leading. He should’ve been gotten the C etched on his jersey from the beginning.

    • wethog66 - May 9, 2012 at 2:43 PM

      Short term memory, slick. BB needed 7 games to beat the Rags and lost in 7 games to the Pens in the ’09 playoffs. DFH hasn’t gotten that far yet.

      I agree with everything else, just do some research before pontificating.

  8. jpelle82 - May 9, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    he should have mentioned guys on his own team, like semin and ovechkin. kovalev has a cup

    • brian32556 - May 9, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      I think he was trying to in a roundabout way. Laich leads by example on the ice, but maybe has more to learn about leading off the ice – certainly no easy matter! But at least he IS addressing it – “Hey you so-called stars, put out or get out!” Now look across to the other bench. Captain leads by example; big names give their best EVERY game; and, the coach takes all the heat. Which is why they are going all the way this year. LET’S GO RANGERS!!

  9. tackledummy1505 - May 9, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Hope Caps fans don’t have your hopes to high. Rangers/Devils Eastern Conference finals. NHL wants Lundquist/Brodeur. Not Holtby. Even if you guys win tonight you’ll game 7 guarantee lol

  10. capsfan19 - May 9, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    I do get his point though. And i think he’s right. Look at the coyotes this year beat out the blackhawks. Kings beating the canucks.
    Im crazy about laich. He’d be a great captain, theres no bones about it with this guy.

  11. tackledummy1505 - May 9, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Rangers/Coyotes Stanley Cup. It goes 7 games, Rangers win it. It’s the NHL how predictable are they lol. Even if it doesn’t go 7 it will be at least 6 with Rangers winning it lol

    • jkay1818 - May 9, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      youre still a fool. I figured you would be in hiding until training camp when your flyers coin themselves as champs before the season gets underway.
      can you explain what you mean by predictable? IM confused by that. and whats with the “lol” at your own ridiculous statements. Man, you must feel like a complete loser, you were PRAYING the rangers beat the caps so your precious dynamic offense of a flyers team can kill the rangers. Worked out well for you.
      If you are saying the refs play to the rangers favor, before you spout from your mouth any further, watch the winter classic again when the refs and NHL pretty much made a mockery of the game. the briere penalty shot, the play where they hooked callahans neck for the open net and called him for a dive etc etc etc. Watch all 6 games this yr when the rangers crushed the flyers for that matter, that will cheer you up…..dildo

    • jkay1818 - May 9, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      Tackledummy,youre incredible, no matter what you post you get a trillion thumbs down.

  12. grimlock410 - May 9, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    From a Caps fan to “B(S)L21” and Karl Alzner, shut the F up. Stop spending time thinking of slick S to say to the media and start worrying about how not to get eliminated from the playoffs by a team you should have already beat again. Captain my ass.

  13. dawglb - May 12, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    What a philosopher.

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