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Southeast: Laich's gutsy effort impressed teammates

Sunday, 11.30.2008 / 11:57 AM / Features
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Southeast: Laich\'s gutsy effort impressed teammates
The Caps\' Brooks Laich isn\'t a goalie, but he played like one on a memorable penalty kill. Get the latest from the Southeast.

Washington Capitals center Brooks Laich could play another decade in the NHL and never again showcase the puck-stopping maneuvers he exhibited during one shorthanded sequence in his team's loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 20.

"We need that type of player. To sacrifice your body to block the puck is the hardest thing you can do. I think in any sport to sacrifice your body like that is the hardest thing you can do. It's great."
-- Capitals captain Chris Clark, on teammate Brooks Laich
 
With less than nine minutes remaining in the second period, the Capitals were faced with a two-man disadvantage for 1:24. It was at that point that Laich did his best impersonation of an All-Star caliber goalie, providing the Caps' Brent Johnson with some incredible support.

With 7:49 left, Los Angeles center Jarret Stoll took a wrist shot from the high slot that slammed off the shins of a sliding Laich. Just 35 seconds later, Kings rookie defenseman Drew Doughty took a wrist shot from the just inside the right circle that Laich blocked with his left hand -- he had no choice since he was without his stick.

When there finally was a stoppage in play, Laich skated over to his bench to take a much-deserved rest. During his recovery, teammates Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, Donald Brashear and several others took turns expressing how appreciative they were of Laich's amazing shift on the penalty-kill. The Caps would suffer a 5-2 loss, but Laich's effort certainly didn't go unnoticed.

"If I'm not blocking shots, I'm pretty much useless out there," Laich told the Washington Post. "At the time it was still a pretty close hockey game (1-1)."

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was upset that Laich's tremendous effort wasn't rewarded with a team victory.


Contact Mike Morreale at mmorreale@nhl.com.


Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer

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